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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke does not have foot-in-mouth disease, The Wall Street Journal would have us think this morning. Nor is he a bright academic who is adjusting from his initial befuddlement at how, as Fed chair, his words are heard, weighed and analyzed by an entire world, not just a roomful of post-pubescents.
Rather, the Journal pontificates in pure apologist mode, when Bernanke took over from Alan Greenspan in February, he made some strategic changes that were "subtle but significant."
Will someone please remove this bazooka from The Business Press Maven's mouth before he pulls the trigger? Well maybe, in debunking Page One articles like this that have the capacity to confuse investors, I do have something to live for.The story relies heavily on Mark Gertler, a New York University economist and close Bernanke friend, which means the notions Gertler was slinging could have been preapproved (if not prescribed) by Big Old Ben himself. Its basic gist was encapsulated in the headline: "The New Fed Chairman Hopes to Downplay Impact of His Words" and this line: "The new chairman is trying to depersonalize the Fed by making its decision-making more democratic and easier to understand." He is going to accomplish this, we are then told, by talking less and, instead, publishing clear forecasts and goals on everything from growth to ... inflation.