'Minyanville' Provides Entertainment for the Financially-Inclined

By 07/24/2009
'Minyanville' Provides Entertainment for the Financially-Inclined

Welcome to Minyanville, a small virtual village of highly opinionated financial analysts and reporters. If you’re looking for stock market news from vaguely right-wing sources with an “independence” fetish, this is the place to visit.

Because one of site’s shows, Hoofy & Boorecently won an Emmy, I was hoping to find a really creative, informative site devoted to financial news. Unfortunately, instead of feeling enlightened and inspired, I left muddleheaded and disappointed. I don’t think a wish for informed, easily palatable money talk without the madness info is so far-fetched, but it’s all too rare (in my personal experience) to encounter affable, level-headed and thoughtful finance junkies. Websites like this one go and reaffirm some kind of smarmy jock stereotype.

Minyanville I was also confused by the inconsistent stances taken by the cadre of Minyanville reporters: there are take-downs of hubristic CEOs and megacorporations featured on the same page as laissez-faire anti-government screeds featured on the same page as a diatribe against marijuana legalization. There are pieces in favor of Chinese business practices and those (which I will get to shortly) that rail against Chinese government practices. Though they don’t purport to subscribe to any particular political affiliations, I find the inconsistencies of their on-again/off-again “libertarianism” jarring.


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I don’t even consider myself knowledgeable enough of stocks and finance to have formed educated opinions on the subject, so it would be unfair (and downright unintelligent) to hope that a site like this would confirm or deny any of my ill-informed beliefs. What I take offense to is the righteous know-it-all attitude I encountered at the site. There is a difference between reporting news and publishing an opinion piece but, the content available at Minyanville conflates them too often.

The following episode of the Emmy Award-winning Hoofy & Boo (I’d love to know who the competitors were) demonstrates a good deal of what I find disturbing about this website.

Another show produced by Minyanville, DepewTube, features financial analyst and Minyanville editor Kevin Depew sitting in what appears to be a linoleum-walled basement watching himself on television. His TV avatar emits financial news or advice as if it’s on MSNBC only for the real Kevin to stop the proceedings, turn around in his chair and blithely explain that whatever his avatar just expressed is incorrect. However, what wisdom Mr. Depew attempts to pass on is lost in an aether of jargon. While he contradicts the statements or claims of his tv avatar, he provides no evidence of his own to back up his own opposing positions. Of course these are short clips and a substantial explanation would require more time, but, sorry, I’m not going to blindly accept his statements just because he says so.

MinyanvilleNow forgive me because Kevin Depew might be a reputable source for financial information, but – and this is my own personal hang-up – I don’t trust anyone in a suit and I also don’t trust media-appointed finance gurus. Jim Cramer was lauded for his expertise and then went and demonstrated that by talking up the financial genius of Lenny Dykstra. No thank you. I admit that it would surely behoove me to decrease my ignorance of such matters, but this is not a site conducive to self-education or improvement.

If educating investors is the point of Minyanville – and I’m almost positive it’s at least part of their mission – I would consider this program a failure. The guy-in-a-basement format is uncreative, the talking points haphazard and a-contextual and Depew’s demeanor comes across as faintly condescending. Somebody already well-versed in the subject may have no trouble sorting this out, but I’m having trouble retaining any information provided here.

Let’s be honest. How many artistically creative financial analysts do you know? I give the site credit for trying, but their artistic capacity plateaus right around the same level as my stock market acumen. However, I could definitely learn a lesson or two about condescension and tactless opinionating from Minyanville and that’s saying something.

Somewhere along the line I think Minyanville turned from somebody’s really great idea for an insightful, alternative source for financial news into a ham-fisted lout attempting to outshout his peers. Perhaps it’s not too late for the editors to get this ship pointed in a positive direction.

Check it out at Minyanville.com.

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