OLD Media Moves

Lay blames Wall Street Journal "witch hunt" on

April 26, 2006

Former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay took the stand earlier this week in his trial, and among the people that he blamed on the energy company’s collapse was the Wall Street Journal reporters, who he accused of conducting a “witch hunt” against the company, according to media reports.

New York Times reporter Alexei Barrioneuvo wrote, “‘We thought The Wall Street Journal was on a witch hunt of Andy Fastow,’ Mr. Lay testified Tuesday, referring to a series of articles the newspaper published about the partnerships beginning in October 2001.

Ken Lay“‘It was absolutely destroying the confidence investors had in the company and driving down the stock price,’ he added. Mr. Lay did not cite examples of incorrect reporting.”

Read the rest of the Times’ coverage here. The same quotes were reported by Bloomberg News, USA Today and other media.

Frankly, such comments disgust me. When will people stop blaming the messenger and start looking at themselves?

The New York Post’s John Crudele wrote, “Yet when The Journal came fishing for information about some complicated side transactions put together by Enron Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow, the company gave the paper a hard time.

“Point One: That just gets the media angry.

“Point Two: It gives us the right to get our information elsewhere, which is probably not in any company’s best interest.

“That’s exactly what Enron found out when it put out what it thought were good quarterly earnings on Oct. 16, 2001 – just weeks before the company imploded.

“The trouble was that Enron had taken a big write-off to clean up some of Fastow’s mess. The Journal highlighted those details.

“‘The Wall Street Journal decided to twist that in a negative headline,’ Lay complained.”

Read Crudele’s column here.

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