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Credit Crunch Hype & Reality

The City

Reflecting today on the crunch and that somehow it doesn’t seem over, simply because we haven’t yet understood what happened. Chatting on the phone tonight with a pal Mark Fenton O’Creevy who related a story about the BBC seeking his input to a programme. They were attracted by his blog post “Has Robert Peston caused a recession?” It was an eye-catching headline but Mark’s concluding para was clear enough: “The media have an important role to play creating this future; they are not just disinterested bystanders. Whether they like it or not, journalists are not just reporting a financial crisis, they are performing it.”  Mark related how the BBC were disappointed that he didn’t have an ‘extreme’ position to take because they were hoping to set him up on TV with an equally vociferous commentator with the opposite view.  Mark’s point: the irony of trying to over-inflate an issue when that issue was itself about media over-inflation was lost on the BBC.  Maybe the BBC staffer had the wrong incentives?

Meanwhile had a visit from an ex-Lehman’s banker today who described at length the internal course of events before their collapse – essentially taking issue with what has been said in the media, for example by our very own Andrew Gowers.  My visitor’s final take though was an admission that any ex-Lehmans banker trying to defend the taking on and parcelling up of such a huge amount of toxic assets was like trying to “polish a t###”.

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