NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Watching the excellent Springsteen And I documentary the other night reminded me of that epic line from Bruce: Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed.
A tad melodramatic, no doubt, but equally as powerful and relevant as long as you keep some perspective.
That bit of wisdom from The Boss could have been the headline for my critically-acclaimed, if it were a TV show it would've won an Emmy even though the ratings sucked Tuesday article: Netflix Singlehandedly Sucking the Life Out of Journalism.
He has that increasingly rare facility of recognizing the obvious when the obvious does not match the official narrative. He questions the rather odd numbers coming out of Netflix ... He understands the importance of not putting too much weight on absolute numbers when looking at the Internet and instead take things in context ...
I suspect this independence comes in large part because Pendola has a very different background then most of the people who write financial news. One of the big recurring themes at West Coast Stat Views is just how insular and inbred the journalistic community has become. This is if anything a bigger problem for financial journalists. A majority of the voices you read in Forbes or Business Insider or Bloomberg have basically the same background, were educated at the same very small set of schools, have had similar career tracks, live In the same region (and often in the same neighborhoods), read the same publications, and frequently have a common social circle.
The result is a monoculture and just as having fields upon fields of the same species of corn makes it prone to outbreaks of blight, having a journalistic community made up of remarkably similar people makes it vulnerable to bad narratives and questionable memes.Never met the author, but with gay marriage now legal in California, I might propose. In all seriousness, though, I have no interest in writing to make my colleagues at TheStreet or other media organizations happy. If I did, I would be doing a disservice to the people who read my stuff. And, subsequently, doing a disservice to my colleagues. We don't write or appear on TV or whatever for one another; we do it for the reader and the viewer. That's what sets somebody like Jim Cramer apart from his competitors. He knows how to beat to his own drum. As a result, he's wildly successfully and often misunderstood. (That's a powerful combination!). And, whether I agree with him on a specific company or not (e.g., NFLX), I understand, respect and learn from his approach every single day. Each daily must-read or must-see for me has that characteristic of having the guts to ask what the others do not ask without the fear of irritating his or her peers. That's fast becoming a lost quality as the blogger, cited above, who got it wrong on Cramer unfortunately, pointed out. On Netflix -- and on more important issues (and less important ones) -- journalists need to start acting more like inquisitive academics. That is the primary takeaway from my stint in graduate school. You can effectively blend an academic approach with the compelling, provocative and outrageous. Not only will it help you stand out from the "monocultural" crowd, it will enhance all aspects of your life. This flies for journalists, but anybody else thinking in the world -- the "smart generalist" consumer and critic of information, shall we say -- who goes beyond the lines people like Reed Hastings and politicians and the media feed them everyday. So be careful on NFLX and don't have blind faith in your leaders. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.