Bridgewater, World’s Largest Hedge Fund, Is Building An Algorithmic Model Of Ray Dalio's Brain
Or something.That was
I may have gotten confused on the details....
...Mr. Dalio has the highest stratum score at Bridgewater, and the firm has told employees he has one of the highest in the world.
Likewise, Bridgewater’s software judges Mr. Dalio the firm’s most “believable” employee in matters such as investing and leadership, which means his opinions carry more weight...See the difference?
Mr. Dalio's response is at Linked in but we'll get there through ZeroHedge:
World's Largest Hedge Fund Manager Slams Mainstream Media's Fake & Distorted News Epidemic
Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater - the world's largest hedge fund, has "been reflecting for quite a while on the destructive effects that fake and distorted media are having on our society’s well-being," but it appears a recent Wall Street Journal article about his fund - full of intentional distortions, appears to have pushed the billionaire over the edge at just "how destructive and widespread these 'fake' and 'distorted' agendas are."...MORE
Ironically, by slamming the WSJ, a shining beacon of the supposedly "non-fake news", as a representative of just that (for his personal reasons), Dalio has effectively discovered what many who have dealt with "professional journalists" have learned over time: agenda-driven, "real news" is just as bad, if not worse, than "fake news."
Dalio's full takedown of the WSJ:
The Fake and Distorted News Epidemic and Bridgewater's Recent Experience With The Wall Street Journal
To me, fake and distorted media are essentially the same problem in different degrees. My own experience, which I will share later in this piece, is just one small case within an epidemic. While Bridgewater will survive this case—and even if we didn't, the world would be just fine—it is questionable whether the world will be just fine if this fake and distorted media epidemic is not arrested. As Martin Baron, the Washington Post's Executive Editor, said in reflecting on the problem,
"If you have a society where people can't agree on the basic facts, how do you have a functioning democracy?"
Distorted pictures lead us to make bad decisions. In my opinion, if people don't correct such inaccuracies and don't fight against this problem, continued distortions in the media will prevent the public's accurate understanding of what is happening, which will threaten our society's well-being. We in the financial community now openly talk about fake or distorted media being used to manipulate market prices to the harm of many, and similar conversations are taking place in most areas.
This is not just a fringe media problem; it is a mainstream media problem. And while it is widely recognized, there is no discussion underway about how to rectify it. The Associated Press said that only 6 percent of Americans surveyed have “a lot of trust” in the media. A recent Gallup study showed that Americans' trust in the media has dropped to an all-time low, with only 32 percent of those surveyed saying that they have either a “fair” or “great deal” of trust in the media. That compares with 55 percent having such confidence in 1999 and 72 percent in 1976. The dramatically decreased trustworthiness has even plagued icons of journalistic trust such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as sensationalism and commercialism have superseded accuracy and journalistic integrity as primary objectives. Many, if not most, "journalists" are trying to write the story that they want to write and fit the facts to it rather than accumulating facts to accurately report pictures of what is true. To be clear, I am not saying that this is the case for all people in the news media as there are a number of true journalists who do seek to convey accurate information; I’m just saying that they are a rapidly shrinking percentage of the total and the poll numbers reflect that.
The failure to rectify this problem is due to there not being any systemic checks on the news media’s quality. The news media is unique in being the only industry that operates without quality controls or checks on its power. It has so much unchecked power that even the most powerful people and companies are afraid to speak out against it for fear of recrimination. In fact, I presume that I will be widely attacked in the media for what I am saying here. Nonetheless I am compelled to say what many people express privately, which is that 1) the quality of news media is declining in general, 2) those in the news media have an enormous amount of power, 3) the news industry is unique in not having its standards of behavior specified and overseen, and 4) this confluence of realities is dangerous.
While we all treasure our free press which is the reason that those in this industry are not overseen, the accelerating loss of faith in the media appears to be coming to a head and will probably lead to a backlash. I worry that if the industry doesn't fix its problems, other forces will cause the pendulum to swing in the opposite direction, which will lead to some of the cherished press freedoms being lost. That too could undermine the public's ability to know what is true. There is no getting around the fact that we need a responsible news media, and the powers that be need to start talking about how to bring that about. Personally, I hope that prominent media organizations will explore ways of self-regulating the quality of what they are producing, or at least create ratings in the way the Motion Picture Association of America provides its movie ratings. If the industry created a self-regulatory organization that set standards and conveyed assessments of quality as is done in a number of other industries, it would be much better than most of the other alternatives. In any case, it’s not my place to determine how this problem is resolved as much as to speak up about the problem and encourage discussion of it.
* * *
A Case in PointI have mixed feelings about describing our most recent experience with The Wall Street Journal because many people might misconstrue my doing this as me simply complaining about an article that I didn’t like. While I certainly don’t want to let the inaccuracies about Bridgewater stand, my more pressing motivation is to give you a window into how media is often made because I believe that those of you who haven’t seen it from the inside will find it eye-opening. It probably will be a little bit like watching sausage being made for the first time.
About six weeks before the Wall Street Journal story by Rob Copeland and Bradley Hope came out, we were contacted by Copeland, who was “fact-checking” and seeking information about Bridgewater. Many of the things he was asking about were downright wrong, so we were presented with the choice of either cooperating with him or allowing the incorrect information to go out. Because we’ve had a history of Copeland and Hope writing misleading stories about Bridgewater even when we cooperated with them, we were inclined to not engage with them because we expected that they might again distort whatever we said. Copeland however insisted that they wanted to “reset the relationship” to present an accurate picture of the firm. He offered to enter into an agreement in which we would provide him with information that he didn’t already have in order to give him a fuller picture but only on the condition that he would not use that information unless we mutually agreed that his presentation of it in the article was accurate. We understand that the culture behind our exceptional success over the last 40 years is both unusual and commonly misunderstood, so we decided to enter into that agreement with him. As explained below, he broke the agreement by presenting distorted pictures of what we told him even after he asked us to "fact check" his assertions and we replied in writing that they were inaccurate.
Copeland and Hope allege that Bridgewater is an oppressive environment based on very few conversations—as they put it, on interviews with "more than a dozen past and present Bridgewater employees and others close to the firm.” We have about 1,500 people who work at Bridgewater, most of whom love it rather than feel oppressed, so the picture they gleaned from these dozen people was clearly not representative. Bridgewater obviously could not have been as successful for as long as it has been without a culture that values its employees and fosters excellence; Copeland wasn’t seeking to understand that. We explained to him in writing that "You are painting a one-sided negative picture of the work environment. The problem is that people who are happy with their experience and respecting our rules are not allowed to speak with the media so you end up hearing disproportionately from disgruntled people. It becomes a gross exaggeration and none of the joy of the Bridgewater experience gets represented.” We offered to provide Copeland an extensive list of employees and former employees who could freely speak with him. He did not take us up on that offer.
We also offered to put Copeland in contact with three prominent organizational psychologists...