Maybe now that blogger Yves Smith is featured on the cover of Calcalist, an Israeli business magazine, she will stop referring to bankers, including Goldman Sachs, as “vampire bats” or “vampire squids” and also speak up in protest when those who post on her blog Naked Capitalism do so.
I was banned from the Naked Capitalism site by Ms. Smith when I called into question the legitimacy of her sources for a conclusion that the SEC case against Goldman Sachs had merit and when I noted the inappropriate usage of the anti-semitic slurs.
Smith, who is not a lawyer (or an economist as Calcalist inaccurately reported), claimed to have based her legal conclusions on information from “firms involved” in the litigation against Goldman. Of course, there are only three types of such firms: the SEC itself and they would not talk to Smith, Goldman’s lawyers who would disagree with her conclusion, and finally class action lawyer suing Goldman on behalf of disgruntled shareholders. The latter group of course has a bias that ought to be disclosed. Smith refused to identify which group of lawyers she has talked to.
Smith, whose real name is Susan Webber, first began making the anti-semitic reference – no doubt unconsciously or unintentionally – in 2008. Since then her website has posted dozens of ugly references to bankers as “vampires” or “octopus.” There is a longstanding literature indicating the connection between such references and anti-semitism. Michael Kinsley of The Atlantic discussed the connection in a recent interview on NPR.
None of the guest bloggers or commenters who made these references has been banned and in some cases Smith seemed to approve of their comments.
The most recent such reference occurred on May 19, in response to a post attacking Goldman for alleged conflicts of interest by Smith, which read: “the Vampire Squid writhes ever onward”. Although Smith frequently replies to comments on her blog she did not reply to this comment. A search of her blog today found some 90 references to Goldman and the vampire slur.
As Susan Webber, Smith runs a small consulting business connected to the financial industry known as Aurora Advisors, which owns the Naked Capitalism site. The Aurora website states that Webber was an associate at Goldman Sachs in the early 1980s.