My friend at WaMu told me that, when they reached crisis point, just before JP Morgan picked them up for a song, the internet bloggers, media and chatroom pundits made it ten times worse.
Certainly, the connected world means that news travels fast, both good and bad news, so it intrigued me to pick up a
report that Robert Peston of the BBC is being blamed for leaking all the news about this crisis and making it worse. Apparently, Robert airs the news that the UK Government, City and Banking fraternity were trying to keep secret, such as the Bailout Plan from Gordon Brown this week, or the HBOS/LloydsTSB merger.
Certainly, he’s out there getting ‘exclusives’ before everyone else, but does he make this crisis worse? Can he be blamed for fuelling the flames?
Reading the comments under the Daily Mail’s article to see what Joe and Jane Public are saying gives you a view:
"Don’t shoot the messenger", Ron, New Zealand
"All these reports are self-fulfilling. The media needs to keep its trap SHUT!!!!!" Steve, USA
"If the City and the Government actually communicated with and informed the public there would be no role for Robert." Paul, England
"Come on you can’t honestly blame him for this pile of rubbish we’re in. Really?" Marty, America
"This is a ridiculous suggestion. The alternative is that these meetings
that impact on us all are held in secret. It is important that we all
know what is going on. It is the only thing that keeps them barely
honest!" Lauren, England
"Such reporting will, I am sure, ruffle a few feathers but are none the
less very helpful in understanding the situation so much better." Wolfman, England
"The guy is clearly a closet short-seller. Sells before he reports, and
buys back after when it’s all plunged by 40%, pocketing the difference!
Genius." Joolz, England
… and many more.
So, is this crisis made better or worse by the media, bloggers and pundits?
Well, at the very least, it explains why Gordon Brown’s
billion come from, as the whole plan was unveiled far earlier than it should have been.
And how does Peston get such an inside track? Well, according to
report, he’s got more of an inside track than anyone when it comes to Governmental matters, thanks to his mate John Kingman, the Treasury’s Second Permanent Secretary.
For example, during the Northern Rock negotiations, where Richard Branson’s Virgin Group were trying to take over, it was apparent that Kingman gave more credence to Peston than to Sir Richard, who wrote: "John Kingman, the civil service powerbroker in
the Treasury charged with running the show, actually told our team that
in any decision made, the Government would have to take account of the
view of Robert Peston, the BBC’s business editor."
Now there’s power for you.