I see that the New York Times picked up an item in this little author bloggie -- actually two items, this and this -- in which I decry Mark Cuban's approach to his new investigative journalism website. My problem is that he plans to trade on the stocks his reporters probe, and do so before publication.
I repeat, before publication.
That would seem to be legal, if disclosed, but it would rip down the barriers between journalism and stock research. It would hurt all financial muckraking by feeding paranoia that journalists are on the payroll of hedge funds and other mysterious market devils.
If Cuban wants to use his people's work as a trading vehicle, fine. But don't call it an "investigative journalism website," because that's not what it would be.
What's irksome about the whole thing is that the website that he describes is badly needed. As I describe in my new book Wall Street Versus America, the financial media has pretty much foresaken coverage of stock fraud in recent years.
The few practitioners remaining are under a constant barrage of criticism, McCarthyite smears, and even SEC subpoenas. I can only imagine the kind of regulatory scrutiny Cuban's new venture would get, if it were to be his personal short-selling research machine.
So I'm hoping Cuban comes to his senses, so I can cheer him from the sidelines and not throw tomatoes.
© 2006 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.
Wall Street Versus America was published by Penguin USA on April 6.
Click here for its Amazon.com listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site.