Dominating the Wall Street Journal’s backdated options reporting was its takedown of UnitedHealth Group’s Bill McGuire. Of the 18 stories the Journal submitted to the Pulitzer committee, four were devoted to McGuire’s destruction. The Journal did not describe McGuire’s astounding career as a doctor, or his drastic pay cut to pursue the highly abstract task of economically delivering medical care. Instead, it stoked envy of his high compensation, deceptively denounced the means that had made him wealthy, magnified the minutiae of his mistakes, and then warned his friends and colleagues against any attempt to stand by him.

In the end, McGuire simply shrugged, and walked away. Roger Donway critically examines this tragic story. 


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Roger Donway is a freelance writer and editor whose work focuses on philosophy, economics, and history. He is the author of Rich-Hunt: The Backdated Options Frenzy and the Ordeal of Greg Reyes. He is the co-author, with David Kelley, of Laissez Parlez: Freedom in the Electronic Media. Donway assisted author Robert Bradley, Jr. with his book Edison to Enron: Energy Markets and Political Strategies, the second volume in Bradley's trilogy, Political Capitalism (M&M Scrivener Press). Donway performed editing and research for Bradley's first book in the trilogy, Capitalism at Work: Business, Government, and Energy.

From 1997 to 2005, Donway was the editor of The Atlas Society's monthly magazine, Navigator, to which he also contributed numerous articles, including "Eliot Spitzer: Ayatollah General" and "The Case for Frank Quattrone." From 1988 to 1997, Donway was managing editor of Orbis, the quarterly journal of the Foreign Policy Research Institute. 

The Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Walter McDougall said of Donway, “An editor of his experience, loyalty, high standards, and erudition is almost impossible to find nowadays.”

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