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Hard to believe that rehashing and spinning old information would get a new article published, but if you can make it controversial enough you just might get by. Would a short-seller lie? Maybe not enough to lose in court ... but is it possible that through innuendo, spin, and less-than-the-whole truth a short seller could publish and create fear and benefit?

While it probably will not affect any serious investor or investment manager decisions, it can be irritating at times to read statements that "appear" to be factual due to sentence construction and juxtaposition, but which on further examination don't really say anything and may even appear to intentionally cause the reader to draw a false or misleading conclusion.

A device that seems to get a lot of use is to make a statement that is a well-spun question or implication ... particularly a headline something like "Morgan Stanley No Boost for Yongye as Concerns Taint Bids" ... then follow it with generalizations that seem like negative facts ... something like "The company, whose management short sellers including ???[ed.-pick a name] said embezzled funds through a fake transaction, joins dozens of Chinese stocks seeking to delist from U.S. exchanges" ... and cap it off with the implication of legitimacy by saying something like ... "An e-mail and voicemail left with ??? [ed.- pick a name], listed on ??? [ed.- pick a place] as senior director of communications at ... [ed.- intentionally omitted] ... , weren’t returned yesterday." Or sometimes a phrase like " ... weren't returned immediately." will be used.

Perhaps because few of us have the time available to challenge these apparently "pseudo-authors" the practice of "disinformation" seems to be increasingly common.

What we can do is remind our friends and colleagues that the intelligent investor never lets somebody else do their thinking for them, and that the best cure for controlling investment fear is to do your own homework. But ... since the market appears to still have some who will simply act out of greed or fear as a result of such publishing practices, there may be some good buying opportunities created.

Onward thru the (inevitable) fog,
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