The fish stinks from the head down – Business Insider too

The fish stinks from the head down – Business Insider too

Henry Blodget is an American businessman, investor, and editor-in-chief of Business Insider, a financial and business news website. In 2003, Blodget was charged with civil securities fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and got a lifetime ban from the securities industry. A press release of SEC, dated April 28, 2003, stated:

The Securities and Exchange Commission, NASD and the New York Stock Exchange — following a coordinated investigation of allegations of undue influence of investment banking interests on research analysts at brokerage firms — today announced that Henry Blodget, a former managing director at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Incorporated and the senior research analyst and group head for the Internet sector at the firm, will be censured and permanently barred from the securities industry, and will make a total payment of $4 million to settle the charges against him.

The regulators charged that, among other things, Blodget, of New York City, issued fraudulent research under Merrill Lynch’s name, as well as research in which he expressed views that were inconsistent with privately expressed negative views. Blodget’s conduct constituted violations of the federal securities laws and NASD and NYSE rules, which require that, among other things, published research reports have a reasonable basis, present a fair picture of the investment risks and benefits, and not make exaggerated or unwarranted claims.

After the civil trial conviction, Blodget was on the brink of collapse. In June 2014, he told the British Guardian “I thought my professional career was over. I decided to spend every day that I had from then on trying to earn back the trust that I had lost … fortunately a lot of people have given me that chance.”

In September 2015, however, fate was again on his side: he sold his website, Business Insider, for USD 343 million to the German publisher Axel Springer, and remained website’s CEO and editor-in-chief.

Unfortunately, the bad habits, which led to Blodget’s exclusion from the securities industry, prevailed. Business Insider tolerates research reports which have no reasonable basis, present an unfair picture of history and make exaggerated claims (despite the fact that Henry Blodget is a Yale history graduate).

An example of this fraudulent praxis was the article of John Haltiwanger “Please DO NOT mislead your viewers by rewriting history: Polish embassy slams Fox News over coverage of deported Nazi guard”, dated August 21, 2018. Haltiwanger wrote among others:

  • “But historians also say it’s misleading to suggest Poland was not at all complicit in the Holocaust, given the significant number of Poles who collaborated with the Nazis.”
    In fact, the level of collaboration was much lower than in other Western European countries. As Poland rejected to collaborate, Hitler decided to kill 6 million Poles (incl. 3 million ethnic Jews) and to turn Poland into ashes. According to the Israeli War Crimes Commission, only 0.1% of Poles collaborated, 99.9% did not. 
  • “During the war, for example, thousands of Polish police officers helped the Nazis guard ghettos where Jews were held before being deported to their deaths.” Actually, it was the Jewish Ghetto Police and not the Polish police who guarded the ghettos. Chaim Rumkowski, the head of the Council of Elders in the Łódź Ghetto during the German occupation of Poland, was one of the most heinous Jewish Nazi collaborators, and he took an active role in the deportations of Jews.
  • Poland was the site of six “death camps” or “extermination camps” during World War II where it’s estimated the Nazis murdered 5 million Jews.
    No, Poland was not the site of six death camps. Poland disappeared from the map of the world and was brutally occupied by Nazi Germany. The camps were located within the semi-colonial territory of General Government of the occupied Second Polish Republic (like Sobibor) or on the Polish territory annexed to Germany after the outbreak of war (like Auschwitz).
  • The Nazis also killed millions of other civilians and disarmed soldiers, including political dissidents, gay people, Roma (also known as Gypsies), and Soviet prisoners, among others.
    The fraudulent journalist of Business Insider forgets to mention 3 million ethnic Poles brutally murdered by Germans, or more than 1 million forced laborers or hundreds of thousands of kidnapped and germanized Polish children.

Asked by Polish Media Issues to make corrections, Haltiwanger stated:

I have a BA in history and a masters in international relations from one of the oldest universities in the world. I was taught about the history of the Holocaust by the son of a Nazi soldier who’s dedicated his life to genocide educ. I know my history. Nothing I said was false.— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) August 22, 2018

The United States need a powerful media watch dog. Had similar fake news been published by Blodget during his time  with Merrill Lynch, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission would kick him off again and he would have been fined 4 millions USD. The Polish government should hire a US attorney and collect this amount from Blodget for misleading the public opinion.

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