Response for Chris Faille

From: Christopher Faille [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2008 3:06 PM
To: XXX
Subject: an e-mail from Byrne to Herb Greenberg last week?

XXX

Thank you for the kind words.

There is something you might be able to help me with. Something on Herb Greenberg’s blog on MarketWatch has me shaking my head.

As you presumably know, Mr. Greenberg is himself one of the centers of controversy about so-called short-and-distort stock price manipulation. He received a subpoena from the SEC in 2006.

Anyway, back in 2008: on April 15, Greenberg announced that he’ll soon be leaving MarketWatch to start an independent research firm.

The following day, he said that he had received an e-mail from Patrick Byrne, which he posted. I’ll paste it below, in italics.

It raises obvious questions. One might of course suspect a prank — some third party could have sent it pretending to be Byrne for whatever reason. So the first question is: does Byrne acknowledge authorship of the e-mail below?

Second: the wording seems odd. As Byrne knows, it is customary when a reporter is asking a source to comment on allegations to be quite concrete about what allegations, from whom, in what context. For example, I recently asked Byrne to comment on a specific cross-complaint filed in a specific court by a specific defendant in an ongoing lawsuit. That is very different from the vagueness of “There are allegations that…”!

Allegations never just “are”! Somebody alleges something. So: is Byrne himself using this wording to make the allegation himself (in essence, that Greenberg isn’t leaving voluntarily)? or is he saying that he has heard such things? in some context or other? are the allegations in any publication or website or whatever, and were they there prior to the moment when Greenberg quoted Byrne’s e-mail?

I look forward to any light you can shed on all this.

Dear Herb,
There are allegations that you were terminated upon CBSMarketWatch’s observation that positions in your columns overlap with the trading positions of certain hedge funds. What is your comment on these allegations?
Respectfully,
Patrick M. Byrne, Journalist

Christopher Faille
Senior Financial Correspondent
Lipper HedgeWorld
XXXX
Enfield, CT 06082
TEL XXXX
XXXX

==========================================================================================================

Dear Mr. Faille,

I will address your questions in the order you raise them.

1) “Does Byrne acknowledge authorship of the e-mail below?”

Yes, proudly.

2) “Second: the wording seems odd. As Byrne knows, it is customary when a reporter is asking a source to comment on allegations to be quite concrete about what allegations, from whom, in what context. For example, I recently asked Byrne to comment on a specific cross-complaint filed in a specific court by a specific defendant in an ongoing lawsuit. That is very different from the vagueness of ‘There are allegations that…’!”

This is quite definitely false. Financial reporters have often called me asking me to respond to rumors with no source the reporter was willing to identify. For example, in June 2006 Herb called me to ask about a rumor then being circulated. When I told him I would respond when he identified his source, his answer was, “You can answer my question, or not answer my question.” Second and third examples came last Q2, from Roddy Boyd and another reporter I will not identify (because he is a good guy), both of whom called me over an identical (largely false) leak they had been fed. So I think that your theory regarding the SOP for financial reporters is false.


3) “So: is Byrne himself using this wording to make the allegation himself (in essence, that Greenberg isn’t leaving voluntarily)? or is he saying that he has heard such things? in some context or other? are the allegations in any publication or website or whatever, and were they there prior to the moment when Greenberg quoted Byrne’s e-mail?”

Yes, I definitely did hear this rumor prior to writing Herb: I’m sorry, as a journalist I cannot reveal my source.

Best always,
Patrick

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