Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Business of Storytelling

Full disclosure: I know next to nothing about the stock market. I've never invested money in it, I probably never will invest money in it and the little I do know is the bad stuff. I'm aware there are plenty of people who responsibly invest their money and make a significant sum of money on the market. If you're one of those people, this is not directed at you.

However, if your name is Darren Rovell and you work for CNBC, I might be talking to you.

Rovell is on a roll on Twitter today, outright insisting that WWE has violated SEC regulations with their storyline of Vince McMahon being relieved of his duties and Triple H being placed in charge. He's banged this drum before when they did the whole limo explosion thing back in 2007 (days before a real problem rocked WWE stock prices), but since that ended quickly, it never really became a big deal.

Then there was Donald Trump "buying" Raw. Never mind the fact that Raw is just a TV show and not an actual division of WWE that would be "sold," shareholders flipped out and the company was accused of violating SEC regulations once again.

Okay shareholders, here's a stock tip for you: if it happens on WWE TV, it's fake. Hopefully I don't get busted for insider trading after letting that cat out of the bag.

I really can't believe that even needs to be said.

I know, I know, wrestling often blurs the line between fiction and reality, but you gotta be kidding me here. It's one thing when some 15-year-old kid thinks CM Punk is really "shooting" on John Cena, it's one thing when a 35-year-old casual viewer thinks Donald Trump really bought that Raw wrasslin' show that they watch sometimes. But shareholders? Aren't these supposed to be the adults in the room?

Aren't these the "wealth creators" in America? The people who tell all us poor people that if we just pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps, we could be rich too? The "personal responsibility" crowd? Speaking of bozos on CNBC, do you remember when CNBC's Rick Santelli went on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and complained about business folks getting stuck "paying for your neighbor's mortgage"?

So while we're talking about "personal responsibility," if you invest in a product and you don't educate yourself on what you're buying into, you deserve to lose your money, simple as that. WWE produces fictional television, always has, always will, and if you believe that Triple H is really replacing Vince McMahon as Chairman of the Board, and this news would be first announced on live television in a room of 14,000 people shortly after an R-Truth match, I have a bridge to sell you.

And shame on Darren Rovell and CNBC for even stoking these flames. If you want see an industry that's really harming America by blurring the lines between entertainment and reality, watch a 24-hour news network. Remember when Jon Stewart exposed CNBC's Jim Kramer as a complete fraud a few years ago? What Kramer did and what all these infotainment people do is dangerous because they're presented as "experts." WWE is professional wrestling, something an 8-year-old knows is fake. Who should the SEC really be looking into?

The fact that the economy hinges on people who think WWE storylines could be real should explain the majority of this country's financial problems.

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