The buck stopped already

The buck stopped already: I can’t figure out what Reuters reporter Anupama Chandrasekaran means in this story that has as its lead, the following:

Newspaper and magazine publishers facing lawsuits and probes for lying about their circulation numbers are getting circulation managers to take the blame — either by firing or by getting them to resign. It sounds straightforward enough — after all these are mostly the executives who signed off on the figures in question. Yet, industry experts and some publishers ask whether they are becoming the scapegoats for a much bigger problem that goes further up the corporate ladder.

As an example of the “bigger problem that goes further up the corporate ladder,” Chandrasekaran uses the resignation of Gruner + Jahr’s Diane Potter last November. Apparently shocked that Potter could get another job recently, Chandrasekaran reports that Potter’s new boss did some background checking on her and discovered, “most (advertisers) thought she was a scapegoat.”

Perhaps her new boss also did a Google search and discovered on this weblog the exact quote I made the day Diane Potter’s resignation was reported:

One doesn’t have to be a herder to know a scapegoat when you see one….I feel somewhat awkward in commending Ms. Potter for doing the right thing. However, I do for she is. To have previously displayed such a cavalier attitude towards the importance of circulation integrity and the audit process was not only a disservice to G+J USA but to the entire magazine industry. I will stop my comments there, but I’m sure it is apparent that I think there are others at G+J USA who should do the right thing.

If events had stopped there, perhaps today’s Reuters story might make sense: Go after those big executives who tried to hang poor Diane out to the dry. But, what the reporter fails to report is that the higher ups did get their day in the “resignation” hot seat. From CEO to, it seems, the mailroom, people were booted. That lots of scapegoats were ultimately roasted apparently slipped by Chandrasekaran. So, as a public service, here’s a rexblog retrospective recapping the bonfire of the scapegoats.