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Daily Telegraph news story suppressed May 27, 2009

Posted by thedukeofurl in Economics.
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Naked Capitalism, Zero Hedge, and The Analytic are all engaged in trying to discover the truth of a report by Evans-Pritchard that appeared in the Daily Telegraph and which was suddenly removed from the paper’s web site following a complaint.  According to the report, Mark Patterson, chairman of MatlinPatterson Global Advisors, a private equity firm and recipient of initial TARP funding, said in a meeting in Qatar that the Geithner bailout was a sham and that the banks were insolvent.

You can find the report here – http://zerohedge.blogspot.com/2009/05/mark-patterson-its-sham-banks-are.html .

A number of disturbing inferences arise from this case.  One is that web content is inherently fragile and can disappear overnight. Were the paper deposited in a library, some record of it will have been kept (as has luckily happened electronically in this case, but you can’t count on it). An argument for a publically accessible digital archive available into the indefinite future as “hard copy” in principle is?

Another is that a media organization, presumably after consultation with its lawyers, removed a news report simply upon receipt of a complaint, which may never be recoverable from the original source.  There does not appear to be anything to stop the newspaper from digitally shredding the report thereby having it “go missing”.

Should Mr Patterson’s comments be viewed as a matter of private concern although made in a public arena? If what the paper initially published was factually incorrect, as MatlinPatterson claim, then surely the paper should have left the story as is, as it has had to do with the hard copy version, and issued a public apology to Mr Patterson in a subsequent issue of the paper. This would seem to be the most appropriate way of dealing with such conflicts.

The thing is, if Patterson did say what he is reported as saying, he is right.  “Geithner’s put” is rubbish.

It will be interesting to see whether Naked Capitalism, http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/ , The Analytic, http://theanalytic.com/ , and Zero Hedge, http://zerohedge.blogspot.com/ , will be able to get to the bottom of this affair.

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