Posts filed under “Financial Press”

Attack of the Blogs Dumb Journalists

1114Daniel Lyon heaves a big ole rock at a hornet’s nest in the upcoming Forbes, opening fire at Bloggers in a column called Attack of the Blogs.

Allow me to open and close nominations for what is a surefire winner for the dumbest dead tree cover story ever written award:

Lyon’s article is stunningly errant in its lack of understanding of oh so many things, one does not even know where to begin. Its simply dumb in too many ways to count.

But what the hell, lets give it the old college try:

Let’s start with the basic principle that bloggers are but a drop in the ocean in an enormous mainstream media sea. 99% of blogs get almost no traffic. Even this blog, which is (just barely) in the Truth Laid Bare Top 100, gets less than 10,000 hits per day.

Compare that with the circulation of major newspapers, magazines, TV stations, radio, etc. The blogosphere is totally dwarfed by mainstream media. It makes one wonder about the foolish strategic error of elevating the "enemy" to one’s own level. Why give free press to your opponent, most especially if he is much smaller than you? There’s a reason established candidates with double digit poll leads don’t debate their lesser challengers.

Of course, if the Mainstream Media were doing their jobs better, the blogosphere might not have any clout at all; bloggers merely stepped in to fill the huge void developed when the Press stopped doing what they were supposed to do.

The anti-bloggers might consider this in more detail: the Fourth Estate has utterly failed its charge to be the vigorous watchdog and counter-weight to government and corporate interests this countries founders  envisioned it to be. This has been increasingly so over the past 10 years. Budget cuts have sliced funding for hard hitting investigative journalism; the focus on ratings has mostly neutered television news; the obsessive focus on sensationalism (think OJ or Lacie Peterson or Michael Jackson trials) is an outgrowth of the cult of superficial celebrity worship. The FCC has allowed the Public airwaves to stay in the hands of those whose appreciation and understanding of the privilege seems to be ever decreasing.

That’s before we even get to the sheer hypocrisy — this coming from Forbes, who has been running an ongoing "Best of the Blogs" section for several years now. It even makes one suspect that the purposefully irritant story is a corporate gadfly attack designed to generate some controversy, buzz and sales in the style of the  shrill blonde harpy.

As to that hornet’s nest, criticism has already begun coming from too many places to count. boing boing, Doc  Searls, techdirt, Micro Persuasion, live journal, Infectious Greed, et. al. all criticize how poorly tohught out and argued the column was. Even BusinessWeek was compelled to note how bad the advice given in a related Forbes sidebar (Fighting Back).

But without a doubt the best response was a clever bit of satire by Kurt Opsahl, an EFF attorney. He parallels the Forbes drivel in a brilliant send up titled Attack of the Printing Press! Substituting the words "Printing Press" and "pamphleteers" for "Blogs," he places the entire debate in the setting of the US revolution with devastating effectiveness:

Printing presses are the prized platform of a public lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective. Their potent allies in this pursuit include Ben Franklin and John Hancock.

Take the tea tax. Revenue was coming, providing much needed funding to help with his Majesty’s benevolent aims in the colonies.

Then the pamphleteers attacked. A supposed crusading journalist launched a broadsheet long on invective and wobbly on facts, posting articles with his printing press calling your King "deceitful,""unethical,""incredibly stupid" and "a pathological liar" who had misled the colonists. The author claimed to be “Silence Dogood,” a middle-aged widow who started a one-woman "watchdog" pamphlet, to expose alleged regal excess…

Printing presses started being used a few years ago as a simple way for people to publish bibles. Suddenly they are the ultimate vehicle for insulting His Majesty, personal attacks, political extremism and smear campaigns. It’s not easy to fight back: Often a bashing victim can’t even figure out who his attacker is. No target is too mighty, or too obscure, for this new and virulent strain of oratory. King George has been hammered by pamphleteers; so have the Penn family, King Louis XIV, two research boutiques that criticized separatist colonials, the maker of scotch whiskey, a Virginia governor outed as a homosexual and dozens of other victims—even a right-wing pamphleteer who dared defend a printing press-mob scapegoat.

"Pamphleteers are more of a threat than people realize, and they are only going to get more toxic. This is the new reality," says the Governor of New York, "There is bad information out there in the pamphlets, and you have only hours to get ahead of it and cut it off, especially if it’s juicy."

Read the entire piece.

If it wasn’t for that pesky First Amendment . . .

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Sources:
Attack of the Printing Press!   
Kurt Opsahl
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), October 28, 2005
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/004105.php

Attack of the Blogs
Daniel Lyons, 11.14.05
On The Cover/Top Stories
http://www.forbes.com/business/forbes/2005/1114/128.html

THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION
http://www.house.gov/Constitution/Constitution.html

Category: Financial Press

Are the Wealthiest Under an Increasing Financial Strain?

Category: Economy, Financial Press

The Inflation Evil That Lurks

Hey, guess what? More mainstream media discovery that Inflation is lurking! Yesterday, it was the NYT, today, the WSJ:

"A specter from the past has been haunting the stock market lately, and,
as with most specters, the question is whether this one is mostly real
or mostly imaginary.

The specter is inflation, and until recently, many investors thought it
was dead and gone. Lately, if you believe the Federal Reserve, it isn’t
exactly ba-a-a-a-ck, but it is lurking. The Fed’s fear of inflation,
together with its clear intention to keep raising U.S. short-term
interest rates to keep inflation in check, is the main thing that has
prevented the much-awaited fourth-quarter stock rally from commencing . . .

A few weeks ago, I gave Professor James Hamilton grief over his 45 year chart of the 12 month change in CPI (1960 – 2005). The very long chart, IMHO, makes inflation look more modest versus its long history than say a 5 year chart would.

Indeed, the impact of any longer term charts is that they make major events look like ripples; You can barely see the 1987 crash on a long SPX chart, and even 9/11 is hard to spot on a 10 year Nasdaq chart.

Today’s WSJ also uses a long term chart — 35 years of CPI and Core CPI.  It presents a case that the core underreports inflation. Note that even during the late 1970s peak of CPI, the Core rate tracked the overall index; In 1972-74, however, the Core lagged the CPI appreciably.

That lag is very analogous to the present BLS reporting, and in my opinion, why the Fed is fighting inflation so aggressively.


Note: I modified the WSJ chart, zooming in on the two periods:<spacer>

click for larger chart

Iword_wsj_0232005181209_edit
Chart courtesy of WSJ

 

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The entire article is worth reading; I have more excerpts, and the original chart, after the jump.

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Source:

Specter of Inflation Haunts Dow
While Waiting for Fed’s Fears To Subside, Investors Pull Back, Imperiling an Anticipated Rally
E.S. BROWNING
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, October 24, 2005
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB113010700627577051.html

Read More

Category: Financial Press, Inflation

Category: Financial Press, Inflation

Wanted: Death of Equities

As I mentioned earlier, I really haven’t had time to think about what I want birthday-wise. But then I recalled I am still waiting for someone (anyone!) to find this (previously mentioned) August 13, 1979 Business Week magazine for me: click for larger graphic I am willing to pay a fair value for this. I…Read More

Category: Financial Press

Uh-Oh: Apple on the Cover of Time

Category: Financial Press, Psychology, Web/Tech

Weekend Linkfest!

Category: Economy, Financial Press, Weblogs

Well, If You Exclude Oil, You See…

Category: Financial Press

Technical Tools That Work

Category: Financial Press, Technical Analysis

Get A Clue WSJ Op/Ed

Category: Financial Press