It’s Twue, it’s Twue!

We are rapidly accelerating toward mid-term elections that will be described as the most important i

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  1. “But when we are reading financial news, it is imperative that we look at loaded words like “Wall Street’s favorite lawmaker” with Clear Eyes and Full Hearts.”

    The challenge is - as with noticing narratives - the better you get at it, the more it goes from being a cool “ah-ha” moment to a news version of tinnitus - a constant ringing of bells in your ears as you’ll see loaded words, narratives, subjective views, overdetermination and overconfidence - everywhere, all the time.

    As with everything other than kitchens in restaurants that I’m eating in, it’s better to be informed, aware, alert, but my God, especially in a time of Ben’s widening “political gyre,” it’s exhausting. Clear Eyes and Full Hearts and completely exhausted.

  2. To be fair to the article’s authors, they do spill a fair bit of ink on the positions and opinions of Rep. Luetkemeyer (anti-DoddFrank, anti-CFPB, etc.) that go some way to support their characterization of him a Wall St. ‘favorite.’ I’d argue the data (donors’ occupation) isn’t a causative indicator anyway. Donors who work in finance care about non-financial issues too, and may just as well base their support of him on those. I agree, therefore, that the headline veers into the realm of fiat news, but…

    According to the CRP website you reference (, Rep Luetkemeyer is in fact THE TOP recipient from the following industries in the 2017 - 2018 election cycle:
    Commercial Banks (#1)
    Finance/Credit (#1)
    Payday lenders (#1)
    And #3 for the Insurance industry

    Moreover, Rep. Luetkemeyer has virtually no donors outside the banking/finance/insurance sector, and virtually no “small donors” either. So, I’d say if we’re going to measure him by his donors’ industry of employment (a proxy I question), then I think it’s fair to call him a “favorite” of commercial banks, finance/credit companies and payday lenders. Whether that collection of industries merits the appellation “Wall Street” is a whole separate ball of semantic wax, but I can’t get too riled about that one. I’d call this pitch a strike.

  3. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Yeah, I don’t know if it’s a causative indicator either - frankly, I think people actually overstate the influence many donors have. But the authors chose it as the metric they’d use for their evaluations, and this is about them, not about the candidate.

    The argument that the ink spilled on policies merits the “Wall Street’s favorite” moniker is one I’d take even more issue with. That is a circumstantial claim, and exactly the kind of thing I’d argue that we should be very wary of when presented as the underpinning of a statement of fact.

    The question is not calling balls on strikes on “Does this guy seem to have a lot of connections to banking and finance.” Yeah, of course he does. He used to work in the industry, and seems to have a lot of buddies. He may be corrupt as all hell, for all I know. The question is whether journalists are comfortable confidently expressing judgments and opinions as facts, and if their intent to express those judgments causes them to make willful errors. You’d have a hard time convincing me that didn’t happen here.

  4. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    No doubt. I have to remind myself that much of the solution is to remember that it’s always OK to pull back from the table for a while, too.

  5. 10-4. I think we’re in agreement here. I have no prior knowledge of this candidate either, and I agree the use of over-broad terms like Wall St. as pejoratives or boogeymen promotes dangerously lazy thinking.

    Thank you, by the way, for ET and 2nd Fdn. It’s become one of my favorite reads. Keep up the good work!

  6. It truly is exhausting.

  7. Concerned my push back from the table is becoming outright withdrawal. Can’t imagine that would be constructive in the long term. Great example, however.

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