Media Moves

Who is happy with ShareSleuth.com?

August 21, 2006

Ben Silverman, a former business columnist for the New York Post, wrote Monday that the trading being done by billionaire investor Mark Cuban in stocks written about on the business journalism Web site, ShareSleuth.com, he is funding has earned him at least one friend.

Silverman wrote, “The person who should probably be most excited about the criticism being directed at Mark Cuban is Patrick Byrne, the chief executive officer of Overstock.com.

“Cuban, by promoting Sharesleuth.com as a journalistic endeavor, has given Byrne more ammunition for his misguided war against the financial media. I imagine Byrne, if asked, could point to Sharesleuth.com as an example of how ‘miscreants’ can wreak havoc on the public markets, and in doing so, throw the words ‘responsible journalism’ out.

“This is the perception versus reality problem. If Carey wants to continue to hold himself out as a journalist, it has a negative impact on other financial journalists, and opens doors for bullies like Byrne to try to squelch the media’s ability to do its job. Carey and Cuban are essentially telling the public that Sharesleuth.com is operating under the same standards at The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, but no one I know at those newspapers is tipping off their publishers about potentially profitable stock trades.

“Perhaps it’s just a matter of semantics – after all, ‘journalism’ is a rather ambiguous term in this day and age. The financial journalists I’ve talked to about the matter all have a lot of respect for Carey, and more than a few are envious of the fact that he was able to find a backer to do the type of investigative work that journalists crave and that is missing from too many business publications (I’m no different, and after Sharesleuth.com was announced, I sent a Carey a note saying so).”

Silverman also notes that there are other Web site investors shorting stocks. The difference between them and ShareSleuth is that they don’t present themselves as journalism.

Read more here.

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