OLD Media Moves

Naked shorts using business journalism for hysteria

January 22, 2006

That’s the opinion of former BusinessWeek investigative reporter Gary Weiss, whose book “Wall Street versus America” is about to come out. He argues in a post on his blog that the anti-naked shorts such as Overstock.com President Patrick Byrne make accusations about the business journalism media to support their theory that naked shorting is bad.

Weiss said: “One thing I find disturbing about this naked shorting business lately is how the anti-naked-shorts have engaged in some really underhanded, cynical tactics to advance their stupid cause. Lately they’ve been — oh my, how unique this is! — bashing the media left and right.

“For example, I’ve seen circulated on the Internet supposed exchanges of correspondence and communications from reporters (note this post and others on the SABEW blog). The transparent aim is to drum up a phony hate-media hysteria. Note the reference to an unrelated payola scandal in this anti-shorting website, replete with this swill:

“‘How many journalists do you think Wall Street pays off every year to write agenda articles? 1% of the total? 2%? 5%? 10%? If there are 500 financial journalists in NY and the surrounding areas, 2% would be 10. Anyone naive enough to think this is an isolated issue is living in a fool’s paradise.’

“This kind of bonehead rhetoric is typical of the Baloney Brigade. And as for the ranting by Overstock’s Patrick Byrne about Sith Lords and such — the only journalistic issue that I see is that some people in the media have actually taken it seriously. I saw one broadcast journalist, a gent I respect, actually give a platform to some of this silliness.

“Journalists have a duty to their readers and viewers to call that kind of rhetoric what it is — baloney. Funny how I keep coming back to that word.”

Also, a critique of his new book in the New York Post this morning says this: “His eyeglass spares no one, and financial reporters come in for special mention for their sins of omission, as they focus on the machinations in the Morgan Stanley executive suite while ordinary investors are robbed blind by scams that continue to this day.”

Read the entire Weiss post here.

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