Yesterday, Ben Smith noted that Citizen Journalism had failed to meet expectations, and I would tend to agree overall- blogs are not replacing newspapers or MSM news organizations anytime soon.
On the other hand, blogs have been quite good at pointing out first-class wankery. As an example, this from James Pethokoukis:
Are investor concerns about an Obama presidency influencing the stock market? And by “concerns” I mean “existential panic.” And by “Obama presidency” I mean “a tax-hiking and regulatory reign of terror.” And by “influencing” I mean “eviscerating.” At least that’s the overwrought take I get from a few of my more skittish E-mailers. Chillax, y’all!
Now a few of my own (more tranquil) observations about a possible jittery Investor Class, the plunging market, and the now famous Obama Discount Theory:
First, a general rule. Never have the foundation and starting point for any argument you want taken seriously based on skittish emails. If I were to do that, I would think that Obama is an illegal alien, a muslim, a terrorist-loving appeaser who has it in for the Jews and holds multiple citizenships with various states, including Indonesia and Kenya. And those are just from this week from Red State alerts alone.
Second, have we not been down this road before? Did we not just discuss the Goldberg Theorem at length? I seem to remember something about it:
Last Thursday, when the Dow was dropping to roughly 8,600, various right-wing polemicists claimed that the stock market was plummeting because investors were realizing that Obama would likely win and his policies would be bad for the economy. The Right’s leading intellectual historian, Jonah Goldberg, wrote a post he entitled “The Obama Discount,” and printed this email:
When are people going to start talking about the REAL reason the markets are down – Obama up in polls. If I was McCain, I’d start telling people, “If you want to lose more money, vote Obama.”
Though Jonah said he had “no idea whatsoever if there’s merit to this, and if there is how much merit,” he nonetheless noted that he was receiving “lots of email like this” — presumably from other geniuses who write emails sharing their economic theories with Jonah Goldberg.
Our man at USNEWS, who features prominently in the original Goldberg Theorem post by Greenwald, does not follow this firm rule, and then goes on to state why he thinks the market may be tanking, and surprisingly enough, it is still the impending Obamocracy that is causing the crash. Not, as you might think, the fact that the economy is a total disaster:
Dismal corporate earnings and poor economic data around the world were the immediate causes for the sell-off, analysts said.
“There’s a lot of panic out there today,” Scott Fullman, director of derivatives investment strategy for WJB Capital Group in New York, told The Associated Press. “People have been saying that we’re in a recession. This is the realization.”
Stock markets around the world are troubled by worries over looming economic disruption following the financial market meltdown.
Investors are concerned that a radical slowdown will harm companies’ profitability more than previously feared, concerns that appeared to be borne out as a string of companies issued worse-than-expected results.***
In the futures markets in the United States, the stocks of auto makers like Ford and General Motors suffered after Toyota reported sales declines, suggesting a worse environment for all car makers. In Germany, Daimler’s stock dropped 11.4 percent after it reported lower third-quarter earnings.
In Japan, shares of Sony fell more than 14 percent after it cut its earnings forecast. Apple stock was hit after Samsung reported a steep profit decline, suggesting a more difficult climate in consumer electronics.
Adding to the pressure on markets, large hedge funds and other institutional investors have been withdrawing their money en masse to try to reduce risk and raise cash as stocks have declined — moves that have only intensified the selling.
Strangely missing from that NY Times report is any wild speculation about fears caused by an impending Obama administration, and instead, it seems to rely on facts and actual market factors. It must be that famous liberal media bias again.
Now granted, I understand that emotion does play a role on the market- see irrational exuberance, but the notion that fear of an Obama Presidency is what is driving the events of the day is first class wankery. Warren Buffet has endorsed Obama. Ben Bernanke just seemingly endorsed the Obama/Democratic stimulus package. I don’t know how much money Jay Nordlinger and Andy McCarthy and Jonah Goldberg have in the market, but if crackpots like that are what is driving the market, we are in far worse trouble than anyone could have imagined.
Maybe Pethokoukis should just mark all incoming e-mail from the NRO and the Weekly Standard as spam?