Jeffrey Epstein and the Media-Finance-Politics Nexus
- The media elite who spiked an Epstein exposé — in 2003!
- Lucrative trades once limited to the elites now available to you
- Uncertainty looms for small-business owners
- Debt ceiling’s drop-dead date suddenly moved up
- Deutsche Bank’s slide, Day 2… budget hawk passes from the scene… what “underemployment” looks like… and more!
OK, here’s an ugly postscript to yesterday’s episode of The 5 about the elite media’s coziness with the politicos and finance types they’re supposed to be scrutinizing.
At the very moment “Lally” Weymouth was hosting her party for connected elites in the Hamptons on Saturday night… about 125 miles away, the feds were arresting the financier Jeffrey Epstein as he arrived home from Paris on his private jet.
As you’re surely aware by now, Epstein faces federal charges of sex trafficking involving underage girls — “another chapter,” says The Wall Street Journal, “in a lurid legal drama that has surrounded the politically connected money manager for years.”
There’s no shortage of links you can read on Drudge and elsewhere about the case. But it’s the one about the media covering up an earlier chapter of this “lurid legal drama” that absolutely frosts your editor.
Back in 2003, Vanity Fair published an article titled “The Talented Mr. Epstein.”
It was a lengthy profile of Epstein by investigative journalist Vicky Ward. And in many ways a damning profile, one that cast doubt on how he acquired his wealth: Literally no one she interviewed believed Epstein could support his lavish lifestyle simply by managing the money of billionaires and taking a commission.
But there was a key part of the story that never made it into print — the part about two young women, sisters, who went on the record to claim Epstein assaulted them. At the time, one of them was underage.
The claims were credible. Ward checked them out through multiple sources. Her story was airtight.
It was Vanity Fair’s legendary editor who killed that part of the story at Epstein’s behest.
Epstein had paid a call on the Times Square offices of Vanity Fair’s parent firm, Condé Nast.
“He had a private meeting with the magazine’s then-editor, Graydon Carter, after which I was informed that Graydon believed Jeffrey Epstein,” Ward recalls this week in an interview with Democracy Now!
“I was told that Jeffrey Epstein had told Graydon that he was, quote-unquote, ‘sensitive about the women.’ And so they would be pulled from the story.”
Carter was the editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair for a quarter century — from 1992–2017. If there were a dictionary entry for “elite media,” his picture would be next to it.
Carter at an Oscars party in Beverly Hills in 2016 — because of course
At this time, it’s not yet known whether those two women are involved in the case the feds have brought against Epstein now.
Regardless, Ward says she’s “haunted” about the three-year gap between the time that part of her story was spiked in 2003… and the time the feds first started looking into Epstein in 2006.
“It’s always been on my conscience that for three years he molested hundreds of sort of helpless, poor women who were in no position to fight back against him.”
If elite media insiders will cover up for sexual predation by a member of the financial upper crust… it’s no stretch to believe media elites would collude with finance types on lucrative trades in the market, is it?
Let’s rewind 18 months for an example that’s been on my mind in recent days: It was early 2018. At that time, Eastman Kodak had been down and out for years, thanks to the rise of digital photography (a technology it was first to develop, ironically).
And just when it seemed things couldn’t get worse, they did: KODK delivered a miserable earnings report. Shares languished around $3 apiece.
Then right when the cryptocurrency frenzy was at its height, KODK announced “a photo-centric cryptocurrency to empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management.”
Those $3 shares more than quadrupled past $12 overnight…
What’s more, market and media insiders were able to leverage that jump for far bigger gains — turning a $500 stake into as much as $54,000.
Was the “photo-centric cryptocurrency” smoke and mirrors? Of course. KODK fell back to earth in short order and this morning it trades for $2.41 — even less than it did before that huge ramp-up 18 months ago.
But here’s my point: People “in the know” were able to trade on that information before it became public and bag up to $53,500 in pure profit. You, on the other hand, had access only to the public information that KODK was a stinker and just delivered lousy quarterly numbers.
What I’ve discovered in the course of the “Freedom Underground” video series we debuted a few days ago is that it’s possible to detect news like the Kodak crypto gambit in advance.
Not the precise details — but enough to get a sense that something big is about to happen, giving you access to the sort of lucrative gains the elites have long kept for themselves.
The market insider I talked to in yesterday’s installment explained the phenomenon — drawing on Kodak and a couple other eye-popping examples.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can watch the installment at this exclusive website; scroll down and click on “Part IV — ‘The Canary.’”
[Ed. note: For understandable reasons, we obscured this individual’s identity.]
To the markets, where it’s another sleepy summer day. The Dow and S&P 500 are down a bit, the Nasdaq up a bit. Gold remains a hair below $1,400.
Among the big movers is Deutsche Bank, which continues to slide after the announcement of its “restructuring” — that is, giving up its ambitions as a go-go investment bank and returning to its stout German roots as a boring commercial bank. Oh, and kicking 18,000 employees worldwide to the curb. DB has slid nearly 9% in two days.
Small-business owners are sensing something’s not quite right with the economy.
The National Federation of Independent Business is out with its monthly Small Business Optimism Index. At 103.3, the June number is still high by historical standards. But it’s lower than expected, and it reverses May’s gains.
“Last month, small-business owners curbed spending, sales expectations and profits both fell and the outlook for expansion dampened,” says NFIB president Juanita Duggan. “When you add difficulty finding qualified workers and harmful state-level laws and regulations, you’re left with a volatile mix where uncertainty has increased to levels not seen in more than two years.”
In the May report, 40% of survey respondents said it was a good time to expand. In the June report, that figure plunged to 34%. In addition, the number of survey respondents planning new hires fell from 21% to 18%.
One month’s data never tell the whole story… but if this trend continues through the summer, it doesn’t bode well. We’ll be watching…
For the record: Uncle Sam could default on the national debt as soon as early September.
The debt ceiling came back into force in early March at just over $22 trillion. Thus the Treasury is resorting to “extraordinary measures” to stay under the limit — tricks like borrowing from the pension funds for government employees.
In May, Beltway budget wonks figured the Treasury could buy time in this fashion until October or November. But yesterday the Bipartisan Policy Center pushed up that drop-dead date — the “X date” as it’s known in D.C. — to the first half of September.
That’s because owing to the 2017 tax cuts, revenues this spring and summer are coming into the Treasury much lower than expected.
Gee, you mean the whole supply-side thing is a bust again?
Nothing wrong with tax cuts, of course. But three times in the last 40 years, Republicans got it in their heads that cutting taxes would somehow make individuals and businesses so much more productive and generate so much more income… that tax revenue would actually be higher than it was before the tax cuts. Quite the rabbit to pull out of a hat…
Didn’t work under Reagan. Didn’t work under Bush 43. Not working now.
Thing is, the House goes into summer recess on July 26 and doesn’t return to work until Sept. 9. Which means there’s only 2 1/2 weeks to figure things out.
But apparently Congress has higher priorities. Like trying to goad Robert Mueller into saying something about the Russia hoax that he hasn’t already during a sham hearing set for a week from tomorrow. Sheesh…
[Bonus points for irony: Ross Perot died today. He was 89. Leukemia, the family says.
Long before Agora Financial produced its debt documentary I.O.U.S.A. in 2008, Perot was out there in 1992 buying half-hour blocks of network prime time, hauling out pie charts and warning anyone who would listen about the dangers of a building national debt. His message had enough resonance that his presidential campaign garnered 19% of the popular vote.
Back then, the national debt had just crossed the $5 trillion mark and millions of people thought it was a hair-on-fire moment. How quaint…]
To the mailbag and a reader’s riff on our item last Friday about the real-world unemployment rate.
“You want real-world statistics or actual EXAMPLES? Here goes.
“I’m 58. I have been ASE Master Technician (automotive for your duh-ass readers) for the past 28 years. I have a basc (sounds better than BS) degree (in automotive technology). I retired due to many physical ailments related to this career about five years ago. Also noteworthy is that I have 10 years’ IT and networking experience inside and outside of this career that I won’t get into at this time.
“Retirement SUCKS. It gets boring, but guess what? My four-year degree and decades of experience do not mean sh*t. I want to find another part- or full-time job to occupy myself, but I refuse to accept just barely above minimum wage with my background. F that! I would rather be an unpaid volunteer at an animal shelter, and that is what I’m doing currently.
“NOTE: Please delete any comments from dumbass readers offering employment to me as a technician. They obviously failed Reading Comprehension 101…”
Back to the topic of the media — specifically how media power is ever more concentrated in New York, Washington and other coastal locales.
We’d mentioned the impending demise of the daily newspaper in Youngstown, Ohio, and suggested that was unprecedented for a region of a half million people.
Not so, a reader informs us: “Arlington, Texas, has been without a hometown paper for several years and has a population of roughly 400K.”
We didn’t even know Arlington had a paper in the first place — we just figured everyone read either the Dallas or Fort Worth papers. Learn something new every day…
It turns out the family that owns the Youngstown Vindicator had sought out-of-town buyers about 18 months ago.
Two companies came around to kick the tires, but in the end, neither one would bite. The family would not identify the chains by name, but one of them was almost certainly GateHouse Media (publicly held, ticker NEWM), which owns a half dozen dailies within a 90-minute drive of Youngstown.
Precious few “local” newspapers and TV stations are locally owned anymore. As we’ve pointed out from time to time, the estate tax has made it prohibitive.
For decades now, aging business owners have opted to sell to an out-of-town buyer and get paid in stock of the acquiring firm. The alternative is to hold on… and then the heirs have to sell anyway because they don’t have ready cash to pay the estate tax.
Result? Over the years, scads of “local” papers have been rolled up by the likes of Gannett, GateHouse, Tribune, McClatchy and so on. Scads of “local” TV stations have been rolled up by players like Sinclair, Nexstar, Scripps and Gray.
These “local” outlets are controlled by distant owners who have little concern for the readership and viewership they supposedly serve.
But when GateHouse looks at Youngstown and decides it can’t even achieve any “cost efficiencies”? That’s new.
While the Maag-Brown family is shuttering The Vindicator, it will continue operating Youngstown’s NBC affiliate. So that’s good — especially because the ABC, CBS and Fox affiliates there are all controlled by a single company, Nexstar Media (NXST), which is about to become the single biggest station operator in the country.
Media concentration, indeed…
The 5 Min. Forecast
P.S. Our “Freedom Underground” video series is reaching its climactic conclusion tomorrow.
For five days now, I’ve pulled together my 20 years of experience as a broadcast news “gatekeeper” with my 12 years of experience in financial publishing… in a one-of-a-kind project exposing the media’s sleaziest techniques and revealing how you could transform media bias into big payouts.
Sound implausible? I thought so too, until I started looking into it. You can see the fruits of my research at this exclusive website.
We’ve sent you periodic email reminders about it… but it’s entirely possible email service providers are censoring the content and/or dumping it in your spam folder. You can end-run that censorship by following this link.
P.P.S. Tomorrow’s 5 will arrive much earlier than usual. You’ll see why when it hits your inbox.