The FT’s very peculiar news judgment

By Felix Salmon
October 8, 2009
other is headlined "Obama under fire over falling dollar".


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There are two big, above-the-fold stories on the front page of today’s FT. One is the fact that, yes, Santander’s IPO of its Brazilian operations went according to schedule. And the other is headlined “Obama under fire over falling dollar”.

What fire is this? A Sarah Palin Facebook update. Here’s how the story starts:

The falling US dollar is giving ammunition to the critics of the Obama administration and fuelling broader concerns about the potential erosion of America’s reserve currency status.

Republican politicians have highlighted the dollar’s slide as evidence of waning US power.

Sarah Palin, the former vice-presidential Republican candidate, on Wednesday sought to link the dollar decline to rising US indebtedness and dependence on foreign oil. “We can see the effect of this in the price of gold, which hit a record high today in response to fears about the weakened dollar,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

The crazy thing is that the note wasn’t even particularly about the dollar. “Bottom line:,” she concluded, “let’s stop digging ourselves into debt and start drilling for energy independence.”

Since when does an utterly predictable and unoriginal Facebook update justify front-page “Obama under fire” headlines in the FT? Do the editors think that if there isn’t any news they have to invent it?

Update: It’s worth noting that Palin’s Facebook note doesn’t even make sense. Not that that’s much of a surprise, but still.

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