Who better than Matt Taibbi to write about that train wreck that was JP Morgan's foray into the world of Twitter?
I almost couldn't believe it when I heard that JP Morgan Chase was going to do a live Twitter Q&A with the public – you know, all those people around the world they've been bending over and robbing for, oh, the last decade or so. On the all-time list of public relations screw-ups, it's hard to say where this decision by America's most hated commercial bank (with apologies to Bank of America, which probably finishes a 49ers-like very close second this year) to engage the enraged public on Twitter ranks.
For sure, anyway, it's right up there with Abercrombie and Fitch's rollout of thong underwear for 10 year-olds and the $440,000 afterparty AIG executives threw for themselves at the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach, California after securing a federal bailout.
Chase execs probably thought they were going to be inundated with questions, like, "What steps can I take to try to become as totally awesome as all of you?" This one can infer from the self-satisfied language of their announcing Tweet, which read:
What career advice would you ask a leading exec at a global firm? Tweet a Q using #AskJPM. On 11/14 a $JPM leader takes over @JPMorgan
Only on Wall Street would a bank that's about to pay out the biggest settlement in the history of settlements unironically engage the public, expecting ordinary people to sincerely ask one of their top-decision makers for career advice. The notion that this was their idea of reaching out to the public in a moment of public relations crisis – we'll take questions now on how you can become just as successful as us! – was doomed to be hilarious, and it turned out to be that and more.
Chase trotted out Vice Chairman Jimmy Lee to be pushed into the social media buzz-saw. Lee was an excellent choice for this role. As one of the world's leading Leveraged Buyout (LBO) pioneers, Lee is a human bridge symbolically connecting two different and equally loathsome eras in Wall Street iniquity – the Gordon Gekko/LBO Eighties and Nineties, and the price-rigging, bubble-making, steal-everything-not-nailed-down era covering the Wall Street of today. From the public's perspective, Lee basically represents the banker who foreclosed on your house and the guy who liquidated your factory in a deal financed by junk bonds, all in one.
Unsurprisingly, the public barraged him with abusive Tweets, and the bank ultimately had to cancel the Q&A. What's so hilarious about some of the anger-Tweets Chase received is that the authors didn't even have to be gratuitous, or stretch the truth, in order to find a sore spot.
I like this one by "Downtown Josh Brown" at @ReformedBroker:
I have Mortgage Fraud, Market Manipulation, Credit Card Abuse, Libor Rigging and Predatory Lending AM I DIVERSIFIED? #AskJPM
Adam Coleman @AdamColeman had a more blunt question:
Can I have my house back?
But my favorite of all came from Kevin Roose @kevinroose:
Would you rather negotiate with 1 horse-sized Eric Holder, or 100 duck-sized Eric Holders? #AskJPM