Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mark Cuban Gets Mushy With Moi

Mark Cuban has some surprisingly mushy words about yours truly in a softball nterview with Portfolio Online. The 170 (and counting) derisive reader comments were a lot more interesting than the interview, but I thought his latest defense of the Shareleuth insider trading project was worth noting.

Referring to my criticism of Sharesleuth, Cuban said:

Gary Weiss is a nice guy, and I actually like checking out and reading his blog. We agree on more than we disagree on, but Gary’s commenting on Sharesleuth is nothing more than trying to get his name in the paper or a magazine somewhere.

Me, a "nice guy"? Aw, gee, shucks. Wish I could return the compliment. He goes on to say that he's "more than covered my costs with trade ideas brought to me by Chris"--which in my view is not a heck of a lot less sleazy than trading ahead of Shareseluth. I can't recall Terry McGraw ever asking me for "trading ideas" when I worked at Business Week.

This goes back to the view I've expressed before, which is that Cuban shouldn't be allowed within a quarter-mile of a newsroom. Whether or not he "agrees" with me or I "agree" with him is beside the point. The issue is Sharesleuth's "business model," which violates a bedrock principal of journalism -- you don't personally profit from articles published on your website.

Also, he's dead wrong on the last point. I turned down a chance to appear on network TV to talk about Sharesleuth not long ago, and I wouldn't even cooperate off-camera. A reporter for magazine X (Cuban knows what I'm talking about), can attest to how reluctant I was to talk about it for an upcoming article. OK, I did, but reluctantly. I'd have preferred to just rest on my previous items in this blog.

I just wasn't interested in giving Sharesleuth any oxygen via publicity (and no, I don't view my little hobby bloggie as publicity). As I've said, Sharesleuth is a flop, both commercially and journalistically. Let it die quietly. But the important thing is, let it die.

Bad as Sharesleuth is, let's put this in perspective. Mark Cuban has done a lot worse things than created that stupid website. Just look at how he financed the distribution of a film called "Loose Change" that regurgitates every nutty, discredited conspiracy theory about Sept. 11. It's disgraceful that he would promulgate such crap. On the "stupid" chart, Sharesleuth is a solid 7 while "Loose Change" is a 13, on a scale of 1 to 10. Odd that the subject never came up in the interview. (No, not odd, this being Portfolio.)

If he doesn't know what to do with his money, why doesn't he put it in a pile and light a match?

© 2007 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 listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site,

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