OLD Media Moves

Overstock CEO gets creepy with attacks on biz reporters

February 21, 2007

Bloomberg columnist Susan Antilla writes Wednesday about the recent tactics taken by Overstock.com and CEO Patrick Byrne in attacking business reporters he believes are in cahoots with naked short sellers driving down his stock price.

Susan AntillaAntilla wrote, “Googlers got a little surprise last week if they went trolling for information about author Gary Weiss, a former Business Week magazine reporter well regarded for exposing bad guys in business.

“Two ads popped up directing readers to antisocialmedia.net, a Web site that says Weiss is a bad guy himself. It is part of a campaign that includes Overstock.com Inc. and its director of social media, Judd Bagley, a self-proclaimed user of ‘guerilla’ business strategies who says he runs the page independent of his employer. Weiss calls the page ‘a compendium of malicious lies.'”

Later, Antilla noted, “No slave to subtlety, Byrne appeared on CNBC last February and called Marketwatch.com columnist Herb Greenberg ‘a crooked reporter’ who was in cahoots with Gradient.

“Greenberg doesn’t have much nice to say about Byrne, either. ‘This guy has gone way over the line,’ he said in an interview. ‘I don’t think he knows the difference between fact and fiction.'”

And finally, Antilla pointed out: “In an e-mail reply to my questions, Byrne said that he was simply exposing wrongdoers, which include the malefactors who collude to destroy his stock. I would happily map out Byrne’s exact words, but he wouldn’t agree to an interview unless I only quoted full sentences from his e-mails. Brevity isn’t his style.”

Read more here.

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