He was the Mike Wallace of business news.
That's the best way I can explain Dan Dorfman.
The man who single-handedly changed the face of "financial reporting" by getting in the face of those on whom we were reporting.
But Dan not only reached the corner office. He crashed it.
And now, like Mike...Dan is gone.
He died this weekend.
The sad thing is fewer know of Dan than they do, Mike...
Even though mike might have given 'em the business, Dan changed business.
He changed the behavior of those who run business.
Up until Dan came along...
Financial news was dull. And CEO’s preached their latest missives as if from Mount Olympus.
Imagine their horror at this scrappy reporter, with the odd outfits and the thick accent from Brooklyn.
I once called him the "Columbo of cash"...
The unassuming Peter Falk character forever under-rated by his subjects until it was too late.
Was that guy. So connected. So plugged in, try as you might, you couldn't "afford" to tune him out.
God knows, a lot of CEO’s tried...
But whether at The Wall Street Journal or Businessweek or CNN or CNBC...
Dan was a guy you didn't ignore.
He didn't just report on the markets. Dan moved them.
Remember while I was at CNBC in those early days, when few had the network...people would call in and asked to be put on hold, just so they could hear his reports.
Our frequent chats would become the stuff of legend. I was just along for the ride.
They say Dan could be used by those trying to pump a stock or dump a stock.
"I’m a big boy," he would tell me. "I know each side has an agenda."
So Dan reported each side and let viewers decide.
Think, fair and balanced, for the money set.
Without Dan Dorfman, we'd probably not have Charlie Gasparino.
Maybe not even Neil Cavuto. Perish the thought.
That's how big a deal Dan was...not only among my fellow biz nerd reporters, where we revere our first "million-dollar" star, but where we ogle to this day, the guy who never once acted like it, or as I used to so often kid him, remotely dress like it, whose uniquely garish shirt and tie combinations were almost Dan’s way of making fun of the stardom of it...and him...
...as the years wound on, and Dan retired, we'd exchange notes, his humorous takes on what I did wrong, his insight on what was happening on Wall Street that would always be right...
Mike Wallace got big wigs sweating.
Dan Dorfman did something more.
He got 'em talking.
And business news has never been the same.
I miss you, buddy.
Dead, at age 80.