Ha ha - this is a great one. An all-time classic from Joe Nocera, New York Times.
Below you will find an email Joe Nocera sent me asking for my "reaction" to some odd claims he wanted to include in his weekly column. Alas, he sent the email Friday afternoon at 12:11 PM his time (note the "10:11 AM" time stamp of our email system, which is in Salt Lake City, that is to say, Rocky Mountain Time) and, as I was in Texas this afternoon in a meeting, I missed the window of a few hours that I theoretically had been offered to respond before Joe's deadline for his weekly column. Congratulations are due Joe, who has crossed a line never previously crossed (not even by Carol!) by those engaged in their desperate efforts to keep the wig in place.
From: Joe Nocera [mailto:XXXXX]
Sent: Friday, May 11, 2007 10:11 AM
To: Patrick Byrne
Subject: david rocker
patrick-- David Rocker made a speech a couple of weeks ago in which he said, among other things, that your lawsuit was nothing mroe (sic) than an effort to silence critics. He also said that Gradient did its first report about Overstock a year before Rocker Partners even became a client. And he said that Mr. Anafantis (sp?) has been discredited with the SEC's "no action" letter. Your reaction?
Had Joe actually abided by the principles of Ethics in Journalism 101, I would pointed out the numerous flaws in his attempt to whitewash the criminal activity of his friend Rocker with a “Free speech in America is very important” spin. Remember, from the start Rocker’s lawyers have tried to spin his illegal activity as being about free speech, and this is how the argument has been met by the adults who have examined it:
1) On 8 counts versus 0, the trial judge in Marin Country sided with us and against Rocker’s claim that this suit was about free speech. In fact, the judge said in the courtroom that after his initial review of the evidence there was a “high likelihood” that we would win the suit. Rocker appealed.
2) The California Attorney General appeared out of nowhere and filed an amicus with the appellate court supporting our side and against Rocker’s attempt to spin this as about free speech.
3) The appellate court recently heard Rocker’s arguments. This Law.com article gives a good sense of how the appellate court responded to the hysterical attempts by Rocker’s lawyers to spin his illegal conduct as being about free speech. www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1176282246984
The Law.com article captures one judge’s reaction nicely: “Justice Ignazio Ruvolo indicated there was evidence even ‘at this stage of the proceedings’ that could substantiate Overstock.com's claims.” Somehow Joe missed that.
I’d also have pointed out that Rocker does not seem to think “Free speech in America is very important” when someone criticizes Rocker: Rocker famously sued some message board posters a few years back for daring to criticize him and his unethical behavior (incidentally, that case got laughed out of town). Free speech doesn’t seem to be THAT important to Rocker, Joe.
In the face of these facts, Joe blithely asserts that “The facts are not on Mr. Byrne’s side” without mentioning that the trial court, the California attorney general, and the appellate judge have indicated exactly the opposite, even at this extremely early stage.
Joe notes without question that, “Mr. Rocker wasn’t even a client of Gradient when it began writing its tough-minded reports on Overstock,” neglecting to mention that ex-employees of Gradient assert that the firm had a relationship with Rocker even before he formally became a client.
Joe writes about his friend Rocker “But you know how lawsuits are: a year and a half later, the thing has barely gotten started” without mentioning that we have been most eager to move forward, but that his friend Rocker has stalled and delayed at every opportunity, rejecting the appellate court’s offer to rule without delay for a hearing: there was even one article where an attorney for the miscreants promised to appeal the appellate court ruling. That is, Joe bemoans the fact that “the thing has barely gotten started” while conveniently neglecting to mention that it is his friend Rocker who is doing everything he
can to keep it from getting started.
And so on and so forth.
Is anyone else noticing that something seems to be going on this week? First, after a year of criticizing me for my decision to issue a press release celebrating my receipt of a subpoena from the SEC, the shills are now trying to make a case that I should have sent out a second press release when I received another addressed to me as a person, though it was a small fraction as long as the first, covered sub-issues of the first, as well as issues related to a broader investigation that is not about me or Overstock at all. As though there is a world of difference between a subpoena addressed to our corporate lawyer asking for our CEO’s materials, and one addressed to me at our corporate address: I hate to disappoint, but that distinction is such a fine one it did not occur to me it was worthy of a second press release. The funny part is how it still has not dawnede on the miscreants that a fair bit of the material being requested by the SEC concerns THEM, not me or Overstock.
What would have made them so angry this week? Perhaps they are mad that last Sunday, at an event hosted by The Economist (a publication with infinitely more credibility than Joe, Roddy, Herb, Gary etc. could ever aspire to), the bad guys lost control of the narrative? http://www.cultureproject.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=49 http://cultureproject.org/video2/archivepages/hedge2.html
I think these fellows better hope that the scandal whose lid they are trying so desperately to secure never blows off, because if it does, in the aftermath not only with their journalism come under examination, but more importantly, the publications which have blithely published it will be seen to have been part of the cover-up. Which is entirely right and approrpiate. And then that will be the end of it.
Can anyone doubt at this point that we are witnessing the Gotterdammerung of the American mainstream media?