Ever the idealist, The Business Press Maven likes nothing more than to hear a case for shorting motherhood, apple pie or Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A - Get Report). And Doug Kass, a highly regarded short seller as well as contributor to our own TheStreet.com, obliged (in the case of Berkshire) on the pages of this weekend's Barron's.
And that is where my trouble began. As much as I wanted to hear Doug's courageous case (though courage might be a kind word for betting against Warren Buffett), his interview with Barron's was given in the question and answer format, which should always always be a red flag for you, the savvy investor.
Why? Because Q&As work to the interviewee's advantage in that it is hard to frame, challenge or dispute the subject's thoughts and claims. And if you are a savvy investor, you want to hear thoughts (especially thoughts about going short a man commonly referred to as a Sage). Otherwise it is too easily to be lulled into believing the last printed word you read, which of course is bad investment technique indeed.
They Just Don't Get Berkshire and Kass!
"... in part because of the lucrative compensation set-up in the hedge-fund industry, the investment landscape now is inhabited by a lot more smart and aggressive managers who comb for value -- far more than there were 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Berkshire Hathaway's outperformance versus the market has been narrowing in the last decade, and I expect that will continue."