Tuesday, May 02, 2006


This is really stupid.

NA Daily Report for Executives: I've seen a lot of coverage about Stephen Colbert's remarks at the WHCA dinner, but how about the story reported by Maria Bartiromo on CNBC about Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments to her at the dinner.

She said, on the air, that she asked him if the markets reacted appropriately to his testimony before Congress on April 27 and said he told her "no." She and CNBC played the story up to show that Bernanke feels the market got his testimony wrong, resulting in a sell-off in the bond market.

I don't know if he meant for his remarks to have that impact on the markets, but I somehow doubt he intended to use comments made at a Saturday night dinner party to communicate his views on policy.

My understanding of those events from the times I've been there is that all conversations are assumed to be off the record (unless you're covering the event as a pool reporter or society reporter). I guess that's a bad assumption and I wonder if Bernanke will ever attend the dinner again.

While I understand the need for off the record conversations, a Fed Chairman can never assume that such things apply. Whatever the propriety or impropriety of reporting his remarks, a Fed Chairman just cannot dish on these subjects at parties. It is in fact news if he doesn't understand that.

...adding, a subtle arch of the eyebrow by a Fed Chair can swing markets by hundreds of billions. People are paid to observe every such movement whenever possible. A Fed Chair who blabs at parties needs to stop going to parties.