- By The Notorious CFP®
“People are sheep. TV is the shepherd.”
― Jess C. Scott, Literary Heroin (Gluttony): A Twilight Parody
By now, most of my clients are acutely aware of my love affair with MSM financial journalists (on par with politicians) as I consider absorbing modern news akin to consuming Mountain Dew in order to boost your energy level and satiate your appetite... yes, technically it's calories, but are you really improving your situation?
It's been my experience over the past two decades of tracking this kind of thing that online news outlets like The Atlantic, The Economist, Vox, HuffPo, Slate, Salon, Daily Kos, Mother Jones and Five Thirty Eight that proport to enlighten the population are primarily just shills for Big Tech and political activists with overfinanced journalism degrees passing off fiction as real news until they can find a better job - usually for the government or public service - or to push some political narrative. Few today would dispute this, evidence is plentiful and easy to comprehend if you're not in a cult.
Here's a free tip: Go to Apple News, Google or Facebook. If they are directing their users to any news outlet, you can assume that outlet is compromised (literally by the nature of the link). The user is the product, the news source is the real customer. You can also rest assured they lie to you, think you're an idiot and hate your guts.
If that is at least feasible to consider, then a.) congrats, you're a sentient human being and b.) you can being to understand the trye purpose of the transaction- and it's not for you to be informed. The machine is fueled by hate and outrage, it foments depression and the business model is disorientation and confusion. They want you to lose. Stoicism threatens them because it only spotlights their own internal conflicts. That's why they continue to obsess over events and politicians from many years in the past. They believe their mental illness is the fault of others, when really it's because of their parents. Or their 'schooling.' Or maybe drugs. And everyone knows exactly what I'm talking about, which is how you know it's true.
Fox is comedically absurd and fake, CNN is designed for imbeciles (like Tik Tok for adults) and MSNBC wants you to fail in life and die poor and miserable.
RULE #1: If you consume this trash specifically to live and trade against it, then you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams. If you're guilty of reading any of the above outlets - what amounts to nothing more than young adult fiction - in search of enlightenment and guidance, then at some point in the past (parents, school, trauma), it's likely your life went severely off track and will continue to be a failure if your illness is left untreated.
And please don't shoot the messenger. Simply ask yourself who is more likely to lie to you? Little ol' me? Or a chronically decaying media company that is literally laying off large percentages of it's workforce WEEKLY while clinging to financial life-support from a rich billionaire (who knows he is going to lose all of his money, but for some reason doesn't care??), as it feeds off the rotting corpse of a mental disorder masquerading as political ideology?
“Part of the newspaper business has been kept afloat, beyond underpaying its staff, by some form of private generosity and philanthropy. That will continue, but for non-business motives and for amplifying your voice... Washington is full of issues that affect Amazon and owning the Washington Post gives you soft power. Everybody knows it and understands it... It’s a complex recipe of prestige, ego, the history of the Post, the ways it can be leveraged culturally and politically.""
Yes, it's early and we're coming out swinging today. I aspire to someday wield the power of literary manipulation. But today is not that day. I shall leave it to the experts. Like Krugman, Cramer and Jerome Powell.
Let's establish the back story...
"Nearly every war has been the result of media lies." — Julian Assange
Information on both sides of the political divide is becoming so overtly biased and manipulative that it's honestly hard to watch and I suspect readers would be better off consuming nothing at all than what is currently being offered. Their spelling, grammar and vocabulary feel like a freshman term paper. Suffice to say that I'm not a fan and cannot for the life of me understand why people still watch news on their TVs in 2023. It's baffling, like do you drink water from your toilet as well? Are you being held hostage? If you are in danger, blink twice.
Even a cursory review every now and then, when I'm literally being held hostage myself (yes, when I'm visiting family! Guilty, guilty your honor!!), leaves me more confused and frustrated, (more) angry and (more) irritable and wondering if that's the purpose.
What I have come to learn is that CNN, MSNBC and other mainstream news outlets are almost ALWAYS wrong about almost everything almost all the time, but nowhere more than with investing and the financial markets. It's not that they're stupid... at least that's not the full explanation. It's because they're stupid and biased humans with an agenda. And like politicians, they rarely go much deeper than the surface for facts because a.) they are stupid (that's surely the most important revelation of COVID and the pandemic) and b.) the modern news cycle is cutthroat, brutal and rushed. And the offices of major media companies are not exactly filled with STEM graduates.
Perhaps you've picked up that legacy media's priority is no longer to get the story true, it's to get the story out, and as quickly as possible in order to accumulate the most views and clicks possible/ This pressure prevents them from fully utilizing logic, reason and accountability. (They'd also have to hire third parties to do that for them, which introduces additional inefficiencies.) Their
masters bosses in Washington DC and their advertisers in Silicon Valley also make being ethical and moral a challenge. (See, I can be P.C.!)
The media doesn't even seem that concerned about being factually accurate anymore. Which is convenient because most of them are journalism majors; even if they were truthful and thorough in their conveyance of fact, they would still be hampered by their lack of intelligence and an impossible dictate for them to act and report prudently and patiently. If they had it, they wouldn't be in journalism, they would have moved on to productive professions. That's why their influence on the culture has been so devastating the last few years and also why they're going out of business so fast. As far as I can ascertain, no one who is serious about understanding the world is watching cable financial news. It's all moved to blogs, podcasts and (gasp!) Twitter.
If you're still consuming news from a television, the good news is I think it's like smoking... if you stop now and switch to quality over (24-hour) quantity, in five years it will be like you were never retarded in the first place.
Ooh, I think I just heard some tummies ache. That's what we refer to in Mensa as enlightenment.
Here's a little hint: Retail investor and CNN sentiment is actually one of the most reliable contrarian indicators in existence. For the Aggies in the room, this means they accidentally tell you exactly what NOT to do. This is because - like many news sources today- what we consider a journalist in modern parlance is really code for an activist (the same phenomenon also exists at MSNBC and Fox). They are, by definition, the dumb money, because they are being told what to say by the smart money. Who likes money and wants to make more of it. And the only way to do that is to get you to sell when they're buying, and buy when they're selling. Do that compute? Does that seem plausible?
For instance, I obviously don't read MSNBC because a.) I'm literate, b.) grew up in a relatively healthy home environment with (almost) no abuse and c.) prefer to live in reality. But I happened to stumble upon a CNBC article last week (on accident, of course and regarding Trump, of course...) and was confronted by just how bad their business model has gotten.
Putting aside the overt (and frankly embarrassing) political slant, the grammar was atrocious and the general premise was surreal, like some anonymous incel screed off Reddit. I wondered, "Does this really pass as journalism today? Do people really read this garbage?" If so, it explains so much. If you know a MSNBC consumer or enthusiast, my advice is run.
As an example, these were their TOP stories of the day on the day I was researching this post. (Which has me wondering what were the less coherent stories?)...
This is a real top stories. From a real online news outlet. I don't care what your political dysfunction is, if this doesn't offend your intelligence, then your life is going to be hard.
If you have doubts about how bad MSNBC is, here's the link to the front page. I'm writing this in Summer 2022 and have no idea what it will say. But I'm going to go out on a very long limb and suspect that it's as mind-numbing to you on the day you're reading this. And $100 says there's at least one Trump or MAGA reference buried on the front page in order to dog-whistle to the lowest common denominator humans. Just call it a hunch.
Few are deluded enough to think that cable news hosts like Sean Hannity or Joy Reid are any more credible sources of objective journalism than say, your grandchildren, your pet or the cast of The View (in that order). We all know Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon were certified morons, we just had to wait for the universe to rotate a few rounds before even their bosses couldn't ignore the ratings. Soon the reaper will come for their doppelgangers at Fox News. Everyone knows from Russian and Chinese history that it's the most diehard zealots that are loaded on the train first.
If you're unfamiliar with The View, congratulations, you're one of the lucky ones. It's like The Jerry Springer Show for the 21st century. It's hosted by dangerously unhealthy, truly decrepit women- which is why you almost NEVER see pictures of them standing off by themselves. They're always overlapping because they sit too much and think too little. They are often wearing what amounts to very expensive moo moos and yell over each other about topics they know nothing about, but of which they still generally all agree on. their advertisers are drug companies, weight loss companies and adult diaper manufacturers. Which is terribly ironic.
Each season they type-cast a single token white women who is both conservative and vapid, and the entire episode devolves into verbally beating her like a pinata until she responds with something so stupid it deserves it's own video clip. The token white conservative serves as the evil Russian villain with the bad accent in 1980's action movies .. you always know how it's gonna' end, but if you were educated in a public facility you can't look away (I'm told). It's like watching a Hallmark movie, but instead of finding love in a small town, it's your brain cells dying a little each day, like you're Hunter Biden.
The show runs at 11 AM, when most of their audience is presumably just waking up, and is primarily programmed by powerful white men and geared largely (pun) towards bored, sad and unemployed women (much like most modern advertising and political campaigns). It's like the NFL, but for girls. While no one's wearing a jersey with another man's name on the back, it's no less cringe-worthy to witness in person (I'm told).
I probably forgot to mention that The View is also hand-downs the dumbest show on television, and that's a very low bar considering ESPN is still on the air. You will rarely find someone who has admitted to watching it, of course, unless you live in a nursing home where they hide the remote control. When I visit my elders and relatives in assisted care facilities mid-day, it's often on, it's somehow always too loud and I always think back to when CNN bankrupted themselves in order to torture travelers at airport gates, and then bragged about their ratings.
If you weren't already aware, CNN and Fox now exist largely as political action committees (PACs) masquerading as news channels. They live a double secret life as the PR departments of the two main political parties, by collecting advertising dollars from 'strategic partners' which are then laundered into salaries from zombies that generate free misinformation for each party. That money somehow misses small businesses like mine on the way back to the big advertisers in the from of favorable legislation. These are the same companies that also serve as big supporters of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in case you wondered who funds these organizations and why they exist. I don't know if that's still considered conspiracy theory yet, or has graduated to proven fact by now. All I know is I can't find Stevens Wealth Management anywhere on this distinguished list!!
That's one reason CNN is down to mere months left now, presumably because Pfizer's fantastic profits over the last few years no longer require them to market top sellers like Viagra, Xanax and Zoloft as heavily to CNN's largest demographics. Fox still seems to benefit from the gold distributors, though (and MyPillow.)
Pfizer's current revenue would make it the 62nd largest country in the world. That's $1.3M for each of its 83,000 employees... Man, I'd kill for those kind of numbers.
Anyways, back to The View, which as far as I can ascertain seems premised around Dante's 9 Circles of Hell, and it literally hurts your brain to watch it. But every once in a while, the firmware in the heaviest or most bitter member (they seem to rotate, like WWF bad guys) short-circuits, presumably from a toxic combination of cat litter and boxed wine and they threaten to go on sex strike if no one listens to them. Which seems like an odd strategy for these particular ladies... but hey, you gotta' cater to your most reliable demographic. I get it.
As it is with daytime TV for the unemployed, so it also seems for morning TV for the productive class as well. Each morning, the talking heads in political and financial news media rattle off off a teleprompter whatever agenda is linked at the hip with a delusional narrative of how their bosses think the world works from their million-dollar condos on the UWS. (Trust me, none of the people you see on TV are coming up with insights on their own, they're probably nice people but professionally they're mostly well-paid cattle. If you're parents let you major in radio/television/film (RTF), you would be similarly appreciative of any paycheck and similarly intellectually "malleable.") Not just anybody can graduate from Steven Spielberg's coffee girl to destroying a global conglomerate like Disney in a decade like Kathleen Kennedy.
The point to understand is that if you can understand and identify the underlying premise of The View (that is, to mentally debilitate it's audience like visual fentanyl), then it's not a leap to connect their business model to that across the rest of ABC's programming, which is to prevent you from being successful in life. Thus, if you are consuming any information through a television (vs. pure mindless entertainment), I am here to suggest that this just might be impacting your success in life, especially in the realm of investing.
My advice is to use your television for entertainment purposes only, accept and be comfortable knowing you are wasting your one and only life away, and will have to answer for that some day to your preferred deity (like others will have to explain their social media usage and consumption of professional sports). One should also consider anything emanating out of the flat screens in their life as young adult fiction for a culture of grown children, and enjoy it like a Coca-Cola- temporarily stimulating but ultimately injurious long-term if it becomes a habit.
Or you could just turn off your TV and chose to become successful instead? Just a kooky theory I'm working on right now...
Some people bristle at my honesty and hyperbolic nature. They don't realize each of my posts takes over 50 hours to write. And I delete 95% of my original content, to avoid being swatted.
And for God's sake, if you are watching any television during normal business hours, please stop. Smash your TV. Your family and country deserve better. We need more productive citizens and less zombies slurping down something not only lacking in substance but actually counter-productive to their lives.
Besides, it's 2022... No serious person is getting their news from the television anymore, it would be like paying for cable television. Cable news is like shot-gunning Coca-Cola all day long every day, and wondering why you're overweight, with bad skin, lonely and no one likes you. There are so many other productive and personally beneficial activities one could engage in, why would you waste your life being lied to and misled? If you want to be brain-damaged, just save yourself some time and vacation in downtown Houston this weekend.
Some of you still are offended, disoriented, and caught up on something I've said that hurt your feelings. I get it. But you still aren't convinced. Don't worry, I've already thought of that, and I'm prepared...
If you don't believe how bad it is out there in the modern media, and how corrosive TV channels with acronyms and newspapers with city and states in the title are to your intelligence, don't despair! Cuz' I'm here to share with you a few articles that I've been collecting over the last few years on the "clear ad present danger" of racism in my beloved cycling community, ones that you've probably never even thought about because you have a brain.
I had no idea I was condoning such evil with my weekend warrior MAMIL (middle-aged men in lycra) pedaling. I just thought I was benefitting from the exercise, sun and fresh air. I have since discovered that - like everything I do - I was propping up the patriarchy and failing to be sufficiently anti-racist.
At what point does the government get involved in this oppression, or when does this becomes a key component of someone's campaign platform?
It always seems odd to me that you never see minorities at racial justice protests. Just unhealthy white people. How do you think these folks would react to "a stock market drop that hurts primarily minority investors?" Why is no one talking about this???
I know, I know. You had no idea how bad it had gotten. You've traveled overseas a couple times in the last year and so are qualified to opine on oppression, racial and sexual justice. You thought that just being born in this country put every single American ahead of 99% of living humans, and an exponentially higher percentage of all humans that had ever walked the earth. That's how I was too.
But it gets better.
To top it off, at the intersection of universities and social justice, I'm just learning that not only are bikes racist, but my entire "swim-bike-run" triathlon lifestyle has been perpetuating bigotry. Up until now, I just assumed my enjoyment was primarily the cause of insufficient interaction with girls and unresolved issues with my father. Both of which are understandable since I live in Kerrville and there's like five black people living in our entire county. We have almost less diversity than Africa, Asia and at least four other continents. (Reading from prepared mea culpa).. I now realize that this is why it's so uncomfortable for me to swim train for hours on Friday nights, when the empty pool has been serving only to reinforce the social constructs that perpetuates all this white privilege and requires me to re-examine how I will protect minority swimmers under the age of 29 this summer...
- Do you see it?
- Are you now dumber because of these headlines?
- Are you starting to see the code in the matrix, and the connection between mainstream media and cultural disintegration?
- Do you have any ideas how to dismember both?
- Do you think these stories come from a place of genuine concern? Or a general disgust of their reader's intelligence?
Hint: It's all fiction. Not some. Not most. ALL. 100% nonsense. Usually nothing more than fantastically invented narratives conjured up in one's (self-loathing) head, approved by (malicious, desperate) editors and then brought into "reality" through (corporate-owned) mainstream news outlets. I pick on the racism inherently and obviously designed into bikes and swimming pools by the KKK to make a point that we all must recognize it's all inherently stupid. (Translation: You are not crazy.) This untruth is pervasive in almost all modern news outlet in almost every topic today. One must assume it's all misinformation and misdirection... meant only to confuse, upset and engage. All of it.
This is the level of intellect that our colleges are producing. Get your kids out of any non-STEM public education today. If you're cosigned a loan on a liberal arts degree, now is the time to repent. The life you save might be your own.
You get the idea. When a culture becomes so fat, happy, lazy, dumb, entitled, rich and bored, that they have no real problems; they seemed perpetually compelled to create their own perceived problems (and always with others, never themselves or their lazy parents). They therefore travel down a path that eventually leads them to become unwitting, gullible prey for an industry called news media that is built up around their weaknesses. Hence, the media is an expensive solution looking for a profitable problem. And when it can't find a real problem, it invents them or amplifies the delusions of the weak and the stupid. And if there is one thing America has in abundance, it's stupidity. If you don't believe me, drive around my town for a day.
What does this have to do with investing?
The hell if I know.
What I do know, however, is that in order to be successful with money and finance, you have to first reject "racism in cycling." I'm being serious for once. That advice may initially seem a bit trite and farcical, especially after the last twenty minutes of your life wasted (forty if you went to Texas Tech). But there's truth in my madness.
It's not enough to simply stop at the most absurd and obvious headlines, that's amateur hour with The View audience. You have to condition your brain (and your emotions) to inherently assume the truth is the opposite of everything you read from legacy media. Following along a constant theme that I continue to
bludgeon reinforce, you must not only ignore the news, but trade against it. When you behave contrary to the existing prevailing narrative, you both a.) align yourself with truth and b.) move contrary to the consensus. Which can only lead you to salvation. Which in the investing world often looks a lot like financial success.
You must not only ignore the news, but trade against it. When you behave contrary to the existing prevailing narratives, you both align yourself with truth and move contrary to the consensus. Which can only lead you to salvation. Which in the investing world often looks a lot like financial success.
For instance, when media is promoting either fear or greed (they prefer the former but will settle for the latter in a pinch), investors would behoove themselves immensely by assuming that truth is the opposite of whatever outrage drug they are pedaling or spin they are spinning. You have to tell yourself, "I know the media hates me, they don't respect me, they think I'm stupid, they want me to fail, and this is the best headline three Ivy League journalism majors could devise in twenty minutes in order to accomplish this objective."
For instance, what do you make of CNN's current agenda below and at this link? What would be an contrarian response to this 'information?'
How can the markets be up 1-2% on the same day investors are manifesting "Extreme Fear?" It's ponderous, man.
Who do you trust more for your financial news, Warren Buffett or Brian Stelter? Who would you invest your money with? For that matter, who would you let into your house?
The media's self-destruction is a self-perpetuating cycle, one they happily (and desperately) extend to their audience, like a friend who smokes cigarettes. Or crack. But a gradual slide to ideological stupidity doesn't have to be your journey nor destiny. You can choose to not only ignore them, you can both live your life and trade investments against them. And you can win at the game of investing. All it takes is a little bit of cynicism, and a willingness to let go of your b.s. political ideology that you're probably going to abandon someday anyways when your pension fails.
Did I write this post simply to make fun of The View? To rant about media? To troll you and hurt your feelings? No way José!.. that's a half truth!
My goal is simply to point out that if and when you consume news, you should immediately assume it's lies backed by misleading statistics meant to mislead you. Cuz' there' no money in truth anymore (unless you work with Stevens Wealth Management, of course... call to make an appointment today!)
But there's more.... To be a successful investor, you then must always ask yourself, a.) what is the underlying narrative? b.) what would be the opposite of this information?, c.) what would I have to believe for this news to be all or mostly false?, c.) who stands to gain from this narrative?, and d.) do they have a proven track record of making me rich?
When you can approach and respond to news from Fox, CNN, MSDNC, and all the other dying and desperate legacy outlets (again, acronyms for the TV, city/states in the newspaper, the ones that are laying off in droves this year...), then you will know the truth. Or at least a version of it that's closer than what the headline perpetuates.
And the truth shall set you free (to crush the market).
Unlike Snopes, I rate this post as Mostly True.
Disclosure: If you disagree or object to this content, please submit your response in 500 words or more to firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to publish your opinion here, even if it disagrees with mine!