Zero Hedge is defending itself against an “unmasking” article published by the much-larger Bloomberg. Bloomberg’s article is based on an interview with a former employee of Zero Hedge, which is known for its pessimism, conspiracy theories and articles which present the opposite side of stories found in mainstream media. The finance and politics blog describes Bloomberg’s article as nothing but a “sole-sourced piece by a disgruntled former employee who not only admitted he had major psychological problems, a checkered past, was unstable, but had also made clear his motive to ‘out’ this website with hopes of crushing it and even issued death threats to Zero Hedge workers.”
Zero Hedge discredits Bloomberg’s source
For its article, Bloomberg spoke with Colin Lokey, one of the three men who have used the name “Tyler Durden” to post on Zero Hedge. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the name of a character from the movie Fight Club. There have long been speculations about who’s behind the website because its owners publish in anonymity, and Lokey outed both of the other two (who both are still using it): Daniel Ivandjiiski and Tim Bakshall.
Ivandjiiski’s name comes as no surprise because he has long been believed to be behind Zero Hedge. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred the former hedge fund employee from industry on allegations of insider trading, although the agency said he never admitted any wrongdoing. Backshall is a very well-known and respected credit derivatives strategist whose name hasn’t widely been linked to the website.
Turning a profit
Bloomberg decries Zero Hedge’s focus on turning a profit, saying that Lokey said he because of “the emphasis on profit—and what he considered political bias at the site.” Lokey described the Durdens as “two guys who live a lifestyle you only dream of” and said they’re only “pretending to speak for you.” But as Zero Hedge points out, he had no problem taking a nice salary in exchange for his work, which makes it strange that he would complain about the website’s goal of making a profit. And then there’s the fact that websites which don’t turn a profit go out of business. We all have bills to pay, after all.
Lokey also said the focus on profits, revenue and traffic stands in contrast to the website’s “antiestablishment image,” although Ivandjiiski told Bloomberg that their wealth doesn’t mean they can’t wear the mask of Durden, who said in Fight Club that the “the things you own end up owning you.” He also said that they never claimed to be in favor of socialism, and in the defensive article, Zero Hedge states that the reason they see themselves as being against “the establishment” is more about running the side of stories that isn’t covered in mainstream media with the goal of making people think rather than promoting a life without wealth. Indeed, why target the finance industry if you don’t believe in being wealthy? And why would anyone assume that someone running a finance-related blog doesn’t believe in wealth?
Certainly there is a difference between socialism and trying to “wag the dog” in the opposite direction the mainstream media is wagging it, although both can be considered as going against the grain.
According to Bloomberg, Lokey also complained that he was “scared to even ask for an hour off,” although text messages between them show that he was told he could ask for time off whenever he wanted. Zero Hedge also added that they asked Lokey if he was sure he didn’t need time off. Lokey worked for Zero Hedge for two months before being admitted to the hospital for overwork.
He also claimed that the other two Durdens told him to write his politics articles a certain way, although they maintain that they never did and that they never editorialized him either. In fact, Lokey even admitted that he was never told to write a certain way but that he only thought that he was.