Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dennis Lets Zero Hedge Have It

Preamble: here is the original post... the supremely ironic thing is I didn't even say anything negative about DK.

First, I ask readers to watch the following clip

I want to make a few points:

First, I have respect for Dennis - he lays out his beliefs (regardless if these beliefs are based on completely flawed foundations or not) and defends them, on prime time TV, in a "financial news" medium whose very existence every viewer realizes is contingent on not only the continued viability of massively bad debt-laden GE (due to its inextricable ties with GE Capital, which lent out more toxic second liens than virtually any other entity), but by implication, the well-being of the overall economy, as well as the continued financial support by PIMCO and other financial company sponsors who have explicit and implicit ties with the current administration, and who profit exclusively from a rising market. In retrospect, one can see where Dennis' viewers may get confused by the blurry line between a hopelessly severe conflict of interest and honest personal opinion.

Second, I want to address some points that Dennis made in his monologue. Zero Hedge received an invite from Dennis' producer Dave at 1:34 pm to appear on the show. Of course, our frequent readers realize this is a non-starter for anyone at Zero Hedge due to the nature of our operation. We countered by offering a telephonic interview at an indeterminate point in the future (and desirous of at least a 24 hour advance notice: again, frequent readers will attest that I tend to post constantly, for about 18 hours a day), and even offered Dennis a forum on Zero Hedge to directly address our readers, whom he, we assume affectionately, had some florid words for. Nowhere did we give the impression we would have a call today, and offered up a date in two weeks for an extended call, which would take place upon my return from a reconnaissance trip to Europe (ironically to check up on some of GECC's major investments in the region: stay tuned for my observations). Our overture was denied, yet somehow Dennis decided to make a point of misrepresenting the communication that took place. We provide a transcript of the email exchange earlier for our readers' convenience.

Third, I would be very happy to have a sensible, rational discussion with Dennis on any topic of his choosing, and to demonstrate my opinion, which he may or may not agree with, as to why I find his conclusion that the recession is now over laughable. However, this will not occur on CNBC's 10 second sound bite terms: a good case in point is Dennis allowing the other blogger exactly 46 seconds of air time to justify his opinion, before cutting him off irreverently and turning off his microphone. Zero Hedge knows very well how prime time media operates. Which is why I, in turn, extend Dennis an invitation to appear on a podcast, or any other non-CNBC hosted venue of his choosing, for a deabte which will be as lengthy as necessary, without commercial or otherwise interruptions, without prepared notes, without tele- or ear-prompters, in which I am happy to deconstruct his thesis point by point, not having to worry about his producer cutting me off, or Fritz Henderson's bathroom break at 1 Bowling Green causing an epileptic fit inducing bout of CNBC Breaking News.

Fourth, as pertains to anonymity, Mr. Kneale would be well-advised to read the Zero Hedge manifesto:
though often maligned (typically by those frustrated by an inability to engage in ad hominem attacks) anonymous speech has a long and storied history in the united states. used by the likes of mark twain (aka samuel langhorne clemens) to criticize common ignorance, and perhaps most famously by alexander hamilton, james madison and john jay (aka publius) to write the federalist papers, we think ourselves in good company in using one or another nom de plume. particularly in light of an emerging trend against vocalizing public dissent in the united states, we believe in the critical importance of anonymity and its role in dissident speech. like the economist magazine, we also believe that keeping authorship anonymous moves the focus of discussion to the content of speech and away from the speaker- as it should be. we believe not only that you should be comfortable with anonymous speech in such an environment, but that you should be suspicious of any speech that isn't.
To this point, and this is where there is obviously major friction in opinions as I am not sure if Dennis, a TV pundit, can quite comprehend this, Zero Hedge is not about personalities, goatees or glasses - it is about ideas, facts and opinions. People come to Zero Hedge not because of my chiseled washboard abs, but because they appreciate my insight into things financial and economic. My personality is not relevant when discussing critical concepts. Who knows - maybe I do not care for being recognized while having diner at Campagnola. Zero Hedge realizes that a little individual humility when evaluating the trillions and trillions of debt which our children will inherit as a result of the current spending spree by the Administration (which may or may not end this immediate recession, only to result in a default of the US 10 years down the line), would come in useful: maybe Mr. Kneale should also consider that as he hopes to build credibility before his CNBC viewers.

Lastly, direct attacks by Dennis against Zero Hedge readers with pejoratives such as "digital dickweed" is somewhat beneath a person who, at least in his personal view, is sufficiently erudite to have an informed opinion on such critical issues as the end of a recession.

In conclusion, I have no bad blood with Dennis at all - I believe it would greatly benefit both Dennis' viewers as well as my readers to have a sensible discussion on this very relevant topic. I have proposed several ways in which this can be achieved: if Dennis would like to take on the challenge, I am game. If not, I understand: after all Zero Hedge is at the forefront of the "anonymous, dark and cowardly" blogosphere, whose corners Dennis would be the last person to brave as we deal not with the ethereal, bright lights of "hope and fortitude" but scary, mysterious concepts like facts and substance. Sphere: Related Content
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