Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sharesleuth Shows (Again) Why It's Not Journalism

Sharesleuth.com slammed Xethanol for the third time the other day, proving yet again the difference between a billionaire's private insider-trading tinker-toy and a genuine investigative reporting outlet.

A genuine investigative reporting vehicle on the stock market (or a genuine investigative markets reporter like Herb Greenberg or Chris Byron) would have found more than two interrelated, marginal stocks to "investigate" in a four-month period.

A billionaire's private insider trading vehicle, caring not a fig about the public interest, is free to pursue its owner's profit to its heart's content -- in this case by again slamming a company it has already beaten into the ground.

Sharesleuth is apparently wearing on its readers, judging from the snippy comments on the site. This one hit the nail on the head:

Does the company have to go belly up before you write an article that deals with something else? I understand that this appears to be a shill corporation, and I think that any info you've discovered should be turned over to the SEC so they can perform a formal investigation into the company. If it is a shill, it should be delisted.

When I signed up for this site, I was hoping to see an article at least every other week on different companies and industries so that the top brass across Wall Street would start to feel the squeeze of investigative journalism and start to bring their activities more towards honesty than profit.

The flaw in the above logic is that it swallows Cuban's propoaganda that this is some kind of new journalism "business model." Wall Street is not "feeling the squeeze of investigative journalism" via Sharesleuth, because investigative journalism serves the public interest -- not the portfolio of a billionaire.

The comments (one called for an SEC investigation of Sharesleuth) were a far cry from the sycophantic stuff previously posted on the site. They prompted Mark Cuban to say defensively that he hasn't traded any more shares of Xethanol or Utek.

Woop-de-do.

© 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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