Blog — Federal Agencies
Last weekend, the Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein published a column on short sellers and how they have “contributed to turning financial markets into a giant casino which is easily rigged for the benefit of insiders.” The column described the travails of Northwest Biotherapeutics (NWBO), a cancer drug treatment company that has seen its stock price fluctuate as it has been targeted by short sellers. Building on a letter sent by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to the Securities and Exchange Commission in July regarding possible illegal manipulation of the company’s stock price, Mr. Pearlstein highlighted the role of Adam Feuerstein, a biotech columnist for TheStreet.com. Mr. Feuerstein’s “relentlessly negative blog posts” about NWBO have curiously “coincided with the spikes in short trading” of the company’s stock, noted Mr. Pearlstein.
On Tuesday, Janet Guyon, editor-in-chief for TheStreet.com, called on the Post to retract Mr. Pearlstein’s article, labeling it “a hatchet job” that “falsely implies that our reporter is guilty of securities fraud.” She also accused Mr. Pearlstein of concealing facts from his readers and knowingly making false claims.
More intriguing than Ms. Guyon’s defense of Mr. Feuerstein, however, is what happened below her article. Several readers left comments praising Mr. Pearlstein’s piece while criticizing Mr. Feuerstein’s arguments and Ms. Guyon’s letter. By mid-afternoon on Tuesday, however, readers began complaining that comments critical of Mr. Feuerstein or TheStreet.com had been deleted:
The numerous deletions suggest TheStreet.com, while quick to criticize the Post, can’t handle criticism of its own reports.
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