Post of the Day
March 02, 1998

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Subject:Re: AVEI (long)
Author: FantiniFA

Nick,

I finally read the ROUGE article you referenced on the WSJ's reporting as regards MF and other message boards. As as a career newspaper person, I can say with confidence that it accurately sums up the limitations faced by the press.

The article describes how reporters are almost forced by their imperatives to set up stock analysts as experts. We see the same phenomenon in governmental and political reporting, where reporters turn to paid flaks -- whether they be press secretaries, local planners or administrators or lobbyists -- rather than the newsmakers themselves, and often at the design of the newsmakers, such as a government official who doesn't want to be put into the position of having to answer a tough or direct question on a controversial matter.

It's a fact of life that daily journalism has its limitations that it usually escapes only in investigative stories, series, and the op-ed pages. This is not to criticize the daily press. I think the daily newspaper is still the daily miracle and it performs an essential role in our society writing history on the fly.

But it is true that the Internet has created a new outlet in which unfettered discussion -- thoughtful discussion, chatter and self-serving or infantile hype -- are all a part. And the reader beware in this free exchange. And the reader probably does beware with an understanding commensurate with his/her ability to communicate. That is, a naive person apt to have posts that read something like " Gooo X-stock!!!" is probably the most likely person to fall for someone else's comparable posts. The person who offers information and thoughtful analysis is likely the person who scrolls right past the "Gooo X-stock!!!!" posts and evaluates information offered by others.

That may seem scary to some, who think the naive can be led to naive investment decisions. But it's the way of life, with or without the Internet. Even without a computer, the naive person is likely to fall for a quick-talking stockbroker from an obscure house drumming up commissions on a penney stock, or to fall for a neighbor's or friend's tout that, itself is naive.

I think those of us best able to evaluate and discriminate the information we read on the MF message boards make very good use of information previously not available. And as we know in the case of SLOT, you and Iveystone and Brigam and others go into the field and count machines and record activity and report trends in both, giving us information not available from virtually any analyst or any news story.

Finally, a number of us have met each other in person now and have begun building conventional relationships and even friendships, so that our mutual enrichment as investors is becoming a mutual enrichment as human beings. As much as I love newspapers, I don't think that's the case there very often.

Regards,

FrankF


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