With Finance, Expected the Unexpectedly

When it comes to the finance casino, expect the unexpected. And when it comes to the financial press that is committed to covering it, expect to hear the word “unexpectedly.” A lot. I broke the terminology down for AlterNet. It’s still broken.

How Financial Reporters Create Illusion to Cover Up Wall Street’s Scams

[Scott Thill, AlterNet]
As Charles Dickens reminded us in his classic novel Great Expectations, the line between crime and cash is a continually blurry one. And it’s easily manipulated by language and narrow self-interest.

For example, let’s just consider the overly extensive use of one term: “Unexpectedly.” It is especially ubiquitous in finance journalism, where it is repeatedly used to console a rightfully nervous readership that, while good news is a great expectation, bad news just seems to comes out of nowhere. Although I’ve been informally following this clumsy usage for years now since diving into the hazy, crazy world of finance, I’ve never run out of daily examples. Just plug the term “unexpectedly” into Google News on any given day, and neither will you.


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