(For those who say I just don’t get it…get this)
There was a time before 2007 when the mainstream business/financial media was a force to be reckoned with. Then the “Great Financial Crisis” began in early 2007 laying waste to everything that was once considered “money in the bank” thinking, along with the reputation of its most coveted band-wagoneers. i.e., Show hosts and their parading ensemble of next-in-rotation fund-managers and so-called “smart-crowd” populating most think-tanks.
Most of what was paraded as “insight” and more on these networks was nearly never, if ever, questioned. And if you happen to not be one of the coveted “in crowd?” You were more often than not derided and dismissed with an air of oozing superiority. A Bloomberg™ host used to use the term “Those that shall not be named.” to reference people like myself.
Then 2008 happened in earnest, and it was the entirety of this same media that suddenly looked at their camera lenses, microphones and keyboards like deer in the headlights, dumbfounded. The only thing that was worse was that every single explanation they gave for reasoning and calm was mercilessly ground into the annuls of “They ain’t got a clue!” history books. Yet, that didn’t mean they would ever stop.
Over the years these networks and shows have all but been relegated to the dust bin of history when it comes to the illuminating of anything useful or insightful, they’ve been beyond pathetic now going on a decade. I’ve written and spoke far too many times to list them all here. But to prove this point, let me not pull from the past, but use an example from today, as in, to-day.
This morning on CNBC™ “Squawk Box” anchors Andrew Ross Sorkin and Joe Kernen had a bit of a dust up (more like smack down) about the Corona virus, death tolls and the economy.
During a three minute skirmish it is clear (as I have pointed out, again, far too many times to note) Mr. Sorkin’s holier-than-thou political posture comes shining through. The problem is he is so politically biased he can’t postulate or conceivably understand any argument or premise that doesn’t fit his dogma. And, once again, he lays his cards down showing his true “insights.”
How you ask? Easy: If you don’t take his argument in toto – then you’re just defending Trump. Literally.
Don’t take my word for it, here’s a link to MarketWatch™ with the aforementioned spat. Doesn’t mean you or I are taking Mr. Kernen’s side. But once Mr. Sorkin plays his “Trump card” what more do you need to know?
In the wake of such stunning numbers he resites he seems to not be cognizant of one very, very, very (did I say very?) small detail. All the data, along with the C.D.C and others have lowered their numbers to barely equal a normal flu season. You would think Mr. Sorkin being so “up” on the news of the day would have some small grasp of that, not to mention N.Y. Governor Cuomo’s own proclamation that they got the numbers wrong.
Just make sure you don’t tell Andrew, because by the way he seems so convinced of his opinion, I don’t think he wants to know. Just sayin’.
If you think I’m just highlighting a onetime thing where Mr. Sorkin may have mistakenly allowed his politics to be seen on screen. May I remind you how he used his platform to have lawmakers and others badger and belittle credit card companies and banks into no longer allowing financing or purchasing constitutionally protected item such as firearms or ammo? This was the most egregious abuse of his platform in my eyes, because the companies are publicly traded and he hosts a show that can materially impact stocks. And CNBC allowed it all.
Is it any wonder why their rating are so bad they no longer publish them?
There have been so many glaring examples of political bias and/or “talking one’s book” its pathetic. Need I remind you of yet another, like the “I hate manias” Dan Nathan belligerently deriding a guest who didn’t share his views about one of the biggest manias of this current era known as Bitcoin™? And if you listened to his (Mr. Nathan) advice, all I have to say is what I’ve said ever since: You [still] have my condolences.
Then there’s the other farce that has lost its credibility almost as fast and deep, and if it weren’t for its terminal and news wire services – the name “terminal” would mean two things at once. e.g., Bloomberg.
As I mentioned at the beginning this network has itself shown its bias in more ways than one when it comes to advocating what they believe is relevant or informative. I stopped watching long ago when I as a viewer was told by host Tom Keene through the camera lens that I really needed to hear his next guest’s “insight” on the economy because “He was a Democrat.”
Here’s what I said to that bit of “insight.” Thanks Tom – click. And basically have never been back in a way as I used to.
Again, I don’t care what party affiliation anyone has unless we’re talking politics or legislation. This discussion (the day of that show) was the equivalent of talking open heart surgery and the reason why I needed to heed the next guest’s summation was not because they were a heart surgeon, or other medical specialist, but rather, they happened to have a Ph.D. which allowed them to be called “Dr.” and were a Democrat.
“But wait…there’s more!” as they like to say on late night TV. And boy, this one just leaves me speechless, and for those that know me, you know, that’s saying something.
Another fixture over at Bloomberg was one of the biggest blowhards of financial media known as Barry Ritholtz. Many times Mr. Ritholtz would take to the airwaves and refer to people like myself as “Idiots.” I’ve written about this when it happened and its all in the archives (as well as the Dan Nathan incident) But Mr. Ritholtz was someone with a big platform and seemingly loved to tell everyone and anyone just how smart he was and how everyone else is wrong (i.e., he loved to use the term “data deniers”). And much like Mr. Sorkin, holds a holier-than-thou attitude as he dispenses his own variant of self-indulgent dogma.
He even wrote a book about it. The title? Bailout Nation: “How greed and easy money corrupted Wall Street and shook the world economy” (2009, Wiley)
Here’s an excerpt from the cover-jacket. To wit:
Ritzholz leaves no stone unturned as he breaks down how the Federal Reserve’s interest-rate targeting policies as well as a condition known as moral hazard – the belief that you won’t bear the full consequences of your actions.
The United States has abandoned its capitalist roots and become a Bailout Nation.
Well guess what? In the most rocket fueled (aka Federal Reserve interest rate targeting policies and more) Wall Street mania of free money where stocks were at “Never before seen in human history highs” just 90 or so days ago. The investing entity with a reported $1+Billion under management aka Ritholtz Wealth Management, along with its chief executive officer Josh Brown ( yes, that Josh of CNBC fame) have reason to celebrate. Why?
They just got a government bail out!
Think I’m making it up? I completely understand, but here’s the aforementioned Mr. Brown in his own words. Again, to wit:
We qualified for the SBA-backed payroll protection loan after submitting our information and attestations. Two and a half months worth of employee payroll. I’m never comfortable taking on debt, but I’m even less comfortable about the idea of having to let people go. I would never be able to look myself in the mirror again if I had made that promise and didn’t back it up with action.
Thank you, Chase Bank! Thank you, SBA! It’s the news I needed and it came at the right time. Many of our peers of a similar size and employee headcount throughout the industry were able to make use of the program too. Being able to assure the firm that we’re keeping everyone and honoring all of our financial commitments meant everything in the moment.From the website: The Reformed Broker. com
And there you have it.
I only have one thing to say to the above…
I may be an “idiot.” But it’s a lot more credible than what they’ll now affix to Mr. Ritholtz and company, because after-all: Why did they not just buy the f’n dip? Seems to be working perfectly, no?
But, then again, what do I know. They’re the ones on TV, right?
© 2020 Mark St.Cyr
Addendum: I would like to make clear, as I have said many times: There are some fantastic, smart and insightful people that both have and still do work for these organizations. What I find absolutely disgusting is these voices (again, people I believe to be stunningly informed) have all been seemingly erased from the light of the cameras, microphones and more. In other words – whenever it appeared they were questioning or veering from the “markets can only go up” dogma, they were thereafter more likely to be seen on the back of milk cartons, rather than the network. And it is there that I find my disdain the most pointed.
Footnote: These “FTWSIJDGIGT” articles came into being when many of the topics I had opined on over the years were being openly criticized for “having no clue”. Yet, over the years, these insights came back around showing maybe I knew a little bit more than some were giving me credit for. It was my way of tongue-in-cheek as to not use the old “I told you so” analogy. I’m saying this purely for the benefit of those who may be new or reading here for the first time. I never wanted or want to seem like I’m doing the “Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah” type of response to my detractors. I’d rather let the chips fall – good or bad – and let readers decide the credibility of either side. Occasionally however, there are and have been times they do need to be pointed out, which is why these now have taken on a life of their own. (i.e., something of significance per se that may have a direct impact on one’s business etc., etc.) And readers, colleagues, and others have requested their continuance.