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May 31, 2001

Wall Street Bombshells

By John A. Byrne Editor

Traders Magazine encourages the plain truth in our special brand of journalism. If it is anemic

puff pieces you relish, there are several industry rags which will nicely serve your appetite. We, however, like nothing better than the unvarnished facts. Gregory Bresiger, who joined our editorial staff recently was let loose on our affiliated online site, Traders Online ( What he produced for his online column, The Observer, was a pure chestnut: A polemic on Jesse Jackson's Wall Street Project. Bresiger, a veteran journalist and former editor of our sister publication On Wall Street, wrote: "The cooperation -- or should I say surrender -- of some in the Wall Street community to the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Wall Street Project reminds me of a guilt-ridden group that, once it gives into quotas, will soon hear that it owes various groups reparations."

Indeed, I would add, if affirmative action programs had been in place after the early boatloads of decent Irish and Italian and Jewish immigrants docked at Ellis Island, chances are, dear traders, that Wall Street wouldn't have produced half of today's fine stock traders. No, many would have been held back, brainwashed into thinking they are inherently inferior to the so-called mainstream establishment.

Now I do sincerely believe racism, xenophobia and outright hatred of so-called minorities exist like a cancer in our society. That's utterly unacceptable. But it won't be eliminated by interfering with the orderly conduct of commerce or by social promotion of innocent children with inflated high-school grades. Do not underestimate the capacity for human excellence in places called Harlem and the South Bronx.

This publication would like to think its coverage of events, products and people stays the course in pursuit of the truth. Sure, the occasional flack will try to spin a good yarn. But if we are handed a leaky bucket we will feel compelled to tell our readers it does not hold water. We should, of course, remind ourselves this is not Watergate stuff we are up against, so let's keep our sense of humor intact. Will these words sound strange over beer and skittles on Saturday night? Possibly. Will the skies fall because of our admonitions? Hardly.

I will share this little item I read recently to let you know how some of the best spinmeisters earn their big money. Back in 1967, speechwriter Ray Price, who was then working on Richard Nixon's campaign to enter the White House, penned a memo to his subordinates. Price, painfully aware of Tricky Dick's negative image among the media heavies, noted that voter approval is not about reality but is "a product of the particular chemistry between the voter and the image of the candidate."

Nixon's spinmeister added, "We have to be very clear on this point: that the response is to the image, not to the man, since 99 percent of the voters have no contact with the man. It's not what's there that counts, it's what's projected - and... it's not what he projects but rather what the voter receives."

Wall Street trading has its share of spinmeisters. Our task is to separate the reality from the perception. Our task is to bring you the truth.