Finance Blogger Feud Week

wabbit-season

So apparently, this is Finance Blogger Feud Week!  Get your programs!

Last week’s Felix Salmon versus Zero Hedge dustup was merely a prelude for what was to come to this week.

Two biggies to report so far:

Matt Taibbi (True/Slant, Rolling Stone) versus John Carney (Business Insider, Money Game, Clusterstock, whatever it’s called this week)

So it starts out with Matt Taibbi posting a video that is supposedly evidence of a large naked short trade that someone is attempting to put on in a Tarp-recipient company’s stock.  He gives us a second-by-second narration of the tape and discusses Reg SHO for the uninitiated.

Well, John Carney takes issue with both the details of the description as well as Taibbi’s conclusion, dissecting the naked short piece line by line.

Taibbi apparently has an existing beef with the Business Insider guys over a prior post about short-selling and he goes nuclear in his follow-up, calling them “the Clusterstock idiots” and “asinine”.

I respect Taibbi’s opinion and his work, but Carney makes some good points.  Besides, Carney’s kind of like the Christopher Hitchens of market commentary, one gets the sense that he sometimes just enjoys brushing off his legal talents and engaging in a battle of semantics for the sake of the battle itself.

I like both of these guys and read their stuff all the time.  This one’s too inconclusive to call, as the trade never gets filled on the video.

Read Megan McArdle‘s coverage of the disagreement at The Atlantic.

Kid Dynamite weighs in with an explanation of what is really being shown in the video: Kid Dynamite .

and Eddy Elfenbein calls this one for Carney as well at Crossing Wall Street .

Next up:

Michael “Mish” Shedlock (Global Economic Trend Analysis) versus Karl Denninger (Market-Ticker)

Okay, this could either be a largely academic debate or something much more crucial depending on which camp you fall into, but here goes my oversimplified explanation of the issue…

Mish makes the claim that Fractional Reserve Lending, a practice whereby the same money is loaned out and reloaned out in a chain of borrowing and investing events, represents a fraud…how can the same pool of money be at once backing several transactions/ outlays?

Denninger, in his inimitable style, takes great offense to this characterization of “money”, making the case that the term money itself needs to be used to describe things other than actual dollars, like the finished product of something grown and then manufactured.

Some of this stuff is over my head, and will probably be over yours, but for some reason, I found myself agreeing with both arguments.  Denninger’s definitions of money and credit are rock-solid, but Mish’s logic also seems to make a great deal of sense.

Both of these gentlemen are fierce and fearless debaters;  Mish has the battle scars from his Peter Schiff feud of earlier this year to prove it and Denninger…let’s just say I wouldn’t want to f@&# with Denninger when he’s done the homework and feels he’s on the right side of an issue.

Barry Ritholtz has the links you need to get in on this discussion and he himself weighs in on the side of Denninger.

Read about it on The Big Picture.

___

Minus the name-calling and personal attacks, this is exactly why I read these blogs as often as possible.  We are all richer for having access to the debates raging between these commentators, without the commercials and time limits that television imposes.

Viva the financial blogosphere!

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web
  1. Jay @marketfolly commented on Oct 07

    There have been a lot of battles lately, haven’t there? It’s good to see compelling arguments being made and bloggers challenging one another’s notions. But some of these attacks have gotten a bit ridiculous haha. Blogosphere is a warzone of words now!

    I feel left out, Josh you want to battle? Just kidding.

    Jay
    @marketfolly

    TRB: LOL…if i think of a topic that I’m passionate enough about, I’ll let you take the opposing side, but for now, no flame war for me! Thx!

  2. Jay @marketfolly commented on Oct 07

    There have been a lot of battles lately, haven’t there? It’s good to see compelling arguments being made and bloggers challenging one another’s notions. But some of these attacks have gotten a bit ridiculous haha. Blogosphere is a warzone of words now!

    I feel left out, Josh you want to battle? Just kidding.

    Jay
    @marketfolly

    TRB: LOL…if i think of a topic that I’m passionate enough about, I’ll let you take the opposing side, but for now, no flame war for me! Thx!

  3. John Doe commented on Oct 07

    I actually don’t agree that having access to more blogs is better than not, especially when non-factual tripe is put out there and is suddenly assumed to be worth “debating” even if its writer doesn’t really know what he’s talking about.

    I harp on Matt Taibbi a lot, as I consider him a great example of someone who was hired for his writing ability in one area, who has demonstrated time and again only the most superficial knowledge of finance, who clearly comes to the table with an agenda, and who argues without much fact, indeed, betrays his own lack of knowledge with some of the pure nonsense that makes its way into his writings. He is, so to speak, “clueless” about how banking really works.

    So while you may view it as useful, I see it as Internet pollution. Rather, the bloggers I read have either worked in finance extensively or have sufficient knowledge that one would actually hire the person to do a job. Matt Taibbi displays neither trait: he wouldn’t make it through the phone screen if he interviewed with a bank. And yet because he _can put a nifty-sounding sentence together, and can construct an argument, even if that argument is based on fantasy, he is given a disproportionate amount of credibility.

    THAT is the sad thing about blogging and the general ignorance of the public. Any fool can write something misguided and yet distract from the true, fact-based issues.

    TRB: Great points on the pollution aspect…haven’t really tackled that issue here at length yet…thx

  4. John Doe commented on Oct 07

    I actually don’t agree that having access to more blogs is better than not, especially when non-factual tripe is put out there and is suddenly assumed to be worth “debating” even if its writer doesn’t really know what he’s talking about.

    I harp on Matt Taibbi a lot, as I consider him a great example of someone who was hired for his writing ability in one area, who has demonstrated time and again only the most superficial knowledge of finance, who clearly comes to the table with an agenda, and who argues without much fact, indeed, betrays his own lack of knowledge with some of the pure nonsense that makes its way into his writings. He is, so to speak, “clueless” about how banking really works.

    So while you may view it as useful, I see it as Internet pollution. Rather, the bloggers I read have either worked in finance extensively or have sufficient knowledge that one would actually hire the person to do a job. Matt Taibbi displays neither trait: he wouldn’t make it through the phone screen if he interviewed with a bank. And yet because he _can put a nifty-sounding sentence together, and can construct an argument, even if that argument is based on fantasy, he is given a disproportionate amount of credibility.

    THAT is the sad thing about blogging and the general ignorance of the public. Any fool can write something misguided and yet distract from the true, fact-based issues.

    TRB: Great points on the pollution aspect…haven’t really tackled that issue here at length yet…thx