Tag Archives: MSM

Giving Financial Media a Second Chance: Nevermind (UPDATED)

13 Jan

A few short days ago I wrote about how I want to give the financial media a second chance.  Today, I’m seriously having second thoughts.  It’s 2011!  Link.to.primary.documents!  This is not freaking rocket science. Ugh.

Today, SIGTARP released an audit report on the bailout of Citigroup.  The stalwarts of the 4th estate were all over the news, but alas, few, if any, linked to the SIGTARP website or the report itself.  Here is the report(pdf).  Here is the official SIGTARP website where you can find that and other audit reports.

I don’t want to read a summary a reporter had to throw together to meet a ridiculous deadline and/or some editors dumbed-down copy.  For laypeople, that may be fine, but for anyone who actually cares, it’s not nearly good enough.  You don’t have to write an opus, just link to the freaking source document.  How hard is that????

So hard, apparently, that none of the following “authorities’ on financial news could be bothered to make the effort:

  • Reuters
  • Wall Street Journal (has hyperlink to report hosted on wsj.com, only gets partial credit)
  • Fortune/CNN Money
  • Bloomberg (shame on you!)
  • TheStreet.com
  • New York Times (can’t even find any mention of the report, wtf?)
  • Huffington Post (UPDATE: HuffPo’s Ryan McCarthy alerts us that they added the document to the bottom of their article shortly after they originally published it.  Kudos to them for not only getting the source doc up in full but for being tied-into social media like twitter, where Ryan saw this post and responded quickly)

Strong recommendation to all of these outlets: start from scratch as blogs, and learn the best practices thereof.  The web is not print, and you should not be writing on the web as if it were.  Use hyperlinks, not just to internal pages but to external ones as well, ESPECIALLY source documents.  Get with the freaking program already or continue the long, slow death spiral your industry has been on for the past decade+.  Your call.


On Blogs and Bloggers

1 Apr

The WSJ and New York Times have forced my hand.  The MSM still has such a painfully miserable grasp of blogs, bloggers, the blogosphere I’m suffering second-hand embarrassment just reading their drivel.

This is some high-level stuff, ignoring for a moment the blog-specific failures and other particular shortcomings from the WSJ and the NYT pieces, so bear with me.

What’s the difference between what someone like Felix Salmon does for Reuters and what someone like Gretchen Morgenson does for the New York Times? (And no, the answer is not “the former knows what he is talking about, while the latter spews-forth nonsense and ignorance,” although that’s an observation with which I’d generally agree.)   More generally, I’m curious, what makes a blog a blog (and a blogger a blogger)?  Is it the back-end, i.e. a website the content of which is published with WordPress or Typepad?  Is it the content itself, the site layout, the writers, or the editorial standards?  Is it association with MSM or a pre-existing other media?

I believe the answer to all of these questions is a solid “no;” as far as I can tell, the only thing that differentiates a “blog” (already a vague term in the common vernacular) from an “online magazine” or general “website” is that either the proprietors and/or the general public simply call one a blog and one something else.  That it.  For example, why is Naked Capitalism a “blog” instead of “the website of Yves Smith?”  Is The Atlantic’s Business section of the website a blog?  Why (or why not)?  Both host several daily posts (or articles, whatever) from a number of (mostly regular) contributors, allow readers to leave comments, etc.  Naked Capitalism is powered by Blogger; The Atlantic uses Movable Type.

What I hope you’re starting to realize by now is that the term “blog” (and its derivatives) has became wayyyy too pervasive, to the point that I believe its entirely misused, if not abused with startling regularity.  Why, though?  We’ve established that neither the site layout nor the back-end publishing system determines whether a particular site is a blog or not, so then it must have something to do with the content and/or the author(s), right?   Ok, then tell me how is it that Gretchen is a “columnist” and an “editor” but Felix is referred-to as a far less prestigious sounding “blogger?”  Contrary to the claims of some other observers, I think this difference is far more than simply cosmetic; except for the few of us “in the know,” I’m fairly certain the average person thinks Gretchen much more credible than Felix, at least based purely on title alone.  This, sense does not make.  Judging purely from the content these two create, Felix deserves far more respect than Gretchen, as his posts are not only more frequent, but significantly more technical and nuanced than the predictable, dumbed-down, anti-capitalist rhetoric we get from her.

Of course, not all “blogs” are created equal, but that’s the point; some websites are – or host – what I’ll refer to as “true blogs,” while others are effectively the same as MSM(-esque) websites.  The latter often have several full-time contributors, support, and editorial staff.  Think Gawker.  The former are usually some sort of grossly un-professional hodge-podge of sporadically-created content covering seemingly random topics; think something like myrandomdisorganizedmessofawebsite.blogspot.com.

The point is that many websites that are commonly referred-to as “blogs” really aren’t.  Likewise, the authors of said “blogs” should not be considered bloggers, but writers (or analysts, or whatever) and the content they create should be given the respect (and usually, the credibility) given to the works of other professional writers (or analysts, or whatever) of the same/similar caliber.

Its funny, while MSM completely fails to grasp this whole blog thing, their own websites continually devolve into them, for the better.

Use of Phrase/Term “Toxic Assets” Banned

22 Mar


Any author caught using the term, sans clarification/serious explanation of the assets in question, what particular feature(s) make(s) them so “toxic” shall, whenever I’m alerted, be tarred, feathered, and – depending on the severity of the offense – drawn and quartered.

I am not fucking around, either.  Be forewarned.  I will hunt you down, I will eat your young (metaphorically speaking), and you will tell me what is so fucking toxic or may god have mercy on your ignorant, lazy, biased, lack of a soul.

Oh, and I’m back in the U.S; no bitternes what-so-ever (but seriously, any author, like this dude, Senator Jim Webb, caught using the phrase, be on high-alert.  Stone Street Advisors has the following, the implements, and most importantly, the desire to expose you as the hack you are.

Also you pandering fucking hack (Webb), while I appreciate the situation in which you find yourself (having to pander, or under the perception to do so), that article is so wraught with fucking bullshit were you my representative I would actually run against you, I shit you not, and I would, if nothing else, make you sound as economically fucking retarded as Barney Frank and Maxine Waters illicit love-child so help me god.

Cut the bullshit.  Seriously.  We, on Wall Street, exist to play this game better than you, better than anyone else.  That is our fucking job.  You want to chastise us for it?  Bring it.  You are a public “servant;” we serve our clients and shareholders.  If they have a problem with how we run our business, they take it up with us.  Oh, and remember, only 40% +/- of U.S citizens pay a dime in Federal taxes.  Oh, and those that did got paid well, for their “investment.”  Slow.your.roll.