Legg Mason's Bill Miller issued a letter to shareholders last week admitting the Legg Mason Value Trust Fund, which is down nearly 9% this year, "had a dreadful second calendar quarter." But all too often, notes syndicated columnist Charles Jaffe, fund managers try to gloss over their mistakes.

Jaffe sorts through some of the language investors should be wary of, and "it's a challenging market right now" is at the top of his list, because, he says, the manager is essentially just blaming the stock market.

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