Former BusinessWeek reporter Gary Weiss, who has covered his fair share of Wall Street scandals and uncovered a number of crooked companies, has a problem with the idea that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is going to invest in the companies that departing St. Louis Post-Dispatch business reporter Christopher Carey is going to write about in their new venture, Sharesleuth.com.
Weiss wrote, “A journalism conflict I say? Yes, it is a journalism conflict. A big journalism conflict. In this world or any other. A bedrock principle of journalism, what distinguishes journalism from stock research, is that you carry out sleuthing for public enlightenment and only public enlightenment, not private gain. Sure, you can make a living at it, through advertising or subscriptions, if you can. But you don’t trade on the info. Ever. It is not even at the level of Journalism 101, it is that basic.”
Later, Weiss added, “What makes that idea particularly bad is the lynch mob atmosphere surrounding short-selling which has actually gotten worse since I described it in the book. I’ve written numerous blog items on the crazies of the naked short-selling conspiracy cult, many of whom have targeted Cuban — whose blog is excellent, by the way — as well as tough journalists like Herb Greenberg. But if Cuban profits from his new venture, even if disclosed, it will simply reinforce the view that journalists and independent stock analysts are in bed with the shorts.”
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