Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

TMM are beginning to question their sanity. Or rather their age, attire, smoking paraphernalia and location, because what they are beginning to feel definitely belongs in the realm of the retired, blazer wearing, pipe-smoking Tunbridge Wells resident. For our international readership, this stereotype is synonymous with conservatism and signs letters complaining about falling social standards to The Times or Telegraph as "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells".

For today, if we didn’t know better, we would suggest that the Media is running the world. Journalists are currently thriving on the exceedingly fertile ground of natural disaster, nuclear disaster, social unrest, war and international discord. In Tokyo the western media appears to have done their best to whip up panic with a barrage of bent and twisted statistics and now Libya has been a classic pump and dump exercise. Demand action, criticise its tardiness and then tear it apart once done, all the while offering opinion based on emotion rather than fact.

The BBC has been particularly guilty of this emotional manipulation recently and as TMM come to work in the morning the BBC Radio's landmark current affairs program, "Today", will offer at least twice every hour, an interview that goes along the following lines.

Interviewer - "So tell me what has happened to you"
Person - "{ insert person/ organisation/govt} has stopped giving me {insert something cheap/free} that I always got before"
Interviewer - "So how do you feel about that?"
Person - "Well, it's terrible and I'm worse off now without the free things"
Interviewer - "Should this have been allowed to happen?"
Person - "It should never have been allowed to happen"
Interviewer - "What do you think should happen now?"
Person - "I should be given {insert cheap/free thing} again"
Interviewer - "And whose fault is it?"
Person - "It’s all {insert govn, large corp or rich person}'s fault"

Repeat the above process replacing Person with Person's close relative.

What has happened to reporting FACTS? Not emotions or cherry-picked factoids designed to influence emotions in a precalculated manner or opinions of non-experts, but just the hard facts. TMM of Tunbridge Wells feel that they are big enough to come to their own conclusions and don't look to news services to tug on their heartstrings. It's meant to be News, not "how do you feel about losing" X-factor.

Can someone please point TMM towards their most highly recommended factual Radio and TV news sources that are manipulation and emotion free? Oh, and finally whilst on the subject of media, who at Bloomberg sent out a writ decreeing that all Earthquakes from here on in will be referred to as "Temblors"? The only temblors TMM want to experience are Knee Temblors.

Rant over, let's move on to the BoE monetary policy......

{TMM suffers Heart Attack, is carried off, stage left, by stretcher bearers. Curtain}


Nic said...

4.4% mwuahahaha
Hello TMM

Anonymous said...

And what they going to do in BOE? Nothing again?

Charles Butler said...

There seems, over the course of the financial crisis, to have developed a certain conspiracy amongst events to discredit the journalistic profession. I fully place the blame for this injustice to those selfless defenders of all we hold dear on the shoulders of the former. Perhaps remedy should be sought through the courts.

Anonymous said...

It isn't news as we know it anymore,or the vast majoirty isn't.
It's simply'news' dressed as what ever it takes to sell to someone willing to pay for it.The latter clearly takes precedence over the core 'news'.Unfortunately,dry facts don't sell in this world.
Imagine you earn you money by managing other poeple's money and you come to two options.Option 1 you tell the guy something he doesn't wnt to hear and he takes his money away.Option 2 you give the guy what he wats and you get your cut and life goes on.That's where we are at with news reporting.

Anonymous said...

Has anything really changed?

Diplo said...

it's not TV or Radio but just get your news from Stratfor

Anonymous said...

hahaha..Had to google temblor. And bloom doesn't even mix it up with quakes and temblors. Its temblors all the way baby!!
C'mon equities, show some respect.

mw said...


Stan123 said...

TMM, you should check out www.schiffradio.com for a good source of no nonsense financial and current affairs opinion. Schiff has no time for the Guardian reading lefties who dominate the bbc!!

Stan123 said...

Failing that, BBC2 newsnight just about still passes as good quality news.

mw said...

my personal favorite bit of sensationalism gone bad is FOX's notation of the Shibuya Eggman nuclear reactor


Anonymous said...

Hate to comment anonymous but I think you'll all survive.

Emotions drive votes and the government... Facts drive markets... half the citizens in the US dont pay taxes but are able to vote, and you wonder why its so hard to control the budget deficit.

Until we change that problem, i.e. vote with our feet or have the ability to buy the vote away from people who make decisions using facts... Same thing different day : trying to stuff ten pounds of shit in a five pound sack.

back to work

Anonymous said...

Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN every Sunday or free on the Interwebs... Only good thing on CNN but definitely the best foreign affairs program on TV here in the States.

Minty said...

All news, for all time has been biased friends, sorry to tell you. Perhaps it is you that has changed to suddenly notice and be alarmed by this.

You could always read nothing and trade on technicals :) Graphs are rarely biased.

CV said...

4.4% indeed ... the semi daily commute to Tesco is getting increasingly [insert scarry adjective here] ...


Polemic said...

Thanks folks for all the recommendations. we will try them all ( yes like Stratfor, diplo)

Anon. 1.07 You are right but there must be others like us that would happily pay for a decent news service. Indeed pay to have it available to others too. TMM radio ??

Minty you are right .. we have been well aware of the natural bias for all the reasons stated in all the above comments. But it just all gets a bit too much sometimes and deserves a quick spleen vent. As for charts, they may not lie but the equivalent of "pick up sticks" that some folks decide to throw over them certainly can.

Nic - hello and welcome back

Anonymous said...

Why do I have this sudden urge to be long the US$ and treasuries?
Must be something to do wiht it's all clear !

Anonymous said...

Spooky. Debate at TW dinner table recently about how do we know we have our own views when we are being manipulated by every media outlet to be angry / sad / happy / etc.

Then I spotted in TMM something that help me find some faith.

TMM and DoTW have independently spotted the Media’s Libyan excursion: the “we must do something, ooh lovely big explosion, we are fk it up, how do we get out” cycle.

It was unbelievable but then again not. Why?

1. Afghanistan: no decent pictures, same bare rocks, Predator drones, controlled press corp. Our boyz getting killed but where’re the explosions?

2. Japan: great disaster porn shots from helicopter. Then just acres of driftwood and people in face masks Quickly dispatch hacks because Japanese being far too reserved and forbearing. Write two page spread say how it is impossible to describe the devastation. {DoTW: are in the wrong fk job then journo? Thought that descriptive skills were a pre-requisite}. Hallelujah nuclear meltdown. Bugger cannot find any science bods to say there will be a mushroom cloud. Never mind still a few explosions and hopes of panic. Damn Those awfully clever and resourceful Japanese look like they are going to fix it and no real issue. Bored, get me home, the becarels taste funny over here

3. Libya: Brilliant. A nasty tyrant {DoTW: like they are rare}. Bit of history in Tunisia / Egypt. Whip up the locals, add a bit of meja pressure and regime change. Oh. Whoops not working so well in Libya. He does not mind killing his own people with tanks. Feeling a bit guilty now we may have overstrayed the mark. Time for righteous indignation and goad the politician. It worked! The idiot politcos have fallen into our trap and agreed to military action (and the good sort that we can recorded in Technicolor). Typical - Iraqi all over again - couple of days and nothing big worth blowing up. Going to be long protracted and they are not going to let us film whatever we like. Time to moan and wrap it up in an article about NATO infighting and no exit plan

4. Taxi drivers. Time for a bit of much needed local news. Find a taxi driver who has murdered somebody. {DoTW: Er taxi driver, lorry driver, good jobs for meeting murder victims}. Perfect, a teenager, pretty, middle class (good teeth) not bl*ck. Hey, we have some good photos from her school year book. {DoTW: 1 day to go before her family can hope that you get out of their ruined lives and go and feed on somebody else's misery}

Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells (Really. On both counts)

Got to stop. Feeling nauseous.

Polemic said...

A real DoTW - What a treat! TMM thanks you.

Anonymous said...


Check out Andrew Haldane's speech Jan 2011 Bank of England publications speech484.pdf And I mean apart from the nice writing style (he dives straight in, expects you to do the work, broader vocabulary than a 1,000 England Managers).

Loads of sensible stuff about the b*llocks of pen pushing regulators trying to spot a bank rigging its capital ratios.

Goes on to some nice market based capital ratios suggestions.

Then takes one more toke on the wacky baccy and he's into CoCo land.

Methinks that the world of finance and banks have know for sometime about the convertible instrument (debt becomes equity). So how come nobody has come up with the whizz bang idea before that it converts when things are going to crap (rather than when they are going rather well)?

Well maybe its because investors don't want it! Eugene Flashman from Megabank turns up at your door and says he's selling some CoCo. Great product priced with debt returns except unlike debt just when its al going t*ts up you suddenly flip from creditor to shareholder. You send him away politely saying that maybe he should re-price this as equity if it is missing the absolutelty fundamental feature of all debt instruments - your a creditor when the sh*t hits the fan.

Flashman scurries back to Hsbarloys Bank his cleint and says sorry its going to cost much more to raise this stuff, basically equity pricing. Briliant says the client you want me to pay equity pricing for debt which does not get included in by equity base.

Think I understand why its not going to fly off the shelves

But Haldane takes one more deep tug on his spliff. What about if half of all staff bonuses and shareholder dividends had been paid in CoCo's over the last 6 years. Well hey presto £70 bilion of capital would have flipped into equity come GFC and no need for a bail out.

Don't know quite where to start on this one. Halving the yield on bank shares for 6 years might just have had a pretty fundamental impact on the banks. Not sure how my banking colleagues would have felt about having had 50% of their bonuses snaffled for 6 years. What would have happened to the support economy with all this cash being removed? And the banks would have had more capital under the same Basle rules so they would have bought even more toxic paper.

Sorry TMM, not a whizz kid economist like you but doesn't it make you sad to see somebody brilliantly describe the flaw in capital ratio policing only to blow it all. Driving through the rear view mirror I think you call it.


Charles Butler said...


Just a guess, but I'd imagine that they would have swallowed CoCo dividends with the same gusto that they choked on everything else through 2007. Too late now.