Saturday, November 24, 2007
Timing is everything
In years gone by, prior to the discovery of electricity and radio waves, transmission of information used to be a lengthy and unreliable process. It would sometimes take weeks, or even months, for news to travel from one end of The Land to another
But now, of course, we live in the Information Age when data can travel around the world at the press of a button and literally at the speed of light
Unless you work for The Guardian that is...
Revealed: massive hole in Northern Rock's assets
Fresh (!!?) doubts emerged last night about Northern Rock's ability to repay the £23bn of taxpayers' money it has been lent by the Bank of England.
A Guardian examination of Northern Rock's books has found that £53bn of mortgages - over 70% of its mortgage portfolio - is not owned by the beleaguered bank, but by a separate offshore company...
The same investigation reveals just how vulnerable the bank is to a cooling property market and demonstrates the scale of Northern Rock's exposure to mortgages where customers have borrowed heavily against their homes.
The mortgages are now owned by a Jersey-based trust company and have been used to underpin a series of bond issues to raise cash for Northern Rock. It means the pool of assets available to provide collateral for Northern Rock's creditors, including the Bank of England, is dramatically reduced, calling into question government claims that taxpayers' money is safe...
No shit Sherlock
It's a bit late reporting this now though isn't it?
About two months too late
Still, it's faster than most of the other mainstream press which hasn't got round to tackling this issue at all
This isn't about newspapers acting responsibly and easing up on their coverage of crooked fuck-ups at banks like Northern Rock, RBS or Barclays to avoid creating a national panic. There's going to be bloodbath whatever they print. This is about the corporate media standing idly by whilst the whole rotten system is propped up with public cash for a few more weeks so that the Big Boys can slip their money out - and bollocks to the rest of us
So what's the explanation then? Are mainstream financial journalists terminally corrupt or are they just plain shit at their jobs?
And, with regards to the end result, does it really make any difference what the answer to that question is?
And it's always worth remembering one thing about the money our current financial system is so reliant on; it is whisked up out of thin air by a small number of privately controlled institutions.
And if our current financial system does suffer a catastrophic rupture because of a sudden shortage of that money it will be because that handful of privately controlled institutions will have willed it so
edit: and whilst on the subject of shite financial journalism how about this timely piece from the Newsnight blog...
The history of Newsnight's nightly markets update has not always been a happy one. On Thursday we reported that in New York the "Dow Jones was substantially down amidst more credit crunch fears". That's odd, many of you told us, as - being Thanksgiving - Wall Street's finest were on a day-off. Our economics editor Stephanie Flanders was mortified - "unforgivable and embarrassing" was her verdict.
The key point about this cock-up is not that someone in the BBC mistook Wednesday's market data for Thursday's market data it's the fact that they made up a reason to account for it and reported that reason as fact
(I've made a comment to that effect on the Newsnight blog though it doesn't appear to have cleared moderation yet... edit: nope, still not there...)
Of course, we can all be sure that the Newsnight team only make stuff up on US National holidays...