WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. (TheStreet) - Under normal circumstances, the measured tone of traditional journalism is appropriate. No need to get carried away. But Sprint's (S) meeting with Wall Street, which degenerated into analysts openly laughing at the comically vague CFO, was no normal circumstance.

Here's what happened: Sprint, which has fallen into serious trouble, threw up a bunch of charts, but nowhere--not in the colorful bars or along the Y-axis, was there any indication of what its 4G network was costing. They were equally vague and wooly about the cost of the Apple ( AAPL) iPhone deal. The attempt to avoid reality, to massage the truth, to pull the wool over the eyes of those who know better was astounding. Even Wall Street reports, normally dry to a fault, highlighted the laughter in the aisles.

Yet The New York Times ( NYT) --and plenty of others--reported on this singular meeting in the same-old tone. "Analysts were looking for some clarity on Sprint's estimates and were frustrated," they wrote. Looking for some clarity? I'll say. And when they didn't get it, they busted a gut laughing. With an irreverent tone, The Financial Times captured the tone and tenor of what happened: "There is a special section in the Museum of Preposterous Financial Disclosures devoted to charts that purport to clarify financial performance but leave the numbers off."

Little new happens in finance. That's why a measured tone normally carries the day. But when circumstances turn abnormal--as they did here--traders deserve the head's up carried in a tone reserved for such nonsense.

At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Fuchs appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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