OLD Media Moves

Herb asks, and SEC chairman Cox answers

May 1, 2006

At the SABEW conference in Minneapolis on Monday, SEC Chairman Christopher Cox spoke about regulation and about the agency’s new rules regarding subpoenas of business journalists as part of investigations.

MarketWatch columnist Herb Greenberg, who was one of the journalists subpoenaed by the agency, asked Cox the first question after his speech. According to the Sanity Check web site, the exchange went like this:

“HERB: Mr. Cox! [LAUGHTER]. My name is Herb Greenberg with MarketWatch. How are you? I do have to say that I am very happy, actually… when I wrote about the subpoenas, I knew you were coming back from surgery, I knew you would [be energized]. [LAUGHTER]. The question I have is, if you’re going to subpoena the communication we have with our sources, why should that not discourage sources in the future from communicating with us?

“COX: Well as you know from reading our policy, the architecture or the entire design is focused on making sure that the SEC, in its pursuit of the facts, gives as much space to journalists doing their jobs as we possibly can. That’s the whole idea. And so, we’re not going to go to journalists first, we’re not going to go to journalists second, we’re going to go to journalists dead last.

“We are, however, going to explore the facts. And to the extent that the people we are investigating happen to be sources, then they may be.. that may render them people, because everybody’s a potential source. What we want to do is respect the role that the journalist plays but also make sure that we pursue the facts where they lead us.

“And the distinction is a fairly bright one, I think…”

Read the rest of the post here. There are also a number of comments to the posting, as well as one referring to an earlier post here on Talking Biz News.

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