OLD Media Moves

SEC subpoenas phone records, e-mails of biz reporter

February 24, 2006

Herb GreenbergHerb Greenberg, the well-known columnist for Marketwatch.com, reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed his phone records and e-mails in relation to its investigation into Gradient Analytics.

“It would be one thing if I were trading stocks or options (I don’t own any or short any — never have since I started writing this column for the San Francisco Chronicle in 1988); or if I was getting paid by someone involved in these stocks (I’m not); or if I was coordinating the publication of my stories with sources (not doing that either).”

Greenberg and Marketwatch’s parent, Dow Jones, have objected to the subpoeanas. He later writes, “If my unpublished communications aren’t safe from government eyes, then the tools of every business reporter in this country become fair game for any company that doesn’t like scrutiny and chooses to play the ‘conspiracy’ card. If that happens, sorry to say — dear readers — you will be on your own when it comes to policing public companies.”

Former BusinessWeek reporter Gary Weiss calls the whole naked short selling issue — and Greenberg’s subpoena — pure “hysteria� on his blog. Weiss writes: “An innocent guy who used to be a paper-pusher on Wall Street gets grilled over a non-scandal, and a tough reporter who is the bane of cruddy companies gets an SEC subpoena. If that isn’t hysteria, I don’t know what is.�

Read Greenberg’s column here.

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