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ISBN:0684868792
Author: Howard Kurtz
ISBN13: 978-0684868790
Title: The Fortune Tellers: Inside Wall Street's Game of Money, Media, and Manipulation
Format: lrf txt azw lit
ePUB size: 1983 kb
FB2 size: 1738 kb
DJVU size: 1942 kb
Language: English
Category: Economics
Publisher: Free Press; 1st edition (September 2000)
Pages: 352

The Fortune Tellers: Inside Wall Street's Game of Money, Media, and Manipulation by Howard Kurtz



Howard Kurtz, widely recognized as America's best media reporter, and the man who revealed the inner workings of the Clinton administration's press operation in the national bestseller Spin Cycle, here turns his skeptical eye on the business-media revolution that has transformed the American economy.

Library of Congress Control Number: 00042190. International Standard Book Number (ISBN): 0684868792 (h. :, . 0. Personal Name: Kurtz, Howard, 1953-. Publication, Distribution, et. New York. Physical Description: xxiii, 326 p. ;, 24 cm. Bibliography, etc. Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 310-315) and index.

He is also host of CNN's Reliable Sources, the longest-running media criticism show on television. It's a book about the most prominent segment of the financial media and its ambiguous relationship with the business world it covers, specifically between 1998 & early 2000. A timely and important topic if there ever is one, which can certainly use a hard-hitting piece of journalism. Wall St analysts do not fare well in this book. Kurtz is probably not familiar with the esoteric world of finance and he did not discuss the analysts in any depth. His lack of familiarity also leads him to harp on certain trivial issues such as "whispered numbers" et. Nonetheless, yesterday's golden boys and girls such as Blodget and Meeker looked downright foolish in retrospect.

The Fortune Tellers book.

He offers up a brief history of financial news reporting, and he profiles some of the more colorful and controversial figures in the field. Much of what Kurtz exposes should serve as a warning to information-hungry investors who are often too quick to follow publicity bandwagons. Sponsored High Speed Downloads.

As Washington Post media reporter Kurtz deftly shows in this incisive expos?, the hosts of financial shows on such networks as CNN and CNBC, as well as certain online and print reporters, can quot;move marketsquot; the way only analysts were able to do in years past. This trend has led to a growing interdependence between journalists, brokers and analysts. While Kurtz concludes with the predictable observation that Wall Street is a crazy, greedy, morally ambiguous place, his first-rate analysis of the interplay between the media and American financial institutions more than justifies the point.

Inside Wall Street's Game of Money, Media and Manipulation. eBook Abridged Audio Download. Chapter One: The King of all Media. It was the worst day of Jim Cramer's life.

Howard Kurtz, author of Spin Cycle, the national bestseller regarding Clinton's administration press operations, takes a close look at America's economy as presented by the media. Who can be trusted in this race-against-time world for business advice? In Kurtz's book he follows several influential and well-known people in the business and journalism industry to find out what's what who's who in this industry.

Just as "spin" has taken over politics in America, so too has it come to define the long bull market on Wall Street. The booming trade in stocks, which has become a national obsession, has produced an insatiable demand for financial intelligence--and plenty of new, highly paid players eager to supply it. On television and the Internet, commentators and analysts are not merely reporting the news, they are making news in ways that provide huge windfalls for some investors and crushing losses for others. And they often traffic in rumor, speculation, and misinformation that hit the market at warp speed. Howard Kurtz, widely recognized as America's best media reporter, and the man who revealed the inner workings of the Clinton administration's press operation in the national bestseller Spin Cycle, here turns his skeptical eye on the business-media revolution that has transformed the American economy. He uncovers the backstage pressures at television shows like CNBC's Squawk Box and CNN's Moneyline; at old-media bastions like The Wall Street Journal and Business Week, which are racing to keep up with the twenty-four-hour news cycle; and at Internet start-ups like TheStreet.com and JagNotes, real-time operations in the very arena where fortunes are made and lost with stunning swiftness. Bombarded by all this white noise, who among the fortune tellers can investors really trust? Kurtz provides an indispensable guide with this eye-opening account of an unseen world, based on eighteen months of shadowing the most influential, colorful, and egotistical people in business and journalism. Among the people we meet in its pages are: Ron Insana, Maria Bartiromo, David Faber, Lou Dobbs, and the other famous faces of cable TV The manic king-of-all-media Jim Cramer, who juggles four different identities--Wall Street trader, television commentator, columnist, and Internet entrepreneur --with wildly varying degrees of success Shoe-leather reporters Steve Lipin, Chris Byron, and Gene Marcial, whose exclusives drive up stocks or quickly deflate them Superstar analysts Ralph Acampora, Abby Joseph Cohen, and Henry Blodget, whose predictions make the Dow and Nasdaq gyrate Internet CEOs Kim Polese and Kevin O'Connor, who struggle to ride the media tiger while promoting their high-flying companies No one has ever reported from inside the Wall Street media machine or laid bare the bitter feuds, cozy friendships, and whispered leaks that move the markets. Kurtz exposes the disturbing conflicts of interest among the brokerage analysts and fund managers whose words can boost or bash stocks --thanks to scoop-hungry journalists who rarely question whether these gurus are right or wrong. And he chronicles the journalistic hype that helped propel Net stocks into the stratosphere until they began plummeting back to earth. In a time of head-spinning volatility, The Fortune Tellers is essential reading for all of us who gamble our savings in today's overheated stock market.
Reviews: 7
godlike
Fair
Malann
Reporting on the stock market is like giving a play-by-play report on a Mexican jumping bean. There's almost constant motion, but little of the movement has long-term consequences.
However, stock market reporting has increased the fluctuations into gyrations which make for trading opportunities that Wall Street professionals and on-line traders love. So financial coverage has been good for stock trading, brokerage houses, and those who need momentum up or down.
'Amid the endless noise, whom do you trust?' is the prescient question that Mr. Kurtz asks. Based on his descriptions of the financial journalists involved, their sources, and the checks and balances, the answer for many people will be 'no one' in the financial media.
'. . . a gust of rhetorical wind can buffet your stock like a sailboat in a hurricane.' If you are a long-term investor, this doesn't much matter. If you own index funds or their synthetic equivalents, it matters even less. Mr. Kurtz points out that mutual funds rarely beat the index funds, and that some professionals use them. On the other hand, you are unlikely to hear much about that circumstance on the television financial news reports.
Mr. Kurtz proposes reform, ' . . . it would be a significant improvement if more media outlets resisted the temptation to engage in hype and rumor-mongering in an attempt to stand out from the crowd.' On the other hand he warns that, 'Those who blindly follow them have no one to blame but themselves.'
Now you know the serious, but spare, message of this book. The rest is basically a series of detailed stories about financial media personalities like Jim Cramer, Maria Bartiromo (Money Honey), Mark Haines, Steve Lipin, David Faber, Ron Insana, Lou Dobbs, Alan Abelson, Gene Marcial, and Dan Dorfman. An occasional Wall Street analyst and strategist makes the book, as well.
I found these detailed stories to be fairly uninteresting, over-long, and filled with more trivia than substance. That's why I rated the book down one star. In particular, although I was glad that Jim Cramer was covered in the book, there is entirely too much Jim Cramer. Once you know that he has straddled too many worlds in the past (creating either conflicts of interest or the appearance of such conflicts), there is not too much more to be gained to reading about him.
I know some of the people covered in the book, and found the detail about them to be less than revealing. There is much more that could have been discussed than is contained here. The research for the book seems to have been superficial in many cases, and overly dependent on public stories rather than interviews. I was tempted to mark the book down another star, but did not. Most people new to the world of financial journalism would probably make similar errors.
After you read this book, ask yourself where else you get more information than is really needed for your purposes. Then consider how you could reduce that information flow to make it more relevant, dependable, trustworthy, and valuable. That's the ultimate challenge of the New Economy. Whom can you trust? How little time can you spend to get trustworthy information?
Nikohn
In rating a book, it's important to keep in mind the author's original intent. Complaints that this book is useless as an investment guide don't tell us much except that some readers bought the wrong book. For better or worse this is not an investment book. It's not even a book about Wall St. per se. It's a book about the most prominent segment of the financial media and its ambiguous relationship with the business world it covers, specifically between 1998 & early 2000. A timely and important topic if there ever is one, which can certainly use a hard-hitting piece of journalism. Unfortunately Mr. Kurtz never took his kid gloves off and the entire book is infused with a somewhat quaint, Liz Smith-like quality. Although there were a few tidbits of info scattered here and there. For instance, did you know that the guests on Taking Stocks actually get to pick the stocks they wish to talk about?
Nonetheless, the book is an easy and entertaining read, especially for the biz news junkie who enjoys a tour backstage, even if one doesn't exactly get to step into the dressing room so to speak. There are a good deal of trivia. We learn that CNBC actually stood for Consumer News and Business Channel and in its first incarnation, they actually sent reporters out to squeeze tomatoes at the local produce stand. We learn about David Faber's daily grapple with his personal demon in the form of Steve Lipin - a square-jawed Clark Kent to Faber's Lex Luthor. We learn about Bob Pisani's brief but memorable video appearance opposite a porn star in a pink bikini (the girl was wearing the pink bikini). There was a great deal of ink devoted to Jim Cramer, the pugnacious Wall St "Wild Man" whose manic energy makes me want to suck on a D-size lithium battery just watching him; as well as Money Honey Maria Bartiromo, who evidently works very hard but had been reluctant to challenge her sources in public. As a side note Maria's reporting has been improving steadily much to my gratification, although unfortunately she goes home every night to a comically inept self-admitted pump-n-dumper whose stock... Aw forget it, no fun kicking a guy when he's down. Let's just say the guy has neither the incentive nor the ability to help her fulfill her journalistic potentials and I shudder to imagine what idiocies he spews over her each day.
Wall St analysts do not fare well in this book. Kurtz is probably not familiar with the esoteric world of finance and he did not discuss the analysts in any depth. (His lack of familiarity also leads him to harp on certain trivial issues such as "whispered numbers" etc.) Nonetheless, yesterday's golden boys and girls such as Blodget and Meeker looked downright foolish in retrospect. The media certainly played its part. Take Ralph Acampora. Now, I think technical analysis can be useful in gauging market psychology, but its value is limited and strictly secondary. You'd therefore expect technicians to be relegated 2-to-a-stall in that windowless office possibly converted from a bathroom. But no, they become giant media personalities with thousands hanging onto their every word, most of which turn out to be (very expensively) wrong. And why is it that people who worked so hard at self-promotion are uniformly "bemused" at all the media attention they do wind up getting? I for one promise I will not be "bemused" if I ever become a media star, except perhaps at all the other media stars.
A few heroes do emerge from this book. Mark Haines, the Jabba the Hut-like presence on the set of CNBC's Squawk Box who looks almost cute when angry, turns out to be the closest thing to the conscience of CNBC. And Chris Byron, the caustic and sometimes crude columnist for the Observer, is that rare breed of financial reporter who doesn't care if his sources refuse to return his calls. He finds it more productive to dust off the financials and follow the paper trail. This reluctance to offend is in fact one of the biggest problems in financial journalism. I don't pretend to know the pressures facing a reporter, but I do know that the "pros" on Wall St. have agendas very different than my own and once I've taken a position on a particular stock, I have an agenda very different than those of other individual investors. Heck, if I could get away with it I'd gladly supply every story from my desk. What use is keeping a channel open when nothing but hot air ever comes through the channel?
But I digress. Overall, this is not a book that will surprise the seasoned investor, although it may confirm the suspicions of the novice investor. It may read a bit too much like something out of People, but face it, how many people actually tune in to CNBC just to hear Fred Sears's latest opinion on GE? ("It's a wonderful stock Jack Welch is such a handsome man!" He helfully explains, spitting out dingleberries as he speaks.) I know half of you pervs tune in to ogle Maria and the other half Liz Claman. So bring this book to the beach. But when you want to get serious, read Chris Byron.
6snake6
Definitely not interesting financial journalism ........I've read LOTS of books on financial satire, economics, finance, etc but this was one of the most worthless books I have ever read. At the end of the day, what did I get out of it? Not much was my conclusion.....
The book, as someone else mentioned goes something like this......
* The market goes up. Jim Cramer rants. Maria Bartiromo pouts
* The market goes down. Jim Cramer rants. Maria Bartiromo pouts
Repeat - over and over again
Remember, these folks in the media are talking heads. If the market is going up or down they don't care as they just report what is going on. They are in the business of generating ratings, which pays the bills for the large corporations that own them. They try to deliver breaking news and many do but, at the end of the day they are journalists. It does talk about some of the history behind the financial news industry but, in general, I didn't really learn a lot that I find of value or humorous nature.
I love CNBC......I love REALMONEY.com but this book was lackluster. Most folks don't want to write negative reviews but I won't hesitate to do so when I come across something that people should avoid. It is well written, has a very nice front cover design but, at the end of the day, it is basically the life of Jim Cramer, CNBC folks and other related parties. Modern day hoopla......Its got buzz appeal and that is about it.
If you want to learn something about the characters on Wall Street/society read some stuff by Michael Lewis such as Money Culture of Liars Poker. Or you could read about how great companies are built and run by Jim Collins in his classic Built to Last and new book Good to Great. If you are going to spend the time reading a book get something out of it of some value. This is just drivel.