Quote of the day, July 14 2011 — Why I get a lot of my news out of financial publications

‘Outside of the financial markets, there’s very little penalty for having false information. Whereas in the financial universe, the punishment for false information is severe and irrevocable: you lose all your money. Good information matters and bad information is dangerous. So when a politician or political journalist asserts anything it’s always a good idea to check the asset prices that would be affected. “Oh my God, we’re going to default on our debt? That must mean America’s ten-year bond must be out of whack!” Oh it’s not? Then I guess they’re full of [it].’

– Dylan Ratigan, quoted in John Hudson’s article “Dylan Ratigan: What I Read“, July 12 2011, The Atlantic Wire. (some profanities in the original article)

With a hat tip to Zero Hedge who put it up as a guest post a couple days ago.

I’d never heard of Dylan Ratigan until I read this article. But based on his article, I might start looking more into what he says. He seems pretty straightforward.

Another interesting excerpt from that same article:

‘One of my great frustrations with working in cable news is that the entire cable news infrastructure has been branded through partisan political lenses and so people assume that if you’re on MSNBC you’re left and if you’re on Fox News you’re right. There’s no question that I’m painted as left because of the network I’m on. The branding precedes the talent in cable networking. Since when is it my job to be a Democrat or Republican? I recognize that both political parties are bought by six industries: energy, banking, health care, defense, agribusiness and communications.’

There’s a lot I could say about that quote, but I’ll just leave it as is and say this much shorter piece instead: it’s nice to see someone come right out & say that they don’t view their political affiliation as being relevant to their job as a financial commentator. Does Ratigan probably have his own notions of how things should & shouldn’t work? Yeah, he almost certainly does, that’s part of being human. Could a person take parts of his worldview & use those to argue that he is of a certain philosophical persuasion? Yeah, they almost certainly could.

But political party affiliation doesn’t determine your philosophical standpoint — or how you go about deciding what your standpoint is. I’ve met people who were loony conspiracy theorists who couldn’t seem to reason their way out of a paper bag when pressed to defend their theories. I’ve met people who were autocratic dictators in a conversation, their word was the way the world was and if you didn’t agree with them in the facts you were ignorant or misinformed & if you didn’t agree with them in the interpretation of those facts you were a moron or heartless. I’ve met people who were startlingly ignorant of the most basic facts about how the different branches of government work internally and are supposed to work together, and what are the dividing lines between public & private life when it comes to what the law does and does not (and in some cases cannot) regulate. And I’ve also met people who had read up on the issues that concerned them, had read multiple different sources and considered different viewpoints, and could rationally & politely explain their viewpoint on an issue and were genuinely interested in hearing another person’s viewpoint & reasoning on the same topic.

And I’ve found absolutely no correlation between the various modes of interacting I’ve described above and whether a person is a Democrat or Republican.

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