Sunday, September 24, 2006

Is the media overreacting on H-P?

Marek Fuchs makes that point in TheStreet.com, and he may be right. He says the media, after first downplaying all that spying stuff, is now piling on: “Hell hath no fury like a business media that was wrong — they’ll ride the story both ways, overreacting as much as they originally underreacted.”

The media frenzy on Hewlett-Packard reminds me a little of how the financial press piled on Dick Grasso during his 2003 pay controversy.

I think that the "piñata principle" applies here. That is, once the criticism of a company or executive reaches a tipping point, he is officially a "piñata" and will remain such until an effective counter-spin campaign commences.

During his pay controversy, Grasso was tranformed from "capitalist icon" into "grasping and overpaid bald man" and roughly the same thing has happened to the H-P dustup, which moved quickly from "big nothing" into a chairperson-displacing earthquake.

I did enjoy the spectre of a CEO apologizing to journalists, by the way. Now that is a man-bites-dog story.

© 2006 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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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.

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