How to Profit from The Death of the News Industry (And What to Read Instead)

While the political world was turned upside down by the Trump ascendancy, the media world was exposed for its bias and intellectual vacuity. It has become obvious to an increasing number of Americans that the mainstream media has seen its best days.

Having spent three decades watching American corporations lie to investors with phony earnings reports and Wall Street analysts fabricate earnings estimates about these companies, I am shaking my head at the current debate over so-called “fake news.” Wall Street consists of nothing other than “fake news.” CNBC calls itself the leading financial news channel but it is a cartoon version of a television network that creates a false narrative about the markets that tries to get unsophisticated investors to pull the trigger on their day-trading accounts at precisely the worst possible time. The mainstream media disseminates fake news to support its various political and business agendas, all of which are designed to increase its bottom line. The advent of the Internet exposed this dirty little secret by introducing new competitors who are more blatant in their efforts to print whatever serves their financial interests without any pretense to the truth.

Everyone should now understand that the so-called “news” published by the mainstream media is the real “fake news.” If you want to know the truth about what is happening in financial markets or anywhere else in the world for that matter, you have to dig deep and look for the few independent sources that are willing to give it to you. You aren’t going to get it from mainstream sources because, bluntly, it doesn’t fit their agenda and doesn’t make them enough money.

Soon, there won’t be enough money for them anywhere…

Here’s how to profit from the demise of the news industry (and what to read instead)…

Short The News, Read The Classics

The newspaper business is finished. Mainstream media lost all credibility in the election. I think in 5 years we’ll see traditional newspapers like The New York Times and Washington Post with most of their business in the digital realm and independent sources like what you’re reading right now growing on every front. Besides pushing liberal agendas that keep failing to help the very constituencies who vote for them, mainstream newspapers are bleeding money, and their only hope is for a Jeff Bezos figure (CEO of Amazon) to come in and buy them like he bought the Washington Post.

Newspapers as a whole are already hemorrhaging readers, according to the Pew Research Center’s State of the News Media 2016 report – weekday circulation in 2015 fell 7% while Sunday circulation fell 4% in the biggest drop since 2010. As well, advertising revenue has experienced its greatest drop since 2009.

Most of these dying newspapers are owned by larger media holding companies, including Gannett Co Inc (NYSE: GCI) which owns USA Today, New York Times Co (NYSE: NYT) and News Corporation (NASDAQ: NWS), owner of The Wall Street Journal. If I were you, I would consider some long-dated puts on these stocks, because over the next few years, they are headed nowhere but down.

Rather than waste time reading The New York Times or The Washington Post or watching the major television networks or CNN or CNBC, people are better advised to seek information and opinions from informed independent sources. I stopped paying attention to the mainstream financial media years ago, switching off CNBC and Bloomberg News and identifying unbiased and intellectually rich sources of information to use in managing my hedge fund and publishing businesses.

At the end of the summer, I identified four political books to read before the end of the year: De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, The Federalist Papers and Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws. I also slipped in R. Scott Berg’s marvelous biography of Woodrow Wilson (which confirmed my belief that efforts to remove the former president’s name from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs at Princeton University were another example of progressive ignorance), a biography of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, and Michael Lewis’s new book The Undoing Project, which tells the stories of Israeli psychologists Amos Twersky and Daniel Kahneman, who explained why humans tend to think irrationally. I can safely say that there is infinitely more wisdom in these works than in anything today’s media serves up.

I heartily recommend this course of intellectual stimulus for readers of this publication as far more productive than devoting time to the mainstream media. Rather than being dumbed down and worn down by the incessant carping and condescension of our so-called media elites (why these people are considered in any sense elite is a topic for another day), I can guarantee you will actually learn a great many things worth knowing about the world.

Sincerely,

Michael

14 Responses to “How to Profit from The Death of the News Industry (And What to Read Instead)”

  1. Carson Horton-Portland, OR

    The day I started consistently making money from my financial investments was the day I turned OFF the financial “news” networks on my office TV and started following my own instincts. Instincts that were honed by doing my own research…research which led me to authors and analysts such as Lewitt and others. A handful of books have provided me with more insight than endless hours, days and months of regurgitated “news” from the likes of CNN, MSNBC, Bloomberg FBN, Jim Cramer, and on and on….

    Michael Lewitt is correct. You aren’t going to learn anything or benefit in any way from a diet of the pablum that spews from these processes like a never-ending volcanic eruption, other than perhaps to gain some sort of insight into what the “crowd” is thinking and why they have come to believe the false prophecies that they insist on clinging to as their financial ship takes on more and more water.

    In addition to the books that Lewitt mentions here I would suggest that anyone who wants to gain an edge on the everyday investor and even many of the so-called “Wall Street insiders” would do well by reading anything by Michael Lewis but in particular Liar’s Poker and The Big Short. Other books that should be on the must read list of any investor include, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay; Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed; Fooling Some of the People All of the Time by David Einhorn; The Orgins of Financial Crises by George Cooper; The Trillion Dollar Meltdown by Charles R. Morris…and lastly two books that will provide you with some historical perspective on how individual events can change the course of human history, Seeds of Wealth by Henry Hobhouse and The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan which will help to remind those with a 15 minute attention span of just how badly things can go wrong when bad government and bad business combine….

  2. They lie, they lie. I found an article about a volcano erupting in Ecuador or Chile a couple of years ago. Yahoo said it was putting out 500,000tons of CO2/hr. The next day I went to re check the facts and the output figure wasn’t there! Apparently that’s an “inconvenient truth”. The global warmers must have been jumping up and down. “How dare this planet hmhmhm-up our global warming data. (Falsified.)

  3. Put off reading Democracy in America for years. Intimidated by it’s length, and what could be relevant in a book written so long ago. Big mistake. When I finally got started I couldn’t put it down. Took a long time to read cuz it stimulated so much reflection. Very impressive work. The Federalist Papers should be required reading in public schools. Every tersely worded sentence in our Constitution has entire chapters devoted to explaining the thinking behind it.

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