When did this become the most often quoted phrase in public news reports? What happened to the word “private”? Has it been redefined by Webster?

In the recent discussion between creditors of American Airlines there evidently, is a side discussion going on between Goldman Sachs, USAirways and American. How do we know? Well someone that is supposed to be keeping all of the discussion confidential, feels compelled to tell everyone else that is not part of the discussions. I wonder what part of CONFIDENTIAL did the person who released the information not get?

I am amazed as to how often this is occurring, and how frequently it is reported in the news as a resource. It has almost become a standard phrase in both business dealings and political campaigns. How many times have we read that the information came from a source that is “involved with the discussions but, not authorized to speak to the public”? Has it become a business and political norm that the people around you in a business meeting are not going to keep the information confidential?

Now I am not talking about secret meetings where someone might be colluding to break the law. A meeting of that nature should never take place and should be reported to the authorities. What I am talking about here are perfectly legitimate meetings between two business enterprises, or individuals that are attempting to work out a solution to a problem.

What happened to when someone said the discussions would remain confidential until the appropriate time to release the final agreement, it meant exactly that; everyone agreed to work out the details and then discuss the final agreement at the mutually agreed appropriate time, by the appropriate designated people. I know that as an investment professional I rely on the character of the person and the enterprise. I actually discount information when I hear they are not conducting business with moral character. Gossip is not part of an investment equation.

After all, what happened to someone’s word speaking for their character? Or, maybe it still does? When they break the rules it tells you something important.