Naked Capitalism: Countering the Spin of the Mainstream Media

By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.

This is one of my favorite posts to write each year. It’s my annual chance to thank the Naked Capitalism community for what you give to me.

I’ve said it before. But I can say it differently and maybe, a bit better this year. So here goes.

Here at Naked Capitalism, Yves and Lambert have fostered a vibrant critically thinking, supportive community..

Please visit and drop some money into the Tip Jar, which is to the right, to keep It going.

I want to thank that community for what you give to me.

You have made me a far better writer since I have been contributing to Naked Capitalism.

Let me count the ways!

You keep me sharp and at the top of my game by pointing out, at the trivial level, typos and awkward prose, and more seriously, oversights, omissions, and errors, providing a chance to admit and correct my mistakes. I can’t promise I get it completely right out of the gate, but with your help, I can immediately improve and if necessary correct my original thoughts.

You keep me company, as writing is a solitary gig and I am not a solitary personality. As my friends and family well know, I am anything but! It’s important to me that someone, somewhere is paying attention to my thoughts and I am not just whistling in the wind. That I have a constant audience and some of you through your comments have made yourselves known to me means I have someone concrete to write for and to. And that at least for this writer, is very important.

You keep me inspired, as via your comments on my posts, you suggest new themes and arguments. And just as crucially, you let me know which ones simply do not fly. Rather than rejecting your criticisms out of hand, I consider them, and when I conclude you’re right, I incorporate the corrections into my subsequent work and thinking.

The Naked Capitalism commentariat is the best commentariat, and you often think of things that simply haven’t occurred  to me. Together, we create better subsequent posts. And I thank you for spurring me on to create better work. Future posts can be better than past.

There are multiple ways to give to Naked Capitalism. The first is here on the blog, the Tip Jar, which takes you to PayPal. You can use a debit card, a credit card or a PayPal account (the charge will be in the name of Aurora Advisors).

You can also send a check (or multiple post-dated checks) in the name of “Aurora Advisors Incorporated” to:

Aurora Advisors Incorporated
164 Peachtree Circle
Mountain Brook, AL 35213

If you send a check, please also send an e-mail to yves@nakedcapitalism.com with the headline “Check is in the mail” to let her know it’s coming and to have your contribution included in the total number of donations.

Donate now to Naked Capitalism, whether it’s $5, $50, or $5000. If you can’t afford much, give what you can. If you can afford more, give more. If you can give a lot, give a lot. It will pay for itself, I guarantee you.

Help Us to Explore Topics that the Mainstream Media Doesn’t

That’s what you’ve done for me in the past year. Now I ask you to contribute so that we can keep on raising hell in the future. IIRC, there was a past fundraising post on how if you’re not paying for your content, rest assured someone is. paying for the spin that you instead read.

Not here. So onto my second theme.

I won’t purport to speak for either Yves or Lambert. They can do a far better job than I can in expressing these points themselves. Except to say: Yves will continue to cover the CalPERS beat. As well as explore the seamy, self-interested side of finance, economics, and politics.

Expect Lambert to continue to write about the election, what the two mainstream patrties are up to, and especially how both sides are trying to manipulate – or outright steal – the results, by means both far and foul. As well as to bring you the latest news on science and COVID-19, and news about of the biosphere.

As for me, I will continue to hammer the point that both Big Pharma and Big Tech have agendas as to what anti-COVID-19 policies are pursued. We here at Naked Capitalism don’t subscribe to them, but seek to illuminate them, and subvert them as self-interested responses that oftentimes will do more harm than good.

In the U.S. in particular, we need to hear what other places are doing that works. Hong Kong, Thailand, and Vietnam – places I know a bit about- are all doing better jobs, much better than the EU average, not to mention the pathetic performance of the United States. Likewise for Taiwan, Korea, China, New Zealand, and other places. There are particular cities as well that have had better responses, and I will seek out what they are doing, and write about it.

Because we all know that not only the U.S., but also the UK, needs all the help it can get, and the responses and policies of places showing some success should be more widely and deeply known.

The mainstream media is not looking at why this is so, but continues to push agendas and messages of Big Pharma and Big Tech.

Rest assured, we’ll continue to tell you why contact tracing via app doesn’t work – supported by the expertise of Ignacio. As he emailed me recently, when presented with the following Guardian clip about the failure of the UK’s contact tracing app (which joins the Indian app, and numerous other similar tech-driven solutions on the dustheap of failed techno fixes). Over to Ignacio:

An app to do massive contract tracing is equal to laziness or unwillingness to do the right thing. But you know contracting people to do the good work is not in the neolib agenda. Importantly, it was expected to fail, so it is a failure by design.

Big Phama wants you to believe that we’ll soon have a vaccine, and that what they’ve created will work, out of the box, without serious side effects. But we have no assurance that the vaccines they are promoting in the U.S. and UK are more efficacious than those being pushed by India, Russia, China, and other places.

A COVID-slayer vaccine can come from anywhere, and will not necessarily be a Big Pharma option. Although rest assured, if that proves to be effective, and the best bet, I won’t let its provenance deter me from accepting it. May the best solution win!

Yet as someone who has written much over the last decade or so about the evolution of Indian pharmaceuticals and the country’s pharma diplomacy, I hope I am open-minded enough to consider a range of possible solutions that may not necessarily be Big Pharma options.

The only drug solutions Big Pharma and its acolytes are seriously promoting are expensive new drugs, which are under patent protection. There are numerous other approaches, however, for which Big Pharma is muddying the waters, turning scientific matters into issues of politics. Such as the use of hydroxychloroquince (HCQ) , or the importance of supplementation by vitamins C and D and zinc.

These are not easy issues, but Big Pharma has made them more complicated to understand. Should I personally take HCQ? Should you?

Well using the critical thinking skills that Naked Capitalism  has been so good at honing. I say no, at least with respect to me, as every HCQ pill I take comes out of the mouth of someone who needs it for an ailment where it has been proven to work. I asked my friend, Dr. Sarah Borwein, who as regular readers know practices medicine in Hong Kong. and has experience dating back to the SARS epidemic in Beijing. And she told me their Hong Kong infectious disease specialists are counselling no. So I’ve decided no.

Why should you care? Well, only 105 patients have died in Hong Kong. In a densely populated city of 7 million. No typo that. So I think they know something there about treating and preventing the spread of the COVID-19 infection. And they are not recommending use of HCQ at this time.

Isn’t that something you want to know? Now you do! Mind you, I am not claiming they are right. Only telling you what I have personally concluded. That, my friends, is what is meant by critical thinking.

Beyond trying to debunk the spin of Big Tech and Big Pharma, I intend to continue to ply my regular beats: fast fashion and sustainability; the right to repair, plastics, and the war on waste; significant legal and regulatory developments; and finally, the looming specter of food insecurity, which to date is not getting all the attention I fear it should be receiving. But we have been covering this issue here and will continue to do so.

I hope you’ll dig deep so that NC’s writers can continue to explore and seek out truth, without fear or favour. Allow me another request: if you have not done so already, please visit and drop some money into the Tip Jar, which is to the right, so we can keep the lights on here.

Thanks for paying attention and reading to the end!

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5 comments

  1. Steven Kurtz

    I rarely comment here. J-L, your pieces are usually quite worthwhile, and I thank you for your efforts. I gave up writing (never did much anyway) around 15 years ago at age 60. It takes a lot of time and effort, especially if it is a sideline. Mine was all pro-bono.

    One was about misconceptions re currency and commodity market impacts on the environment, which surprising to most, is far less than that of industrial throughput, high tech, and transport. If Yves wants to see it, despite it being 20 yrs old, please email me.

    Others pieces include a book review (2003) of _Our Final Century_ by Sir Martin Rees for the UK journal Futures, and one (2000) on Reg Morrison’s _The Spirit in the Gene_ (reissued in paper as Plague Species, Is it in our Genes) for The Innovation Journal. Overpopulation has been my primary focus for 3+ decades, and a paper given in 2000 To The World Congress of the System Sciences was re-published at Countercurrents in 2011.

    I was happy to make a small donation a week or so ago. This site is worth supporting. I can’t see living in Alabama, though, as it gets warm enough in N. Amherst MA, and we get to x-c ski in winter. ;-)

    Reply
  2. freebird

    We are in a frightening time in the US, because people are increasingly manipulated by a concentrated mass media taking its orders from the Powers That Be. It used to be a wry Will Rogers joke that the rich got a better deal, but now, they own ALL the levers of power. And the only thing keeping them in check was the ‘Fourth Estate’, which is now a rotten gutted shell full of giant media empires which gives the same weight to Jerry Springer as the evening ‘news’, anchored by 1% spokesmodels whom a gullible public still thinks are on their side. The result is we have literally become a nation too ignorant to govern itself.

    I’m happy to make my first contribution today to NC. But, NC is a news aggregator, with few exceptions like CalPERS, not a news generator. I hope it can do more in the future if we get behind it more and more.

    But I would really like to be making regular contributions to an array of news generators and investigative reporters. I’m an ordinary person, I cannot fund 20 or 50 subscriptions to various alternative news sites, I wish I could. I hope that the next crucial years will bring something new to the blogosphere/media circus. We need a large, deep-pocketed organized pool of funds that can distribute big bucks to a new alternative media that is free from the ‘powers that be’. Call it a syndicate, call it a consortium. But, we can have all the movements and 3rd parties and primary challenges on earth. Without a strong free media that starts to replace the old dead avaricious one, nothing is going to change. (We also need some well-funded legal challenges to this electoral and monopolistic and just corrupt mess we are in, but the free media is absolutely necessary).

    Reply
    1. John Zelnicker

      @freebird
      October 1, 2020 at 7:32 pm
      ——-

      I, too, wish I could support a whole bunch of alternative news sites. Maybe one of these days.

      However, there are three bloggers who use a subscription model that I highly recommend. They are Matt Taibbi, Matt Stoller, and David Sirota. All of them are on Substack and charge $5/month or $50/year. They have all been featured on NC in the past. In fact, it was NC that introduced me to the Matts.

      Others you might want to consider if their focus appeals to you are Nathan Tankus and Yasha Levine, both also on Substack with the same subscription prices.

      All of these investigative journalists have free newsletters that provide tons of information and insights. I suggest folks try before they buy if they aren’t already familiar with these writers.

      Reply
    2. Yves Smith

      Thanks for your support, but I believe you are considerably understating our current level of original reporting, particularly given that we have under two full time equivalent writers.

      Every time we analyze a legal decision, that is original reporting. Ditto writing up and analyzing research (which we have done both on important economics and Covid papers).

      All of Hubert Horan’s pieces are original reporting. Jerri-Lynn’s work on contact tracing in Hong Kong is original reporting. Many of our posts on private equity are original reporting.

      Reply
      1. freebird

        I’m sorry. I certainly wasn’t trying to understate what you all do, I think it is wonderful. I thought this was a safe place to bring up a good concept, but I guess not.

        Unfortunately, most of the people I meet are still getting their news from the mass media, and so they are misled. Unfortunately they vote, and they vote to tolerate bad government and society. So here we are, and here we will stay, despite the best efforts of many small organizations, until there is some major power shift in the media.

        Reply

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