Take-down artist Matt Taibbi's new obsession with naked short-selling hasn't gone over as well with business bloggers as his earlier Goldman Sachs hatchet job. When Taibbi posted a supposed video of a naked shorting transaction on his blog Monday morning, The Business Insider's John Carney jumped Taibbi, saying he'd been hoodwinked.
- Taibbi, Oct. 5, 11:02 a.m.: Check Out This Swindle Taibbi posts a video of an actual naked short-selling transaction taking place through a clearing firm called Penson Financial Services. "This video is an example of a cut corner," he writes, offering "[a] second-by-second explanation" of what he calls "one of the tools" in Wall Street's "great big toolbox of manipulative techniques."
- Carney, Oct. 5, 4:30 p.m.: Taibbi's a Nut "Matt Taibbi's journey down the rabbit hole of naked short selling," begins John Carney," is getting weirder and weirder." Saying "there's no way this trade is real," he proceeds to offer five reasons why the video can't be legit, and a sixth point on why "Taibbi is reading too much into the video." Among Carney's arguments: "The trader apparently manages to short billions of shares in mere seconds. Penson may be a popular and efficient clearinghouse but there is no way they are that fast."
- Carney, Oct. 5, 4:55 p.m.: Confirmation--No Way This Thing Is Real Carney receives confirmation from Penson Financial Services that the screen in Taibbi's video is "not Penson's trading system." He blogs the detail.
- Carney, Oct. 5, 5:45 p.m.: Did We Mention 'No Way'? Carney takes a closer look at the screen in the video, and determines that, if "the video was given to [Taibbi] last week," as he said, he was "pretty clearly misled. So the question is who is misleading Taibbi and why are they doing it?"
- Taibbi, Oct. 5, 7:29 p.m.: Get Your Facts Right and Stop Sniffing Glue It takes Taibbi a grand total of three hours during weekday rush-hour and dinnertime to post 424 words on why he thinks Carney is stupid. Pointing out that the video isn't showing the sale of tens of billions of shares so much as the approval of the "locate," Taibbi accuses Carney and his Clusterstock colleagues of shoddy journalism, and mentions a mistake in their response to his naked shorting and Goldman Sachs post a week ago. As a bonus, he tosses in a suggestion that the folks at the Business Insider are "on such good terms" with the corporate giant, notes that "[i]t is really not easy to fuck the reporting process up that badly that many times in a row," and suggests Carney isn't operating at full capacity:
The idiots at Clusterstock, just one week removed from making the uniquely asinine (even for them) claim that there is no difference between short-selling and naked short-selling, have struck again, proving once again that it is always best to actually put down your paper bag full of airplane glue fumes before you make blog posts.
- Carney, Oct. 6, 10:08 a.m.: Apologies for Any Misunderstanding, But You're Still Wrong John Carney examines Taibbi's claim that he wasn't saying he was showing an actual sale, apologizes "if we misread any of Taibbi's meaning," but writes that "we think an error on our part would have been understandable given what Taibbi actually wrote in his post." Either way, Carney continues, "Taibbi's video is not an example of how naked short-selling can happen." Taibbi has therefore, in Carney's view, offered "zero evidence" for his "claim that the failures of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers were brought about by ... naked short[ing]," the thesis of his next large Rolling Stone piece.