My friend Herb Greenberg and I had it (amicably) out on-air today about the bearish blogosphere (with a drive-by from Dennis Kneale and a doomed attempt at refereeing by CNBC’s Sue Herrera).
Here is more or less how it went down, albeit with some, ahem, highly creative and totally self-serving paraphrasing from me:
Sue: Paul, why do you have it in for Herb?
Paul: Herb is a sweet fellow, and a great spotter of broken companies, but the blogosphere demonstrably skews bearish, and Herb is emblematic of that behavior.
Herb: Wait! Warnings! Doom! Danger! Things fall from the sky!
Paul: Sentiment surveys show bloggers skew more negative than “normal” people. Traffic to financial blogs spikes during market troughs, turning them into contrarian echo chambers for the financially disaffected.
Herb: Bearishness is good! I
had Coke as a buywas briefly bullish five years ago!
Paul: Being over-early on calls, whether bearish or bullish, is indistinguishable from being wrong. The trouble with being largely bearish — like being perma-bullish — is you’re forced to pretend the short-term doesn’t matter. For people with finite life-spans, it does.
Dennis: Forbes 400! Forbes 400!
Sue: The Internet and blogs are full of noise!
Paul: [And this is my favorite wise-ass remark of the day] Unlike live TV, of course.
Sue: Okay, thanks everyone!
The end. I may have missed some parts, and I can’t guarantee the quotes are exactly accurate, but you know … I am working for artistic effect here