March 07, 2017
Sir, I refer to Tim Harford’s “Hard truths about fake news”, March 4.
Given the fact that juicy/irrelevant or fake news/stories are usually so much more “interesting” for readers (like Harford and I) than many real fact based news/stories, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg clearly faces a tremendous conflict on interests. That of course because Facebook makes most (if not perhaps all of its income) when its users (like Harford and I) click on the ads attracted by these juicy/fake stories/news.
But is Harford someone to discuss this matters as an outsider? He writes in the Financial Times, and one of the greatest true financial real horror stories/news ever, must be about how bank regulators could get it so wrong so as to in Basel II assign a tiny 20% risk weight for what is so dangerous for the banking system, the AAA rated, and a huge 150% risk weight to the totally innocuous below BB- rated. But, has FT picked up on that? No!
Because of some unexplained internal reasons FT knows best of, notwithstanding my soon 2.500 letters on subprime banking regulations, notwithstanding its motto of “without fear and without favour”, FT has kept mum on that story.
Sir, is not withholding truths, for any reasons of your own, just as fake as fake news pushed for commercial, political or any other reasons of its own?
PS. Harford writes: “as a loyal FT columnist, I need hardly point out that the perfect newspaper is the one you’re reading right now”. That is an interesting point, which begs the question: Is columnists’ loyalty to their own newspaper something crucial for good journalism or good newspapers?
PS. Harford writes: “Reading the same newspaper every day is a filter bubble too.” Oops, careful there Tim, you are entering into the very delicate theme of groupthink and intellectual incest.