The Bad News Bears

By -

“if this guy owned a funeral parlor nobody would die!” – Gordon Gekko

A hurricane got me thinking about something that’s been kicking around in my head recently. Allow me to explain. As many of you know, ZeroHedge takes on a couple of different guises. When markets are falling, which happens from time to time, they focus on the markets and anticipate just how far they should fall (which invariably is much, much farther than they actually do fall). When markets are strong, like recently, ZeroHedge simply focuses on Any Kind Of Bad News, since the markets aren’t providing any.

Most recently, on Friday, ZH trotted out what was presented as the most tremendous hurricane in history that would unleash untold mayhem in North America. It was, in typical Tyler-speak, “Stunningly Catastrophic”:


After all these many years of reading ZH and seeing how their predictions turn out, you’ll forgive me if I was utterly unsurprised to see this headline on CNN the very next morning:


And that, my friends, in a nutshell, is all you need to know about the apocalyptic predictions offered over in Tylertown.

(a) dramatic, bombastic, end-of-the-world statements
(b) swiftly followed by a complete fizzling-out of whatever was predicted.

You could replace “Patricia the hurricane” with any number of other doom ‘n’ gloom prognostications from ZH. I wrote about this at length early in March in my Top Tick Tyler post (which you should read again, since it’s really good), in which some of the other nasty this-time-for-sure disasters were:

  • The Fukushima reactor;
  • The collapse of the BRICs economies;
  • The debt showdown in the summer of 2011;
  • The “Grexit”;
  • The collapsing macroeconomic data

None of which, naturally, yielded diddly.

I frankly think our friends in Gainesville are closer to the truth when they refer to social mood as the driver of the markets – – or, more particularly, my own mood. When I wrote Top Tick Tyler, I was utterly dejected and downhearted. It seems many Slopers were too, since some of them simply piled on, pointing out that Slope was just as bad as ZH in beating the bear drum all the time. Naturally, my own despondency and conviction that the markets would never go down again was met with the following (and I’ve put an arrow where Top Tick Tyler was published):


I’ve noticed an explosion in bull arrogance again on the blog, and my own sour mood suggests that we’re probably in the same position we were early in March. After all, with Japan, China, the U.S., and Europe all continuing to “ease” and “accommodate” without end, and with companies like GOOGL, AMZN, FB, and MSFT are making profits hand over fist, what chance do the bears have, eh?

I think Mattco did the most succinct job of capturing the ZH zeitgeist:


All I know is that if ZH had started in March 1995, like Slope did, it certainly would have written a lot of articles about the stuff that really did cause the financial crisis. The problem is that for every article that pointed out something which honestly did lead to the mayhem, there would have been ten other articles about situations that yielded absolutely nothing.

It’s separating the tidbits of wheat from the mountains of chaff that make our jobs as readers challenging. Let me be clear, I’m glad ZH exists, and I still hope one day they win a Pulitzer for some of their work. At the same time, just keep in mind that 95% of the bombast you read about over there is completely trumped-up and overblown and, like Patricia, will “quickly crumble” into irrelevance.