A wonkish spat erupted Friday between economist Nouriel Roubini and blogger Joe Weisenthal, all in 140 characters or fewer.
It started Friday morning when Weisenthal, deputy editor of Business Insider, pointed out (with only a small dose of snark) that Roubini, co-founder and chairman of Roubini Global Economics, who predicted Friday that the U.S. economy was headed for a "fiscal train wreck", had tweeted in August that the third quarter Gross Domestic Product growth would be close to zero percent. In fact, the number released today (subject to revision) was two percent.
Roubini quickly took to the tweets, calling Weisenthal an "idiot" for not recognizing that the two percent GDP growth figure is misleading: It was boosted, Roubini tweeted, by a glut of unsold goods. A better indicator, he explained, is the "pathetic" 0.6 percent rise in prices.
"My forecast of stall speed of economy (btw 0 and 1%) on the mark," he confirmed, via Twitter.
When Roubini then decided to predict the fourth quarter's GDP growth (which David Kotok, chief investment officer of Cumberland Advisors, told Politico will matter more than the third quarter number), Weisenthal saw it as backpedaling, and he summarized the economist's tweet thusly: "Okay, It's NEXT Quarter That We'll See The Double Dip."
Then Roubini really unleashed his fury, taking pot shots not only at Weisenthal but at his publication:
Buz [sic] model of Business Insider: pay writers near slave min wages, push them to write gossip garbage & have them earn extra pennies on traffic
Those who dont know even Economics 101 should stick to their comparative advantage: writing garbage junky business gossip paid in pennies.
Those are just the tweets he didn't delete. According to Business Insider, which has a screen grab, Roubini insulted Weisenthal "off the record," apparently intending to send the note to somebody via Direct Message. The tweet was later deleted.
Off the record:Because he is a loser and like all parasite losers he hopes for attention and traffic.
Business Insider saw a teachable moment! Apparently inspired by Roubini, it offered readers a sermon on Twitter 101.