Normalcy should never be a cheaply granted concept, like a prize eaten down to at the bottom of a Honeycombs cereal box. On this subject, mark The Business Press Maven's abnormally brilliant words: In announcing an oceanic write-off for the third quarter and entertaining no real questions on the matter in the process, Citigroup's ( C) scripted, predigested and unchallenged assurances that "a return to normal earnings environment in the fourth quarter," is in the offering. No matter how appetizing to bulls, this should be examined before swallowed. In a week in which the news from banks helped drive the stock market to new heights, Citigroup's clever claim was, as is custom, reported by a business media operating in their default mode -- as stenographers. We'll review a few examples of the business media taking dictation from a company that wouldn't even take their questions. Then we'll get to the work of one particular journalist -- Herb Greenberg -- who guides you on how to truly regard the big, reeling bank's pre-recorded words. Normal is as normal does for The Associated Press, who in their just-the-fact's-ma'am mode was not able to do anything but regurgitate Citibank's claim. They wrote : "The nation's largest financial institution warned that third-quarter profit will fall because of subprime mortgage and credit market exposure, but said the current period should see a return to more normal earnings levels."