Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Brickbats Keep Falling on His Head....

...if I may continue borrowing from the old Burt Bacharach song...... but that doesn't mean Mark Cuban's eyes will soon be turning red. Crying's not for that guy. Neither is even the slightest sense of shame -- or a shred of intellectual honesty -- judging from his response to a well-reasoned critique of his Sharesleuth moneymaking scheme by blogger and journalism prof Jeff Jarvis.

Jarvis makes a series of good points, among them the following:

If Cuban had just started a new journalistic endeavor to show the way and shame the business press into reporting and investigating — not to mention to create jobs for reporters — he might have been welcomed with open arms. I’ll bet that there are plenty of ripped-off shareholders out there who’d have gladly contributed to make this a success. And advertisers would want to talk to an audience of smart investors. But by turning this into a personal and shady profit center, by trying to play the bad boy in this arena as he does in the basketball arena, he harmed his endeavor, his reputation, and even the nascent movement in independent journalism. Just so he could make a few bucks. Now that’s what I call dumb money.

Jarvis makes a bunch of comments like that, which penetrated Cuban's cement-covered ego and he responded. But he did so not by dealing with the merits of Jarvis's comments, but by personally attacking Jarvis and recounting how the latter has criticized the poor darling in the past.

I tell you, Cuban is acting more and more like the shameless corporate journalist-baiter Patrick Byrne every day.

Jarvis points out that Cuban is keynote speaker at the Online News Association annual meeting-- which is something akin to Jeffrey Dahmer being guest speaker at the Culinary Institute of America. What will be the topic of his speech? "How to Corrupt Financial Journalism for Fun and Profit"?

P.S. For those unfamiliar with it -- that Burt Bacharach song I alluded to at the top ("Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head") was from the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

I sometimes think that Cuban views himself as a Butch Cassidy character -- a merry bandit with humor and integrity -- except that he omits the "humor and integrity" part.

© 2006 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.


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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