The Contents of This Column Are Possibly Accurate: Opening LineC. Thompson
When we have finally killed off most of the real, reliable journalism, when only a handful of the most legitimate news outlets remain and the rest of us are reduced to reading listicles for free as long as we endure the advertising, this is what we’re going to be left with: BuzzFeed: “41 Scandalous Editors Notes.”
That’s How Erik Wemple at the Washington Post summed up the fallout from this weekend’s sacking of Benny Johnson, the site’s polarizing “viral politics” editor who was fired for plagiarism. Johnson is a member of the cheating generation, a clean-cut twentysomething in a tie with a Tucker Carlson-look who stole some of the work he was paid for because Internet.
The Internet is tearing us apart. One way is the ease with which journalists are made there. Members of the deteriorated press forget where they read stuff, assume it’s all in the public domain, or don’t forget but hope you did and just report it as fact. It happened before the Internet but it’s worse now.
You’re trading on this stuff, too, this Internet news. Remember the old saying that just because someone printed it doesn’t make it true?
The new young Buzz List hacks will steal from sites like Wikipedia, which, in the interest of full disclosure, is now the third party that provides the content for personal profiles on the Bloomberg terminal. But the stuff lifted from Wikipedia will be corrupt, too, because Internet. Tower of Babel in reverse.
The accuracy of the site you can’t avoid even when you want to depends on who got there last. Topping the list this week of Wikipedia adulterators is Congress, or at least its members’ staff, more kids in ties. One of them, or perhaps more than one, has succeeded in getting an IP address within the halls of Congress blocked by Wikipedia for “disruptive” edits to entries that skew, fabricate outright or even troll.
It has a circular effect. We know because we’re writing from inside the drain.
Today’s main U.S. economic indicator is pending home sales at 10 a.m.
Tyson Foods reports earnings before the market opens. After the bell: Herbalife.
Israel will announce its rate decision at 9 a.m. EDT, and if the only analyst who called it right last time is right again, there will be a cut to 0.5 percent from 0.75 percent.
- Dollar Tree just agreed to buy Family Dollar. - Virgin America filed for its initial public offering. - Russia was ordered by a Hague court to pay $50 billion to the former owners of Yukos Oil, according to the company’s representative. - Emirates will stop flying over Iraq, its president told the Times of London, and he expects more carriers will follow. - Lyft is rolling in NYC after working out its issues with state and local authorities. - Deutsche Bank and HSBC have been sued by one J. Scott Nicholson for manipulating the silver fix. - Saudi Arabia is closed all week, and most Middle Eastern countries will be closed at some point this week, in celebration of the Eid holiday. - The ban on handguns in D.C. has been overturned. - Battles between Libyan soldiers and militias killed 38 yesterday and have ignited a huge fire in an oil depot outside Tripoli’s airport. Diplomats from the U.S. and U.K. are being evacuated. - Wildfires in Northern California are threatening Yosemite National Park, vineyard country and hundreds of homes. - The wife of Cameroon’s deputy prime minister has been kidnapped by suspected members of Boko Haram, revealing the group’s expansion from Nigeria. - The Mexican Senate’s bill on laws opening the country to foreign drillers heads to the lower house. - Argentina’s negotiators have no plans to meet today with a court-appointed mediator in New York as the clock ticks toward a potential July 30 default, which is growing more likely, Credit Suisse says. - Democracy comes to a 12th century Hindu temple in India. - Lightning killed one and injured at least eight others, one critically, during a freak storm over Venice Beach in Los Angeles. - “Seinfeld” could be coming to a Netflix screen near you. - Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, greeted fans at the team’s training camp by handing out $100 bills. - NYC’s bike-sharing is poised for expansion by de Blasio. - Comic-con is getting creepy.
Buying the dip? It’s been a sure bet for five years, but better make it quick. They don’t last as long as they used to.
Plane crashes, geopolitical instability or plane crashes caused by geopolitical instability are no match these days for the march of money into equities, Lu Wang reports in today’s greet-the-week column for stocks. Everyone knows a market pullback is coming, or at least everyone thinks they know a market pullback is coming, yet few are willing to miss a move up that might come after a decline, which invariably comes, she writes.
Declines in the S&P 500 this year haven’t been this short in five years, lasting an average of 1.4 days. You have to go back five years also to find bigger gains in the index on the days after one. The benchmark hasn’t fallen by 10 percent for 33 months, compared with an average of 18 months.
Retail investors are behind a lot of it, dropping $100 billion in equity mutual funds and ETFs in the past year, and no one likes that. Or do they?
“Willingness to buy on a dip implies confidence,” ClariVest Asset Management’s Stacey Nutt tells Wang.
“Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.’” -- Genesis 1:29.
Citing risks “far less dangerous than alcohol,” the disproportionate effect on the lives of blacks, and the inconsistencies arising in law enforcement as public attitudes and laws change, the New York Times editorial board called yesterday for federal government to repeal the ban on marijuana.
The newspaper noted, as many do, the similarities to the prohibition on alcohol, which was repealed after 13 years. Weed has now been illegal for far longer, and in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s ranking, pot is worse than cocaine or meth. There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012 and 256,000 for cocaine, the Times said.
“There are no perfect answers to people’s legitimate concerns about marijuana use,” the newspaper wrote, placing the editorial on the cover of its separate Op-Ed section in Sunday’s editions.
To illustrate, you’re still subject to being drug-tested at the New York Times.
“But neither are there such answers about tobacco or alcohol, and we believe that on every level — health effects, the impact on society and law-and-order issues — the balance falls squarely on the side of national legalization. That will put decisions on whether to allow recreational or medicinal production and use where it belongs — at the state level.”
We’ll drink to that.
Tucked away in the final paragraph of Bloomberg’s coverage of Boeing’s earnings last week was a throw-away quote from Chief Executive Officer James McNerney that he probably wishes he had, in fact, thrown away.
McNerney cast doubts on the likelihood that he’ll retire when he reaches the company-mandated age of 65 next month because “the heart will still be beating, the employees will be still be cowering, and I’ll be working hard.”
Wait, what? What’s that again about the employees?
McNerney’s apologizing for the comment, which he has called “a joke gone bad.”
“There was no intent to slight anyone but myself, and the last thing on my mind was to characterize my relationship with Boeing employees in any negative way,” he’s quoted as saying.
The unions are pouncing, however. The machinists’ union thinks the line was “unfunny and unnecessary,” a “reminder (of) the Jack Welch style of anti-personnel management,” and, in the Seattle Times story linked above, “a new low.”
We didn’t try to raise Jack Welch for a response. On his behalf we’ll say he’d probably take issue with characterization.
While from a distance it might be convenient to write this one off as just an ill-advised comment, it comes amid a precarious time at Boeing.
An old friend of ours in the aerospace press who knows the company and its relationship with the unions intimately says the remark, coming on top of a contentious contract with machinists and testy moves with the engineers, further poisons the work environment. There are expectations growing within the unions that 2016, which is when pensions will be frozen, could be a year of mass retirements at a critical time for the 777X, the tanker and the 737 Max.
The daydreaming comes easily, doesn’t it? In unguarded moments, or times of frustration, we all think about where we’d go if we could and what we’d do there.
For journalists, the standard dream is retreating to a beloved old newspaper in some funky town like you see in “Northern Exposure” and turning it into the Gammy Bird or, in real life, James Russell Wiggins’s famed Ellsworth American.
But for you folks, who are likely to have salted away a fairly larger nest-egg than reporters manage to accrue, the possibilities could lead anywhere. Got a thing for crêpes? Or just food in general? Want to travel the world, or, having arrived on a Greek island, decide to stay there and open a moped rental? You could.
You don’t care about money anymore. You don’t need to. You just want to get out of New York or London or Hong Kong.
Or maybe you want both. Russell Abrams, after 23 years on Wall Street, is going for both.
But if you do care about money, London is increasingly looking like not the place to be in your business.
Ninety percent of financial professionals surveyed in the City of London by Astbury Marsden said they would leave London, Ambereen Choudhury reports. That’s an increase from 77 percent a year ago.
Pretty much exactly what George Osborne was concerned about.
To Dallas Mavericks CEO Terdema Ussery for being among three finalists for the vacant job of leading the NBA players’ union. Michele Roberts, an attorney at Skadden Arps, and Dean Garfield, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, are the others, two people with knowledge of the process told Scott Soshnick. The candidates will address the union’s leadership today in Las Vegas.
To Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas, Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox for their induction yesterday into the Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown, New York, which celebrated its 75th anniversary by announcing changes to some of the rules governing induction, which may have been too generous over the years.
Also to Vincenzo Nibali for his victory in the 101st Tour de France, followed by Jean-Christophe Pérault and Thibod Pinot, the second- and third-place finishers and the first French riders to mount the podium at the race’s conclusion in Paris since doper Richard Virenque in 1997. Is the sport clean enough now to get the better companies back into sponsorships?
In the meantime, we’ll miss Phil Liggett, the Briton and legendary voice of cycling in the English-speaking world, and the poetry he spews in his charming Merseyside accent. So we’ll just content ourselves with Liggettisms until next July.