FAKE NEWS?!

In the 1960’s the Baby Boomer Generation started to become of age. For many, the free music concert in the summer of 1969, Woodstock, defined the generation. The “Pleasure Principle” began elevating over puritan ethics of work and community. Doing your own thing was more important than being a good citizen. A point of view at that time was driven by the work of Saul Alinsky in “Rules for Radicals” and Cloward & Piven in their article “The Weight of the Poor, a Strategy to End Poverty”. They put forth a political strategy that many in today’s alt-right media use as the basis of their conspiracy theory that the world is out to get President Trump. This strategy is simple, create a crisis from within the government that is supported by the media to change society. Friedrich Nietzsche stated, “there are no facts, only interpretations”. As investors, our job is to interpret the facts, and build portfolios. Easy to say, hard to do, in the new world of “fake news”. We must be agnostic politically.


Our job as investors is to read the tea leaves, and to use the emotional environment created by the media to identify opportunities for our clients. Given the increase in the political uncertainty around President Trump’s government, we have made the assumption that the Trump agenda will not be implemented immediately. The dysfunction within the Republican Party coupled with too many rookie mistakes by the Trump Team suggests that all the winning that was promised during the campaign might just be pushed off until early 2018.


We have also taken into consideration that the President seems to take a harder line in negotiations with America’s traditional allies. This is not good for Canada. Add to this the fact that commodities will at best trade sideways, and the risk that the economy has to make a correction in the real-estate market increasingly suggests storm clouds may be on the horizon for Canadian assets. Canadians for the most part are worldly citizens, yet we tend to invest in a provincial fashion, with most of our assets invested in Canada. In contrast, Americans tend to be much more provincial in their world view but they have no problem in having a large portion of their assets invested globally.


In the United States, they have reached a point where the question of “what is fake news?” is top of mind. Intolerance has reached a point where even free speech on University campuses is being questioned. The term liberty comes from the Latin word libertas, which means “unbounded, unrestricted or released from constraint”. The so called political left, or the liberals, seem to miss this point, which just adds fuel to the fire of the alt-right’s conspiracy theory put forth by internet news sites such as Breitbart or Infowars.


The current ongoing war in the journalism profession between old media (cable TV) and new media (the internet) highlights the power that fake news can have on investors’ physique and emotions.


As for the American Main Stream Media (MSM), a recent report from Harvard University does support the thesis that the MSM may be trying a touch to hard in questioning the President’s actions. This coverage may be clouding investors’ perceptions, and may generate opportunities in the future. All of this noise can’t be beneficial to anyone, but it can generate opportunities for those investors that can ignore the noise created by the civil war currently taking place in the media, for the minds of the U.S. and Global citizens.




Reference

Patterson, Thomas E. “News Coverage of Donald Trump’s First 100 Days.” Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy. Harvard Kennedy School, 18 May 2017. Web.

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