Billionaire Ray Dalio just went off on the New York Times again – this time at one of the newspaper’s own events.
“I’d like to talk about the ridiculous New York Times article,” Dalio told moderator and Times’ editor Charles Duhigg in response to his question about how he handles criticism. Dalio is the founder of Westport, Conn.-based Bridgewater Associates, the world’s biggest hedge fund with about $103 billion in assets.
Dalio was referring to an article that the Times ran earlier this week that detailed a case in which Dalio fired at least one staffer via a company-wide email and an instance where the company had employees review a video challenging whether a senior executive had lied.
Asked about his opinion that the story had been “miscovered,” Dalio said: “Worse than that, it was intentionally done.”
“There are journalists, writers who are intended to be, let’s call them investigative reporting,” Dalio added later in the talk. “And they’re supposed to come out with things that they think are scandalous. And as a result of doing that, they kind of weave together things in ways that are meant to be, like, they say, good news that doesn’t sell. So it’s meant to be that way. So in the interactions that I’ve had with ’em, there has not been a desire to get at truth.”
Dalio didn’t specifically dispute any facts in the Times article, and a spokeswoman for the paper said it stands by its story. Criticizing the media has become something of a passion for Dalio. In early January, he wrote a 2,700-word post on LinkedIn about a Wall Street Journal story about Bridgewater, and last year wrote a separate LinkedIn post that called a different New York Times report “a distortion of reality.” Last week, when the company announced that it was changing up its management team, he published the memo announcing the change on LinkedIn. Dalio wrote that he had made that decision because “our communications often find their way into the media in distorted ways.”
The news reports about Dalio all dig into Bridgewater’s unique and highly scrutinized culture – which includes the recording of nearly all staff conversations to make them available to other employees in a policy he calls radical transparency. Dalio addressed this at the conference and compared the practice to nudist camps.
“Ninety-nine percent of the meetings are taped for everybody to see,” Dalio said.
“Not everyone wants to stand naked in front of everybody,” he later added. “It’s a little bit like going into a nudist camp for the first time. I don’t know if you’ve ever gone into a nudist camp, but in other words, you first walk into a nudist camp and it’s very awkward… If you can stand naked in front of other people and have them stand naked in front of you, you can have actually better relationships and be more productive.”
Bridgewater manages about $103 billion in hedge fund assets as of midyear 2016, according to the HFI Billion Dollar Club ranking.
You can watch a recording of Dalio’s comments here.