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How Does The BBC Vet Its ‘Expert’ Guests? – OpEd

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BBC News reports:

A financial trader who appeared on the BBC and said he dreamed of making money from another recession was not a hoaxer, the broadcaster has said.

Users of Twitter have cast doubt on Alessio Rastani’s credentials.

But the BBC said: “We’ve carried out detailed investigations and can’t find any evidence to suggest that the interview… was a hoax.”

On his website Mr Rastani says he is “an experienced stock market and forex trader and professional speaker”.

So there you have it: the BBC conducted a “detailed investigation” — by reading about how Rastani describes himself on his own website!

The Daily Mail provides some reporting with a little more depth (and when you have to turn to the Mail for “depth”, that really shows how bad the BBC has become!).

The ‘trader’ at the centre of a controversial interview, in which he claimed the City just ‘loves’ an economic disaster, has admitted that trading is just a ‘hobby’.

Far from being a City hotshot, Alessio Rastani has admitted to being an ‘attention seeker’ who lives in a £200,000 semi-detached house owned by his girlfriend.

And despite his brash demeanour, there is precious little evidence that the 34-year-old has ever been employed in a senior post for a bank or stockbroking firm.

Rumours that the self-styled ‘leading trader’ was a member of the ‘Yes Men’ hoaxers have been shown to be untrue – but if not a hoaxer, Mr Rastani certainly seems to be a chancer.

Rastani told the Daily Telegraph how he landed in front of the BBC’s cameras.

“They approached me,” he told The Telegraph. “I’m an attention seeker. That is the main reason I speak. That is the reason I agreed to go on the BBC. Trading is a like a hobby. It is not a business. I am a talker. I talk a lot. I love the whole idea of public speaking.”

So he’s more of a talker than a trader. A man who doesn’t own the house he lives in, but can sum up the financial crisis in just three minutes – a knack that escapes many financial commentators.

“I agreed to go on because I’m attention seeker,” he said on Tuesday. “But I meant every word I said.”

For those who missed the interview that went viral, here it is again. And for those of you who happened to first watch this here and know as little as I do about the financial markets, be advised: this isn’t the place to gather all the information you need if you’re trying to decide how to safeguard your investments!

Paul Woodward - War in Context

Paul Woodward describes himself by nature if not profession, as a bricoleur. A dictionary of obscure words defines a bricoleur as “someone who continually invents his own strategies for comprehending reality.” Woodward has at various times been an editor, designer, software knowledge architect, and Buddhist monk, while living in England, France, India, and for the last twenty years the United States. He currently lives frugally in the Southern Appalachians with his wife, Monica, two cats and a dog Woodward maintains the popular website/blog, War in Context (http://warincontext.org), which "from its inception, has been an effort to apply critical intelligence in an arena where political judgment has repeatedly been twisted by blind emotions. It presupposes that a world out of balance will inevitably be a world in conflict."

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