Friday, August 21, 2009

NPR Shuts Down Patrick Byrne Smear Campaign


National Public Radio won't let Byrne libel critic on its site

Yesterday I described how Overstock.com's wacky CEO, Patrick Byrne, dispatched his hireling Judd Bagley to the National Public Radio website for the purpose of smearing Sam Antar, the felon turned white collar crime fighter.

Sam had committed the crime of actually appearing on a radio program! Imagine that. What a cur. He didn't mention Overstock or Byrne--whose accounting practices he has severely criticized--but Byrne was not about to let Sam appear on a radio show without telling his listeners what a bad person he is, and that his debunking of Overstock.com's smoke-and-mirror earnings just isn't true.

Bagley and then Byrne appeared in the comments section of an NPR blog--which didn't mention Overstock, Byrne or any subject, I must re-emphasize--to smear Antar with lies accusing him of stock manipulation.

I re-re-repeat, the broadcast and blog had absolutely nothing to do with Overstock, Bagley or anything related, and nobody in the comments section breathed a word about any of that. It was character assassination and cyberstalking, pure and simple.

Bagley then exorted the brain-dead league at a stock message board to swarm over NPR, which they did in the finest astroturfing fashion by showering Byrne's and Bagley's posts with recommendations.

Well, it seems that this latest front of the Overstock Campaign of Menace (as Joe Nocera has put it), has fallen flat. An NPR staffer has stepped in to remind Byrne--who makes his living off the Internet, remember--that you can't just come on the NPR message boards to attack one of their guests, just because their analyses of your accounting makes you unhappy.

NPR staffer Caitlin Kenney posted the following comment this morning:
All comments that are not germane to this interview have been removed. Personal attacks will not be allowed in this space and if they continue, we will close the comments here. Thank you.
I'm sure that Caitlin Kenney will now go on Byrne's ever-lengthening enemies list.

Not to worry. Byrne will find other venues for his attacks on critics, perhaps some low-wattage AM station in Outer Moron, Arizona or some far-right cookaroo in Foxland. His reputation will be ground even more surely into dust. No amount of flacking by p.r. consultants and softball interviews is going to change that.

I wonder if any of the people he pays to exorcise his image have ever said to him, "Mr. Byrne, try not acting like a complete nutcase."

Don't listen, Byrne. For bloggers everywhere you're the gift that keeps on giving. There are critics to be stalked, fairy tales to construct, lies to tell. Keep up the good work.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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