Craig Hemke wrap up the editorials for this week by recapping the week for precious metals. We look at the moved in gold, silver and the underlying stocks as well as the moves compared to the USD and US markets.
Marc Chandler joins me for an initial look at what drove markets this week. Mostly US and China tensions were font and center but there are so many factors that could perk up as we move through summer. We balance what will truly drive markets and money flows over the next few months.
Trader Vic Sperandeo wraps up today’s editorials by sharing his thoughts on how this COVID-19 shutdown will have lasting impacts on the economy. It’s not just about Q2 or even Q3 but the possible carryover for many years if unemployment remains high. We also address the moves in the markets as a discount mechanism for the future of the economy.
Thought of the Day – “The Media – Abdication of Responsibility”
|Sydney Williams||4:30 AM (6 hours ago)|
On Monday evening, Connecticut’s version of Ground Hog Day emerged, giving two more weeks of lockdown for hair salons and barber shops. Already, Connecticut was the last of the fifty states to ease restrictions. On the same day, the dyspeptic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, criticized the President for obesity. This from a woman of so many face and body lifts that there is little left of her that God and her parents created.
Sydney M. Williams
30 Bokum Road – Apartment 314
Essex, CT 06426
Thought of the Day
“The media – Abdication of Responsibility”
May 21, 2020
“Politics and the press; two cherished institutions that spoke
with tongues so forked they could double for fine dinnerware.”
Harlan Coben (1962-)
One False Move, 1998
It may be splitting hairs, but President Trump is wrong when he calls out The New York Times and Washington Post for printing “fake” news. What those papers are printing is “slanted” news, articles biased toward a leftist, political ideology. Fake news is fabricated, while slanted news is prejudiced, where a reporter selects what to emphasize, deemphasize or omit based on personal political preferences. Satire (“An obsolete kind of literary composition, in which the vices and follies of the author’s enemies were expounded with imperfect tenderness.”) is a form of fake news. However, with the exception of good satire, both fake news and biased reporting are a disservice to readers seeking truth. It is the latter that is subtler, so more difficult to discern and address. The burden for determining what is real and what is false is the consumer’s, as reporters have abandoned responsibility to readers and viewers.
Owners, publishers, editors and bloggers can spout whatever opinions they choose. This is a free country and that is their right. But when opinions filter into news stories, and news is reported as unvarnished truth, the consequence is divisiveness and a threat to freedom, which relies on a well-informed citizenry.
Professor Carl Bergstrom of the University of Washington teaches a course called, “Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data.” In a phone interview with Michael Rosenwald, printed in the Columbia Journalism Review in the fall of 2017, he said “The average American spends nearly an hour a day on Facebook. Doing what? Mostly spreading bullshit.” Whether that is true or hyperbole, I do not know, but a Pew Research Center survey in 2016 essentially confirmed the trend. It found that 14% of U.S. adults shared news they knew was fake. Other surveys support the contention that people willingly pass on information they know to be fake, if it aligns with their preconceived political opinions; for example, promoting Trump derangement syndrome has become daily fodder for the leftist media.
Fake news should make us all wary. If something seems amiss, it probably is and should be double-checked. But slanted news is a beast of a different kind, especially when it appears in so-called respectable news sources. In a free country, the press has the right to print or report what they will. That principle predates our own Constitution. In Commentaries on the Laws of England, in 1770, William Blackstone (1723-1780) wrote: “The liberty of the press is indeed essential to the nature of a free state: but this consists in laying no previous restraints upon publications, and not in freedom from censure for criminal matter when published. Every freeman has an undoubted right to lay what sentiments he pleases before the public: to forbid this, is to destroy the freedom of the press: but if he publishes what is improper, mischievous, or illegal, he must take the consequence of his own temerity.” Thus, while political bias in mainstream media is not “illegal,” a free but irresponsible press is subject to libel. But, more important for our purposes, an irresponsible and unaccountable press does not serve the people.
Thomas Jefferson, who once wrote to Lafayette that “the only security of all is in a free press,” anticipated the willing obeisance of a pliable media to a favored political leader. In a 1785 letter to the Dutch statesman Gijsbert Karel van Hogendorp, Jefferson wrote: “The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers. [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of news writers who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever may serve their ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper.” It was a lesson understood by Lenin, Hitler, Mao Zedong, and others of similar ilk. When mainstream media and political leaders align, freedom is at risk.
One of the most egregious recent examples of biased reporting had to do with the Russian investigation that should have ended with the Mueller report. Nine reporters from the Washington Post and the New York Times shared the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting on Russian interference in the 2016 election and its connection to the Trump campaign. In making the award, the Pulitzer Prize Board cited twenty articles between February 9, 2017 and September 8, 2017. We now know that the reporters got the story wrong. Whether they were stupid, incurious or blinded by biases is unknown. We do know that their editors failed to confirm facts. They were advocates for a political cause, not independent investigators. There has been no apology from the Pulitzer committee, nor any mea culpas from the reporters. In fact, it now appears that any collusion that took place in 2016 was between Democrats and the U.S. intelligence community. Where are those same investigators?
Reporting on COVID-19 has been politicized, swathed in biases, innuendos and inaccuracies. For example, why have not investigative reporters looked into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to send post-hospital, virus-infected patients to nursing homes rather than to the U.S.N.S. Comfort, or to the make-shift hospital at the Javits Center? The most vulnerable are the elderly with comorbidities, many of whom are in nursing homes, where about 50% of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred, a fact known since the first deaths were recorded in Washington State in February. And, what about death counts? Are they too high or too low? Colorado’s Democrat Governor Jared Polis’ decision to call out the CDC for exaggerating death counts received limited news coverage. Early models exaggerated the virus’ virulence. Now, today’s New York Times reports a Columbia University model estimates that 83% of all deaths would have been prevented if the lockdown had occurred two weeks earlier. How can they know with such precision? If the numbers accord with the narrative, the estimate is accepted as fact. In taking hydroxychloroquine, the President was accused of ignoring science. No mention was made of Michigan Democrat, State Senator Karen Whitsett, a COIVID-19 survivor who credits the drug with her survival.
While government cannot demand a newspaper or cable news channel report honestly, people are best served when editorial comments are consigned to opinion pages and news is presented accurately and without bias. With major news sources having forgone responsibility to the public, getting correct information has become the responsibility of the people. Freedom should be foremost in our minds, and valid information is a critical part of the process. As Albert Camus said in 1957, “A free press can, of course, be good or bad, but, most certainly without freedom, the press will never be anything but bad.” Biased reporting, with social media having joined the hunt, has become ubiquitous. It is when the press and politicians collude that democracy and freedom are at risk.
Chris Temple joins me for a look ahead to the economic restart that is starting in the US. We saw some jobless claims data again this week but the recent data has not had an impact on the market. We outline what to watching as we move through this restart.
US and China tensions are in the news again as the US is moving forward with restrictions on Chinese companies listing in the US and limiting US pension funds from investing in Chinese companies. More details are still to come.
This is the first time I have brought the team from Ascot Resources (TSX:AOT & OTCQX:AOTVF) on the show. I was waiting for the Feasibility Study for the Premier and Red Mountain Projects in the Golden Triangle of B.C.
Derek White, President and CEO of Ascot joins me for an initial look at the Feasibility Study. We look at some of the key numbers and the leverage to the gold price these assets offer. We also discuss the strategy moving forward when it comes to balancing moving into construction/development vs exploring known targets at the projects.
If you have any follow up questions for Derek regarding Ascot please email me at Fleck@kereport.com.
Ryan Wilday kicks off today with an update on the Bitcoin market. We discuss his technical outlook as well as some insights on the potential safe haven appeal for cryptocurrencies.
If you have further questions on Bitcoin for Ryan please email me at Fleck@kereport.com.
Jordan Roy-Byrne wraps up our editorials today with a look at the gold, silver, and GDX charts. We discuss the multi-year resistance levels that all are closing in on. Also a couple comments on the type of stocks that are moving.
Ed Moya joins me today to outline the news out of the UK and its recent sale of negative yielding 3 year Gilts. It’s another country being forced into negative rates. We also discuss the continued rise in oil. It seems the oil price has gotten ahead of itself but price does continue to rise.
Sean Brodrick joins me today to focus on the resource sector and shares the type of stocks he is investing in. When an entire sector is moving up like the precious metals stocks it can be easy to get stuck in under performing stocks. That’s why it’s important to constantly review your portfolio and adjusting to balance out positions.