Yesterday’s Turner Radio Network bank stress test “leak” doesn’t prove much. It doesn’t prove that Hal Turner has inroads to exclusive information. It doesn’t give the public a good reason to follow Turner Radio. It doesn’t give Turner, a white supremacist, any more legitimacy than he had before he published the leak.
The leak only proves one thing: That the financial crisis has made it unusually easy for opportunists to promote themselves.
The Crisis Lacks Answers
This year’s financial crisis brings with it a lack of informational legitimacy. The crisis itself is real, but does anyone know what’s really going on? It took the MSM months to define the vague financial instruments that brought it on in the first place. Henry Paulson hucked billions of dollars into the corporate adminisphere, without reporting where the money landed. Tim Geithner is as coherent as Charlie Brown’s schoolteacher when it comes to explaining his rescue strategy. The same banks that gobbled up TARP funds are now reporting record earnings.
Where’s the money coming from? Who runs the show? Where is it all going? Why isn’t anyone reassuring us?
MSM (mainstream media) reports and government announcements leave us with a sense that something is off. We try to assuage our unease with online facts, leaks, and answers. That seeking, combined with the mainstream media’s ineffective communication, opens a portal for opportunistic publicity hounds. Like Hal Turner.
Yesterday, Turner announced that he had obtained leaked “bank stress test reults” (sic) from regulators. He pithily stated that “they are very bad.” His findings:
1) Of the top nineteen (19) banks in the nation, sixteen (16) are already technically insolvent.
2) Of the 16 banks that are already technically insolvent, not even one can withstand any disruption of cash flow at all or any further deterioration in non-paying loans.
3) If any two of the 16 insolvent banks go under, they will totally wipe out all remaining FDIC insurance funding.
4) Of the top 19 banks in the nation, the top five (5) largest banks are under capitalized so dangerously, there is serious doubt about their ability to continue as ongoing businesses.
5) Five large U.S. banks have credit exposure related to their derivatives trading that exceeds their capital, with four in particular – JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, HSBC Bank America and Citibank – taking especially large risks.
6) Bank of America`s total credit exposure to derivatives was 179 percent of its risk-based capital; Citibank`s was 278 percent; JPMorgan Chase`s, 382 percent; and HSBC America`s, 550 percent. It gets even worse: Goldman Sachs began reporting as a commercial bank, revealing an alarming total credit exposure of 1,056 percent, or more than ten times its capital!
7) Not only are there serious questions about whether or not JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs,Citibank, Wells Fargo, Sun Trust Bank, HSBC Bank USA, can continue in business, more than 1,800 regional and smaller institutions are at risk of failure despite government bailouts!
The debt crisis is much greater than the government has reported. The FDIC`s “Problem List” of troubled banks includes 252 institutions with assets of $159 billion. 1,816 banks and thrifts are at risk of failure, with total assets of $4.67 trillion, compared to 1,568 institutions, with $2.32 trillion in total assets in prior quarter.
Put bluntly, the entire US Banking System is in complete and total collapse.
Doesn’t it feel gratifying to read the excerpt, despite the fact that it was written by someone who accuses people of being sodomites? Turner, bigoted and irrational as he is, capitalized on the need-for-answers niche. His “leak” affirms the gnawing suspicion that the whole system is about to blow, banks are big fake zombies, and that the MSM is deceiving everyone.
Turner’s answer took fire on the Web, proving how confusing the financial crisis really is. An answer like his satisfies collective suspicions. A waffling government and contradictory MSM reports, on the other hand, lead to more unpleasant confusion.
Turner Knows the Information Market
Turner and his answer highlight a market niche. People want answers. They want confirmation. They want an information source that they can perceive as being real. The MSM lost those honors. Many people see independent media as biased or partisan. The media itself speaks of the collapse of the media.
Hal Turner wants YOU
Who can you trust? I’m not sure, but anyone with a leak, fact, or answer wants to recruit you. Anyone claiming to have crucial information can get their name on the national radar within a matter of seconds.
So what if Hal Turner’s leak was phony? Today, millions of people know who Hal Turner is. Perhaps he’ll even gain a few fans. That, rather than the truth, is Turner’s real power.
Use the Market Niche for Good
This situation has an ideal outcome. If experienced investigative journalists, researchers, or insiders crowdsourced their resources and put up a fact-finding blog, people would have access to real information. The MSM would pay attention. Maybe money would follow. Substance would fill the niche. The public would find a source they can trust.
If, on the other hand, real information doesn’t fill the niche, bad information will. All it takes are opportunists with fake information who want to get their names and websites into the public eye. The financial crisis has made it easy to be a successful rumor-monger.
The public feels the burden when rumors win. Readers have to sort out truth from lies, beliefs, and rumors, which only increases the sense of collective confusion that leads them to seek answers in the first place.
I hope that someone identifies the misinformation niche and capitalizes off it in a productive and helpful way. Otherwise, we’re only in for more questions.