Slate.com has hired former stock analyst Henry Blodget to cover the securities fraud trial of household lifestyle doyen Martha Stewart. That’s like Fox News hiring former national security adviser Col. Oliver North to cover the the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Slate.com Editor Jacob Weisberg told Reuters that Blodget’s background gives a unique perspective on the Stewart scandal:
- “Because of his inside status in the securities industry and knowledge of a lot of the people involved in this, he’s in a very good position to write about it,” Weisberg said, adding that any conflicts of interest would be fully disclosed.
Yes, Blodget is certainly an insider. His overly bullish research put him at the center of an investment banking scandal when the Internet stock bubble burst. New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer accused the Merrill Lynch brokerage, Blodget’s employer, of misleading investors because Blodget publicly advocated investments that he privately disparaged.
Hiring Blodget to report on Stewart’s trial will surely create ‘buzz’, just as Fox hiring North to cover the war did. But just as hiring North who was an integral player in the illicit Iran-Contra Affair whereby the U.S. government secretly and illegally sold weapons to Iran and used the profits to fund the Contra rebel group in Central America %#151; did for Fox News. It’s a great PR move.
However, just as North isn’t an objective reporter about the U.S. military involvment, neither is Blodget about stock manipulation. Slate.com should care about objectivity.