Before you go calling me a conspiracy theorist, hear me out on something I’ve been wondering about. The New York Times, long heralded as the shining star in the world of journalism, has been doing a lot of writing about CNBC lately. This is understandable since the network has been leading the way in market coverage during this financial crisis. But don’t you think they should tell us about their ‘bed buddy’ relationship?

Back in January, the New York Times announced that it would be partnering with CNBC to share content between both their websites. The article alluded to this decision being in response to Rupert Murdoch’s ownership of the Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones, and the Fox Business Channel. They felt some competition on their heels, perhaps?

Fair enough, if everyone wants to join forces and have a gang war over business news, that’s cool with me. Let the sparks fly. But, and I’m trying not to get too journalism-wonky here, but I haven’t seen any disclosure recently for the close personal business relationship between the Times and CNBC in their coverage.

Take for example this article that appeared on the last Monday. In it Jim Cramer of CNBC’s Mad Money show is basically proclaimed the savior of explaining the disaster, while CNBC’s big ratings jump numbers offer some rather impressive perspective. Nowhere in the NYT article do they say, “Oh by the way, these guys are working with us, aren’t they great?”

In a time of increasing transparency and much-needed regulation on Wall Street, wouldn’t a little more disclosure from our business news sources be fitting as well?

Bloomberg, Fox Biz, DealBreaker, CNBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, DealJournal and a plethora of other sources have all been blamed for over-sensationalizing reports of the crisis. Shit, in the beginning even calling it ‘a crisis’ with fiery graphics seemed to stir more panic and may have even caused more harm than good. But that’s just the way we all get readers and sell more papers, I get that and I have no problem with it.

Of course I’m a big fan of both CNBC and the NYT’s coverage, they’ve got some of the best (and hottest) reporters around, but does anyone else think they should be more ‘out-in-the-open’ with their coverage of one another?

NYT: Times and CNBC To Share Material on Web Sites, January 7, 2008

NYT: Turning To The TV For Explanations And Answers, September 28, 2008