Friday, November 19, 2010

Salt Lake Tribune is Hot on the Story -- Two Years Late

Several times in this blog I've described how the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News, the two statewide newspapers in Utah, have failed miserably at covering the corporate crime petri dish in their midst, Today we have the latest example.

A day after the rest of the media, the Trib today finally got around to covering the lawsuit by seven California counties accusing Overstock of defrauding its customers by using phony price comparisons and inflated list prices. For a discount retailer this is about as serious an accusation as possible, for it means that you're not really a discounter after all--that your prices are, in this case, as phony as your accounting.

The Trib article, a regurgitation of AP copy from yesterday, begins, "Utah’s Inc. is under fire from district attorneys in seven northern California counties who claim the online discount retailer regularly made false and misleading claims about the deals it offered consumers."

In fact, Overstock has been "under fire" from seven northern California counties for the past two and a half years, and this is the first time the Trib has deigned to inform its readers of that fact. The Deseret News never has nor, to my knowledge, any other Utah paper.

As I described in a blog post at the time, Overstock disclosed the probe by California authorities in April 2008, in an SEC filing and accompanying press release.

The Trib ignored the story back then, and I trust it would have ignored the story now if the non-Utah media wasn't all over this story.

At the Deseret News, the only coverage given to lately was this article mentioning in passing Overstock's support of a union-busting measure.

Not to worry, Overstock, the Deseret News and the rest of the Utah media have got your back.

© 2010 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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