Say What You Mean. Mean What You Say.

Work / Education

Say What You Mean. Mean What You Say.

Postby Speak1 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:13 pm

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I have chosen this thread to go in this forum because the interesting use of language I will be highlighting in this and future posts must have resulted from somebody's education, or lack of. And in most cases the "interesting language" will result from work related matters.

Let's take this case.

Yesterday, I was sitting in the office of a rather large law firm discussing the implications of the unfolding market dramas brought on by the Lehman Brothers/Merrill Lynch/BofA dealings of the past 72 or so hours. I clicked for an update to a market index and the 3rd-year associate sitting acroos the table from me had to snap me out of my shock brought on by a flash notice on my computer screen about the 85 billion dollar loan to AIG.

Once I had been brought out of my state of shock I clicked for a print copy and then I was sent right back into a state of shock.

This press release was posted on Yahoo! Finance from the Associated Press at 10:57 pm ET on September 16th.

The second sentence reads like this:

The Federal Reserve said in a statement it determined that a disorderly failure of AIG could hurt the already delicate financial markets and the economy.


That is exactly as it came off the screen.

Do you see what I saw?

Of course, that was one of the very first press releases after the decision had been made, and since then some wire services have put two particular words into quotes marks. Smart editors, of course, have been doing that.

Here is my question: What would an "orderly failure" of a company the size of AIG look like?

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"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
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Re: Say What You Mean. Mean What You Say.

Postby CielOnTap on Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:41 pm

I had no idea that the Federal Reserve had different categories of failure. Any chance that the public relations section of the Reserve would point out the definition applicable to the press release you posted about? Perhaps the list of definitions is a work in progress.

Maybe due to the rush to get a statement out, many copy hands were involved in the composition of the press release!
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Re: Say What You Mean. Mean What You Say.

Postby Speak1 on Wed Sep 17, 2008 2:46 pm

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CielOnTap wrote:I had no idea that the Federal Reserve had different categories of failure. Any chance that the public relations section of the Reserve would point out the definition applicable to the press release you posted about? Perhaps the list of definitions is a work in progress.

Maybe due to the rush to get a statement out, many copy hands were involved in the composition of the press release!


I like that:
different categories of failure


It's government -- maybe they do. One of our members ought to send their PR folks a message and ask.

Somebody want to pick up on that challenge?

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Re: Say What You Mean. Mean What You Say.

Postby CielOnTap on Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:03 pm

Let's see-the phrase "disorderly failure" did not come up on a search of the Federal Reserve website for definitions. The closest find was "disorderly correction" in some other report. Then, one reply to a post in a U.S. paper asking for the definition of the phrase yielded a suggestion that I look up loan portfolio regulations and the Clinton administration.

My search has come across the legislation that established the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac entities, but no match for "disorderly failure" and its definition. Amazingly, that phrase in the Federal Reserve statement about AIG was used in many newspaper articles without the benefit of definition. So readers across North America already know this phrase?
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Re: Say What You Mean. Mean What You Say.

Postby CielOnTap on Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:55 am

The search continues for the definition of the phrase used by the Federal Reserve. It is very much like a needle in a haystack of information.
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