Mark Cuban: His Righteousness Endureth
Mark Cuban today stoutly defended his much-criticized plan to trade -- in advance of publication -- on information his reporters dig up for his new investigative reporting website.
Cuban's response is that he has no choice. Otherwise he would have to dirty his hands with crude stuff like selling advertising. Not for this guy. You know advertising -- the conflicts of interest and all. Naah, just turn your reporters into a personal stock-tip service. Cuban concludes by observing that "right is its own defense."
Yup, it's important to do the "right" thing -- particularly when it means getting market-sensitive info unavailable to the public, extracted by his reporters from sources who may not be aware that they're helping some billionaire get even richer.
And I thought Cuban aimed to make a buck by throwing the basic ethical principles of investigative reporting (and reporting generally) out the window! How stupid of me. All the time he wanted to take a principled, moral stance, like Gandhi or Oskar Schindler.
Anyway, you can read all about it in his blog.
What makes this whole thing frustrating is that this is otherwise a good idea. A website on stock fraud would be welcome because of the media's indifference to the subject -- as I explored in Wall Street Versus America.
I still hope that Cuban comes to his senses and decides to act responsibly with his website. But so far he's acting like just another rich guy with a new toy.
(Related blog entries can be found here, here and here. )
© 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.