Swiss private bank Julius Baer Group’s outgoing chairman Raymond Baer blasted the media in his farewell speech to shareholders. [via Bloomberg News]In his speech, Baer called out journalists for their coverage of Swiss National Bank’s (now former) chief Phillip Hildebrand, who resigned after coming under fire following reports that his wife made forex trades — specifically, buying dollars — shortly before the bank established a ceiling on on its strength against the Euro.
From Baer’s speech (emphasis added):
In contrast to courage, we currently have an abundance of indignation. As an example here, I want to touch on the forced resignation of the Swiss National Bank’s chairman. The reporting was unprecedentedly venomous and aggressive. The shifting of the burden of proof, as in the USA, has long since also arrived in Switzerland. People in public life must prove their innocence and are quickly put under general suspicion.
The hunt for media headlines is further exacerbated by the yearnings of a self-righteous pack who have tasted blood. They want the prey they have set their sights on at all costs. And on the role of the pack, consisting of journalists and politicians, Jürg Dedial recently wrote the following in the NZZ: “He who sits so exposed in the glass house of virtue should be very cautious in making accusations. It is curious that so many eyes there have suddenly gone blind.”
Then again, Baer says that those who are accused perhaps should go on an information offensive to get their side of the story out there.
Of course, we must also say that the accused displayed a poor grasp of public perception and mediocre communication skills. They thus become easy prey. More courage in terms of openness and the willingness to go on the information offensive would be better in such matters.