Tuesday, 14 June 2011


UPDATE #2: Please make sure to note CoveringDelta's response to my critique and also his comments on this post. Dimitri has done the honorable thing and issued a correction as well as a robust defence of his editorial choices, and so is owed - as he correctly notes - the same courtesy. I have therefore amended the language of the post as requested by him; apologies for the delay, Dimitri, but I was travelling most of yesterday. 

UPDATE: Alphaville have been in touch about this almost immediately over Twitter, and issued a prompt correction that seems genuine enough to me. Try not to give them too hard a time, as to err is human and they have served us all well in the past. I am still not happy about that post being up for everyone to find but at least a certain level of integrity has been restored.

I hope Zerohedge will do the same, as it turns out they too have reposted this hoax. Needless to say I'm pulling them from my list of links as well, but I think we'll have to take them on tomorrow. Suggest Twitter hashtag #ZeroBrains

I'll restore them to the blog's links eventually but let's give them a few days first. I'd hate to have to take them back off again if they relapse.

Readers will not that I've also spent some time criticising the source that originated the Alphaville story in the first place: NY Greek Demetri Kofinas of @coveringdelta who in my opinion could have done a little bit more digging on the  usual quality of S. Chios' reporting or at least listened to what he cites as his sources ('the internet', 'the bibliography', 'K. Hardavellas'), or at least questioned why it is he cannot provide footage of the works but must cut to black and white archive photos, all the while urging VIEWERS to go see for themselves. Presumably if viewers can go and see, so can a TV crew, yes?

I would add to this the sheer impracticality of MPs walking 9-10 km in the (supposed) tunnel to Peireaus, and whether it would have made sense to them to risk getting trapped in such a thing when there are perfectly serviceable alternatives.

I still wish to note Demetri's response to the objections of commentators on the Alphaville site:
@ George
It's from a mainstream news outlet in Greece George. What do you want the FT to do, send an investigative team to Lykavito and search the mine shafts with little flashlights? It's a globalized world. You do what you can.

DIMITRI, YOU *ARE* THE SOURCE!!! It is you that Alphaville and the rest (none of them Greek speakers) trusted, not a TV programme they don't know in a language they can't understand. Just because you're a not journalist doesn't mean you can't caveat a story, especially when the stakes are so high.

Now as to how Chios' say-so got turned into an almost-publishable fact... That tends to happen when other, more serious people who however don't have the time to do any background work on the story refer to it in the understanding that it's *just about* plausible enough, and so onwards until you reach someone who can be taken seriously (on things that they know about) and is generally assumed by others to speak with authority. So first @StaceyHerbert of the much celebrated Keiser report posts this on her feed, then a whole bunch of people among whom @LorcanRK, Chief Europe Strategist at Trend Macrolytics LLC who added: 'I love this story!' and then of course Alphaville. (She has since indicated she didn't think for a moment that it was true).



Dear readers,

you know I'm the last to blame smirking journos for our economic woes but in this one instance I will make an exception.

Please write to @FTAlphaville and @FTAlpha if you think this is irresponsible bullshit. Twitter hastag is #AlphaFAIL [Note I am no longer using this following Alphaville's correction]

Alphaville is banned from my blog's links until they address this with a sincere apology.


  1. Dear LOL,

    As I said to you before, I have no intention on the Kontra video being taken out of context. I made a note of your criticism of the video on the blog. I imagine that you would extend the same courtesy to coveringdelta as you have to the FT for articulating an honest explanation for why I posted the video.

    As someone who keeps a blog (i'm referring to you), I imagine that you can appreciate the importance of responding to criticism. I would appreciate, in kind, if you made note of this on your own blog.

    Removing the "language mongering piss artist" comment would also be nice, but its not as important as making it clear that your criticism was duly heard, and that a note was made on the video.

  2. So. ZeroHedge is reporting that CoveringDelta is reporting that Kontra is reporting a mother-of-all-tunnels six miles to Piraeus. I did mark it as a hoax in the comments, yet considering the intentionally outrageous slapstick that is the norm at ZH, exceeding Swiftian hyperbole, be it about HFT, 2s10s, QE or the esteemed Ben Bernanke, I dare suggest the matter has been overplayed.

  3. It is really ridiculous some people are recycling the garbage of "Kontra Channel"...

    Could you please check your sources more carefully next time? For God's sake, the "Weekly World News" kind of sources are easily identifiable!


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