Monthly Archives: October 2008

John Gapper

Oh dear. I seem inadvertently to have fallen into a transatlantic cultural and linguistic divide with my line about Rachel Maddow, the MSNBC host, being a “chirpy gay liberal” in my column this week.

Those three words were picked out by the Huffington Post (you can’t trust the media) and set off a firestorm of protest among its indignant readers. I have also received quite a lot of fierce emails accusing me of insensitivity, homophobia, stupidity, jealousy, ignorance etc.

The last time I looked, there were 500 comments on HuffPo and some of them were not very nice about me. In view of this, and the comments on my blog item below, perhaps I ought to provide some explanation.

The truth is that I did not think about it much. I wanted a quick description of Ms Maddow, since she is the newest of the television talk show hosts whom I mentioned, and the phrase seemed to sum up her brand for those living outside the US.

For many US readers, there were two problems with this. Read more

John Gapper


My column in the Financial Times this week addresses the debate over media bias in the US presidential election and why the Drudge Report has lost its past dominance of the media agenda. Read more

John Gapper

I suspect that we can add Mrs Watanabe to the list of those suffering from global financial turmoil.

The abrupt rise of the yen and the dollar against higher-yielding currencies seems to have been driven by hedge funds unwinding various forms of carry trade – borrowing in a low-yielding currency and investing in assets in higher-yield economies. This has caused havoc in financial markets in the past couple of weeks. Read more

John Gapper

I’m afraid that I have failed, until now, to post a link to my book review in last weekend’s FT of a posthumous collection of reportage by Alistair Cooke, the great British journalist and broadcaster.

The first thing that strikes one about this collection of newspaper and radio pieces that Alistair Cooke filed for the BBC and The Guardian over several decades is that he popped up everywhere. Read more

John Gapper

I have written a response in the Weekend Financial Times to Andrew Lahde’s farewell letter:

Dear Andrew Lahde, Read more

John Gapper

Perhaps it is just me, but I am struggling to understand Alan Greenspan’s revised view of banking regulation. He issued a mea culpa to the House oversight committee, saying that the financial crisis left him a state of “shocked disbelief” that lending institutions had stumbled so badly.

Mr Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, and keen opponent of regulation of the over-the counter credit derivatives market in 2000, partly recanted, saying that the credit default swap market required some form of regulation. That is quite a reversal of his previous position, discussed on this blog beforeRead more

John Gapper


My FT column this week is on the re-emergence of alleged rogue traders at banks such as Caisee D’Epargne. At root, this is a crisis of reckless institutions rather than out-of-control individuals: Read more

John Gapper

I like Dan Gross’s suggestion that there is a link between the number of Starbucks outlets in a country and its risk of being enveloped in a financial crisis. The numbers do not stack up precisely but there is something there.

Here is the theory as Dan explains itRead more