March 23, 2017

Why would today’s journalist be more capable than others of teaching our children to spot and root out fake news?

Everyone who know something about banking, and bankers, would know that what is perceived as risky never poses the same dangers to the banking system as what is ex ante believed as very safe but the ex post turns out to be risky. Even 17th century’s Voltaire, with his “May God defend me from my friends, I can defend myself from my enemies”, would understand that.

But the pillar of something as important as bank regulation, the risk weighted capital requirements for banks, is currently based on some fake news, fake input, namely on the fake theory that what is perceived as safe is safe for the banks, while what is perceived as risky, and which is therefore in reality quite innocuous, is what poses the real dangers to the banking system.

Sir, on this monstrous regulatory mistake; one with disastrous implications for the so vital allocation of credit to the real economy, I have written you and your journalists about 2.5 k letters over the last decade… but you have decided to ignore these.

That is why I do not feel too optimistic about it all when Roula Khalaf reports that “journalists from Le Monde, the French daily that has developed a readers’ tool to weed out fake news [have] started volunteering at schools, teaching teenagers how to distinguish between responsible journalism and fabricated news” “Journalists enter the classroom to root out fake news in France” March 23.

Khalaf also writes that Tom Boll, an instructor at Syracuse University’s Newhouse school of journalism “argues that a literacy effort that warns against falling for fake news should become part of a civics course and every citizen should take it.”

Sir, FT’s lack of response could be a very valuable case study in those civic courses. That because failing to denounce fake news, is just as bad as propagating these.