After news broke today that John Thain was describing an incident reported by the New York Times as “100% made up” we did some digging into questions Thain has raised in the past about reporting on his activities.
What we discovered is that people think Thain has a special relationship with facts. But he is not quite a liar.
More specifically, we found that reporters who have reported about Thain believe that the former Merrill Lynch CEO sometimes says things that are misleading while being technically accurate. The best way some have to describe this is “Clintonian”– a reference to president Bill Clinton’s insistance that whether he had a relationship with Monica Lewinsky depended on the definition of the words used in the question.
Of course, it’s possible that reporters assigned to cover Thain just dislike him and are saying these things to tarnish his reputation. And maybe long time, veteran reporters at the New York Times like Julie Creswell and Louise Story really did print a “100% made up” story in a fit of irresponsibility. Perhaps Thain is the most honest and forthcoming man on Wall Street who has just been beset by rumour mongers.