Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Two Versions

The past couple of years have been tough ones for Tiger Woods for lots of different reasons. I was more than a bit impressed, though, when I heard him give what was essentially a one word answer to the question "What do you see as the chances that you will NEVER get back to where you once were as a player?" Tiger's answer? "Zero." He went on to explain how he viewed his future, but I, who have no first hand knowledge of golf or the mental requirements to play, have to say that he certainly sounded like a winner. Without judging his past mistakes, it seems his gifts are both mental and physical.

Did anyone catch the Wall Street Journal article last week in which a 12-year employee and department manager at Goldman Sachs announced his resignation? Greg Smith became disgusted over the firm's slide away from client focus and service towards client ridicule, mostly for the customers who would frequently buy whatever G.S. was selling. In a rare case of the 1% crowd being exploited by an even more exclusive group, the customers became known as "muppets". We're talking here about individuals and institutions with portfolios in the millions.
But that's not even the whole story. Both the Wall Street Journal and FOX News are owned by the same company - Rupert Murdock's News Corp. But FOX somehow decided that the original story shouldn't be simply accepted as printed, and so they thought of a way to make G.S. seem a little friendlier. Now, a brief aside. Do you recall the sequel to the movie "Wall Street" made a few years ago? Michael Douglas back (after his character served a prison term) as uber shark Gordon Gecko, with a few supporting players and a story that borrowed freely from the excesses of the pre-crash markets of the late 2000's? You can find your own review of the movie, but one scene included a very aggressive shaved head type guy who was only too willing to risk other folks' money in some shaky securities. It wasn't really a major scene, except to show what working at such a firm was like (and no, there was no mention of G.S. in the movie).
Are you still with me? Fox News felt they could change minds by inviting in the actor who played the shaved head guy, who, it turns out, had some investment industry experience, but not at G.S. FOX Newsbabe Megyn Kelly asked questions that helped the guy reassure everyone that G.S. were actually good guys, and that Smith, in turn, was a punk, lashing out at his now-former employers in order to set himself up for a better spot at his next job, as though 12 years of experience wouldn't count for anything. And shaved head guy's current employment? Still acting, a fact that Kelly uncovered, but didn't wonder how this qualified him to refer to Smith at one point as a "bottom level guy".
Folks, I may be both old (just had a birthday similar to the other 62) and wrong from time to time, but I'm never going to just sit back and buy the stuff they spoon feed people at FOX News. If it means analyzing two versions of the same story, I'll take the one that comes from someone else.


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