Type of site
|Blog; news and opinion (original and aggregated)|
|Alexa rank||619 (U.S. January 2018[update])|
Zero Hedge is an English-language blog that aggregates financial and political news and presents editorial opinions from original and outside sources. The news portion of the site is written by a group of editors who collectively write under the pseudonym "Tyler Durden" (a character from the novel and film Fight Club).
Zero Hedge's content has been classified as "alt-right", anti-establishment, conspiratorial, and economically pessimistic, and has been criticized for presenting extreme and sometimes pro-Russian views.
Zero Hedge was established in 2009. According to the Boston Business Journal, the website "publishes financial news and opinion, aggregated and original" from a number of writers "who purportedly hail from within the financial industry." Posts on the website are signed "Tyler Durden," a character in the Chuck Palahniuk book and movie Fight Club.
In 2009, shortly after the blog was founded, news reports identified Daniel Ivandjiiski, a Bulgarian-born former hedge-fund analyst who was barred from the industry for insider trading by FINRA in 2008, as the founder of the site, and reported that "Durden" was a pseudonym for Ivandjiiski. One contributor, who spoke to New York magazine after an interview was arranged by Ivandjiiski, said that "up to 40" people were permitted to post under the "Durden" name. The website is registered in Bulgaria at the same address as that of Strogo Sekretno, a site run by Ivandjiiski's father, Krassimir Ivandjiiski. Zero Hedge is registered under the name Georgi Georgiev, a business partner of Krassimir Ivandjiiski.
In April 2016, the authors writing as "Durden" on the website were reported by Bloomberg News to be Ivandjiiski, Tim Backshall (a credit derivatives strategist), and Colin Lokey. Lokey, the newest member revealed himself and the other two when he left the site in April 2016. Ivandjiiski confirmed that the three men "had been the only Tyler Durdens on the payroll" since Lokey joined the site in 2015.
Lokey said he joined Zero Hedge for $6,000 a month and received an annual bonus of $50,000, earning more than $100,000 in 2015.
By September 2009, Zero Hedge had begun drawing more traffic than some established financial blogs. In that year, Quantcast reported that the blog had received 333,000 unique visitors a month. Under the name Tyler Durden, Ivandjiiski was interviewed on Bloomberg Radio and Zero Hedge was quoted in the Columbia Journalism Review. Matt Taibbi cited Zero Hedge as having accurately assessed the level of corruption in the banking industry. In 2009, journalist Joe Hagan wrote that Zero Hedge's founder was "a zealous believer in a sweeping conspiracy that casts the alumni of Goldman Sachs as a powerful cabal at the helm of U.S. policy." Susanne Craig of the New York Times described Zero Hedge in 2011 as "a well-read and controversial financial blog."
In December 2012, Bank of America, which had been criticized by the site in the past, blocked its employees' access to Zero Hedge from BOA servers. The site was described by CNNMoney as offering a "deeply conspiratorial, anti-establishment and pessimistic view of the world." Financial journalists Felix Salmon and Justin Fox have characterized the site as conspiratorial. Fox described Ivandjiiski as "a wonderfully persistent investigative reporter" and credited him for successfully turning high-frequency trading "into a big political issue," but also termed most of the writing on the website as "half-baked hooey," albeit with some "truth to be gleaned from it." Tim Worstall described the site as a source of hysteria and occasionally misleading information. Bloomberg Markets noted in 2016 that since its founding in the middle of the financial crisis, "Zero Hedge has grown from a blog to an Internet powerhouse. Often distrustful of the 'establishment' and almost always bearish, it's known for a pessimistic world view. Posts entitled 'Stocks Are In a Far More Precarious State Than Was Ever Truly Believed Possible' and 'America's Entitled (And Doomed) Upper Middle Class' are not uncommon."
Former Zero Hedge writer Colin Lokey said that he was pressured to frame issues in a way he felt was "disingenuous," summarizing its political stances as "Russia=good. Obama=idiot. Bashar al-Assad=benevolent leader. John Kerry=dunce. Vladimir Putin=greatest leader in the history of statecraft." Zero Hedge founder Daniel Ivandjiiski, in response, said that Lokey could write "anything and everything he wanted directly without anyone writing over it." On leaving, Lokey said: "I can't be a 24-hour cheerleader for Hezbollah, Moscow, Tehran, Beijing, and Trump anymore. It's wrong. Period. I know it gets you views now, but it will kill your brand over the long run. This isn't a revolution. It's a joke."
Economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman describes Zero Hedge as a scaremongering outlet that promotes fears of hyperinflation and an "obviously ridiculous" form of "monetary permahawkery." Krugman notes that Bill McBride of Calculated Risk, an economics blog, has treated Zero Hedge with "appropriate contempt".
Craig Pirrong, professor at the Bauer College of Business writes that "I have frequently written that Zero Hedge has the MO of a Soviet agitprop operation, that it reliably peddles Russian propaganda: my first post on this, almost exactly three years ago, noted the parallels between Zero Hedge and Russia Today."
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