OLD Media Moves

Initial coverage of H-P spying downplaying event

September 9, 2006

TheStreet.com’s Marek Fuchs noted in his Saturday “Business Press Maven” column that the initial coverage of the Hewlett-Packard spying on business journalists and its board members scandal has been downplayed initially by the media.

Marek FuchsFuchs wrote, “Most of the time in these cases, the business media initially comes down on the side of don’t-sweat-it. Options backdating? An isolated thing. The accounting scandals? A few bad apples, some slight restating of earnings. Corporate spying? What, me worry?

“We’ve seen plenty of that around this week with H-P. Here’s a pretty typical entry, a headline from Marketwatch:

“‘H-P seen suffering little from board-spying flap: Leak probe fallout’s ‘really more of a sideshow,’ says analyst.’

:The lead was similarly dismissive: ‘Hewlett-Packard’s decision to spy on its board members to stop them from leaking information to the press is an embarrassment but is unlikely to have any long-term negative impact on the company or its board members, industry analysts and officials said Thursday.’

“Such misplaced confidence earns The Business Press Maven’s dreaded ‘Back of the Hand’ award.

“If you treat only one thing The Business Press Maven says this week as if it were handed down from a mountaintop on a tablet, let it be this: When a story seems too weird for words, rest assured that there will be a lot of them to come.”

Read more here.

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