Thursday, October 22, 2009

How Did Fox Business News Wind Up With Patrick Byrne as an 'SEC Expert'?

William Wolfrum's blog picks up the amazing story of how Fox Business News embarrassed itself badly the other day, by using the twice-investigated SEC target, Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, as an "expert on".... the SEC! (HT: Talking Biz News)

I observed the other day that the wacky Byrne is "my Marley"--a source of never-ending amusement. But I didn't count on the budding Fox biz network to use Byrne as a straight man. While he is a tempting guest for Fox, given his far-right politics, you'd think that Fox bookers would do a bit of checking. Or is that an unrealistic expectation?

A gent I know who is far more acquainted with these cable networks points out that FBN may not have known that Byrne was himself the target of his second SEC investigation--even though it has been widely reported, most recently by Crain's New York Business. Crain's even described how the probe was prompted by whistleblower ex-con Sam Antar.

Still, you'd think that Byrne would have had the courtesy to spare his guests embarassment (assuming they didn't know) by volunteering that information. But if so, he might have found himself actually asked about the probe, as he once was by a Fox host.

Bill Wolfrum concludes that "when FBN can’t bring themselves to mention a massive conflict-of-interest from one of their guests - who happens to be a long-time Republican - there’s really no need to treat FBN like a real business network." I'd only reach that conclusion if they put Byrne on the air knowing full well that he was the target of an SEC investigation, and didn't ask him about it.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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