OLD Media Moves

Anti-naked short faction attacking biz journalists

May 1, 2006

The Sanity Check web site, which is one of the vehicles used by the anti-naked short selling campaign, is posting Monday comments made at a panel at the SABEW conference in Minneapolis-St. Paul on Sunday.

Business editor Dan Colarusso from the New York Post is quoted as saying at a panel on the battle between aggressive, investigative business reporters and companies such as Overstock.com and Biovail, who are big backers of the anti-naked short selling campaign, as saying, “But they are interesting, people should know about them. The more they attack us, you know, we have barrels of ink and stacks of money, and all the resources in the world at our disposal, legal, and via our media, to crush them, or at least bring them to some degree where they cannot do this with impunity. And, at this point in time, the Post’s stance. I’m ready to sue one of them for libel or slander. Why not turn the tables? They say you can’t do it. Herb said he thought about it. But why not? They want to be journalists? You want to write for the public? Here you go, now you know what we live through. And.. fine, we’ll wage war with you as long as you want.

“So we’re very much prepared to do these things and be aggressive. But one thing we’re not prepared to do, and the one thing I have advised our reporters to do, is not to deal with these people on their own terms. We do not refer.. we do not post to boards anymore. In fact, I told Roddy Boyd that I would cut his hands off if another one of his emails showed up on the Web. It’s careless, and we don’t know what road we are going down litigation wise. Is an email from a journalist. can that be.. can you be sued for libel in an email? You know, I don’t know where it goes. And, so were being careful about that. We’re not going to engage these people on their own terms. We know the rules and we know where everything shapes up.”

SABEW has traditionally not provided transcripts of its conference or of individual sessions online. I did verify with someone at the conference that this is what Colarusso said. Still, the comments are drawing the attention of some of the enemies of business journalism who argue that the comments make biz journalists look bad.

Read the response of the anti-naked short sellers here. They have been upset with coverage from MarketWatch’s Herb Greenberg and the Post’s Roddy Boyd, among others.

Before joining The Post, Colarusso was a columnist and associate editor at TheStreet.com, the Internet financial news organization. His work has also appeared regularly in The New York Times, Barron’s and other leading business publications. Colarusso, who graduated from LIU’s Brooklyn Campus in 1988, teaches business writing at Long Island University.

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