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Ever the working class hero, The Business Press Maven spent the July 4 market holiday hard at work, searching for bad news that had been purposefully released the day before the holiday in the hope that it would be lost in the lull of the holiday news cycle. No one but me reads by the light of fireworks.

I passed around a collection plate July 3, asking readers to donate (by email) any interesting press release that seemed timed to have been ignored.

As you might expect, a lot came in. But I want to focus on a donation from Dave Echternach of Dallas, one that proves once again that just when I am expecting the business media to be bad in one way, they surprise me by being bad in an entirely different way.

What Echternach sent had all the earmarks of the typical piece of bad news slipped under the wire before a holiday. United Capital Markets Holding, a Florida-based hedge fund, released a statement on July 3 that it was halting redemptions in some of its funds.

Telltale horrors, huh? We only wish.

I knew something was a little weird when Echternach attached a Bloomberg article and asked, with a puzzled tagline, "What do you make of this one?"

The Bloomberg piece, the first I could find that immediately ran on the news, way up high draws the link between the halting of withdrawals in this fund and the high-profile recent collapse of two hedge funds run by Bear Stearns ( BSC). In fact, a good chunk of the article is then turned over to a recapping of the Bear Stearns collapse.

And that's when the ball started rolling.

This was Bear Sterns, revisited! Houston, we have a pattern!

I soon got a Wall Street Journal email alert, which seemed to consist of just a few cobbled-together generic subprime-collapse quotes around what had just appeared on Bloomberg and presto! Everyone was now latched back on to the subprime fiasco storyline, some mentioning the Bear Stearns parallel as high as the third sentence, as did The New York Times.

Now, make no mistake about it; from Real Estate section cover stories in The New York Times two years ago to Business Press Maven columns taking the media to task for dumb hopefulness on housing after two flukishly good numbers last year, I've long been negative on housing. I think it is in for a wrenchingly long decline due to everything from baby-boomer downsizing to yes, years of granting bad loans. And with everyone but animals in the Turtle Back Zoo starting hedge funds, I also don't need any convincing that a shake-out will eventually be at hand. Especially for those with heavy subprime exposure, high margin and no cash.

The question, though, is whether this Florida fund is a legitimate sign of one. And whether it fits into a pattern -- standing as an equivalent -- to Bear Stearns.

The answer -- with apologies to Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and all the others who made lazy holiday efforts on this one -- is a resounding no.

Read the details of the articles, not the forced conclusions. You'll see that these Florida funds are several hundred million dollars in size -- minuscule by comparison to Bear Stearns. And -- here is the key -- they have $115 million cash on hand. Small and with plenty of liquidity on hand? Uh, that's pretty much the exact opposite of the Bear Stearns story.

On a side note, the man who led this hedge fund apparently pitched himself as a real risk-taker, so it is also unclear how hedged a vehicle investors thought they were getting into. But the main things is, small and cash rich does not a Bear make.

Look: I'd be ticked off and frightened if someone said I could not redeem. And the fund was probably looking for the news to be ignored in the quiet of the holiday. But to go from that to drawing an automatic parallel to Bear Stearns and weaving it into a larger story is as irresponsible as disallowing the redemptions.

Trust me, there should be plenty of opportunities to write about subprime and hedge-fund crumbling without forcing the issue.

Speaking of issues, The Business Press Maven obviously has quite a few of them. One of the non-psychological ones is with Reuters, which I tend to criticize pretty much without letup. With online news aggregators, the wire services have gained influence and the cub reporters who work there tend to have less real-world business experience than more veteran reporters who, by the way, also have none.

Spotlight on KKR

But I do want to point out what a good basic job Michael Erman did on this holiday issue, when KKR, looking to fly its public offering under the radar to avoid all the hullabaloo of the Blackstone ( BX) offering which, among other things, set Congress sniffing around. Anyhow, by seeing the announcement through the lens of its holiday-eve timing, look at how Erman advanced investors' understanding:

The relatively modest size of the offering and the timing of the announcement -- late on the eve of the U.S. Independence Day holiday -- suggested that KKR hopes that its IPO will be a lower key affair than Blackstone's, which attracted unwelcome attention from Congress.

Even Wall Street Journal partner breakingviews.com, which The Business Press Maven normally likes, mentions the Tuesday afternoon timing without spelling out anything about its significance.

Investors, heed the difference: Erman took The Wall Street Journal to school.

At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

A journalist with a background on Wall Street, Marek Fuchs has written the County Lines column for The New York Times for the past five years. He also contributes regular breaking news and feature stories to many of the paper's other sections, including Metro, National and Sports. Fuchs was the editor-in-chief of Fertilemind.net, a financial Web site twice named "Best of the Web" by Forbes Magazine. He was also a stockbroker with Shearson Lehman Brothers in Manhattan and a money manager. He is currently writing a chapter for a book coming out in early 2007 on a really embarrassing subject. He lives in a loud house with three children. Fuchs appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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