William K. Wolfrum's picture

    Media is terrified of Patrick Byrne & Overstock.com’s anti-privacy activities

    Sometimes, as a journalist, blogger, or what have you, you come across a story you think has real meat on the bone. Such was my thinking when I saw that Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com, had been mining Facebook to create some type of “enemies list.” The list included business writers, bloggers, as well as the children and families of said writers and bloggers.

    This, coming from Byrne, who is already under investigation by the SEC for the second time in recent memory, would make one believe there’s some type of story there. Think about it – the CEO of an online retailer is using Facebook to invade people’s privacy. You’d think this would be of some interest to someone. Somwhere.

    Thus far, however, from the mainstream media, there has been only crickets. Here’s what the MSM has put out on Byrne in the past few days. From the Tampa Tribune:

    Saturday before Christmas typically the busiest for retailers

    Patrick Byrne of Lake Placid bought a couple of small gifts at the Avon Park Wal-Mart along with household items with holiday designs including towels, a throw (small blanket) and area rug.

    Yes, that’s right, it’s not even the same Patrick Byrne.

    The Internet, including prominent Business sites and writers, however, have been all over Byrne and his flunky Judd Bagley:

    Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne’s Facebook Pretexting Scheme Lasted Six Months (Business Insider)

    Ritholtz: Boycott Overstock.com (The Street)

    (Motley Fool)

  • http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2009/12/14/1-retail-winner-we-can-all-agree-on.aspx“>Pathetic Patty Byrne & Judd Bagley Stealing Facebook Friends


    (Business Insider)

  • Trader: We’re Shorting Overstock.com Because Of This Facebook Insanity


  • And on and on. And all Byrne has to offer is more issuer retaliation.

    It’s as simple as this: When it comes to Patrick Byrne & Overstock.com, the mainstream media are nothing but cowards.

    How cowardly you ask? Well, take boy-genius Matt Taibbi, for example. A couple months ago, Taibbi more or less dictated Byrne’s nonsensical accusations that Naked Short Sellers destroyed the entire global economy. It was a huge story in Rolling Stone.

    Accordingly, Taibbi was blasted by every business writer that could still punch a keyboard. That was in Late November. How has Hunter S. Taibbi handled the situation?

    By completely ignoring it. One day, naked short sellers were destroying the universe and killing your children in cold blood. Since then, nothing. Taibbi has run from the story faster than Tiger Woods is running away from women that aren’t his wife. That’s good old-fashion gonzo journalism in 2009.

    Taibbi (when you write for RS, you are mainstream) and the rest of the mainstream media are either terrified of Patrick Byrne, or terrified of doing any actual work. That’s the only thing I can think of. All the information is out there, from multiple sources, or can be looked up independently.

    Patrick Byrne is being investigated by the SEC, is using Facebook to list 10-year-olds, hasn’t made a profit EVER, and has made it a point to be a sexist, angry, mal-informed dick at every turn. And the mainstream media won’t touch him. What a bunch of cowards.



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