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Anti-Investigative Reporter Joe Nocera and The Newspaper of Non-Record (New York Times)

Deep CaptureDec 7, 2019, 5:22:06 PM
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Originally posted on 9/4/2008 by Patrick Byrne

Joe Nocera has a problem.

Nocera’s problem is not what Apple CEO Steve Jobs thinks of him (“Steve Jobs Doesn’t Have Cancer, Calls NYT Columnist a ‘Slime Bucket’“).

No, Joe’s problem is that the naked short selling issue went mainstream this summer. In the last 6 weeks there have been literally hundreds of articles that describe the reality of this crime, its effects on individual companies, the risk it poses to firms at the core of our financial system, the extraordinary steps the SEC has taken to protect them from that risk, the demands of a former SEC Chairman to take draconian steps to rid our markets of the practice, the promises of the current SEC Chairman to do so, and so on and so forth.

The problem this presents for Joe Nocera is not simply that he is on record as maintaining that “most people who understand the issue or have looked into it think it’s pretty bogus” (New York Times, June 10, 2006). Joe’s problem is that he went so far as to discourage other journalists from digging into the subject.

I possess a secretly-recorded tape of a talk Joe Nocera gave two years ago to SABEW, the Society of Business Editors & Writers, wherein Joe preached the virtue of being an anti-investigative journalist. In it, Joe says, “…naked short selling… makes my eyes glaze over…So I asked Patrick Byrne exactly this question…I said, ‘Well why do you…why are you in this naked shorting fight since it’s not really what you are litigating?’ And he said, ‘Well, it’s like supporting education; it’s a good thing to do.'” The other journalists in the audience, that “herd of independent minds,” readily agreed with a knowing yuck-yuck-yuck to an assertion about which they had no knowledge whatsoever. (Consider their yuck-yucking in the context of the fact that I have, in fact, sunk what most would consider a fair bit of change into private scholarships and education reform in the US, and built 19 schools across Africa and Central Asia that educate about 6,000 kids).

New York Times’ Joe Nocera continues, “So it’s hard to take [Patrick] seriously on that issue when you hear him say something like that. Having said that, you know, I think it probably would be worth somebody’s time to say, Is there something to naked shorting or not? What is naked shorting? What does it mean? What is the problem here? But, you know, life’s too short. I don’t want to do it.”

So Joe’s problem is not that he is on record as ignoring (though he did that too), not just derisively dismissing (though he did that as well), but discouraging journalists from investigating something that has turned into a crisis for our financial system. Joe dismissed it as “pretty bogus”, with no argument, simply asking his audience to rely upon his authority instead. He turned out to be wrong. One might just put it down to honest error, but philosophically Joe keeps close company with various hedge funds whose names turn up wherever naked short selling becomes an issue, and he has had (as you will see) a curious relationship with Gary Weiss (whose involvement in a cover-up on behalf of the DTCC has been amply demonstrated within DeepCapture).

I believe this constellation of facts is meaningful, that Joe Nocera took part in the cover-up of a financial scandal, and the New York Times was used in that cover-up.

I’m going to share some email correspondence with Joe Nocera, correspondence which will, I believe, shed light on this bold claim. As you will see, I have given Joe ample opportunity to request that this be off-the-record, or clarify his position one way or another in that regard, and he has failed to do so. Thus freed of any duty to keep them private, I publish them now, organized into flurries of back-and-forths, with minimal editorial explanation in bold italic font.

---------

Here is an exchange from one year ago that establishes the tone of my communications with Joe Nocera. Note that his replies are oblique, if not unresponsive altogether.

---------

On 9/12/07, Patrick Byrne wrote:

Dear Mr. Nocera,

I’d like to ask for your comment on Dr. Angel’s Reg SHO comment letter.

I’d prefer your comment be on-the-record, but let me know and I will respect your decision either way.

Sincerely,

Patrick Byrne

---------

From: Joe Nocera [mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 10:34 AM

To: Patrick Byrne

Subject: Re: Jim Angel’s Reg SHO Comment Letter

If I come back at Reg SHO, I’ll do it in my column. but thanks for asking.

        – On 9/12/07, Patrick Byrne wrote:

          Thanks. May I safely assume that your response was on-the-record?

               From: Joe Nocera [mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

               Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 4:44 PM

               To: Patrick Byrne

                Subject: Re: Jim Angel’s Reg SHO Comment Letter

                I’m in the middle of a magazine story right now, and simply don’t have time to dive into this issue. if you want to use that fact to blast me, etc etc., not much I can do about it.

               - On 9/12/07, Patrick Byrne wrote:

                    Not interested in “blasting” anyone, Joe: I am just a seeker of truth.

                   You would have saved time with a simple “yes” or “no” but, that said, best of luck on your magazine story.

                   Patrick

----------------

In anticipation of wider readership of Mark Mitchell’s exposé of naked short selling on Wall Street, I contacted Joe Nocera for comment on one of Mitchell’s allegations. Including New York Times designated “Readers’ Representative” Clark Hoyt on the email, I wrote:

----------------

From: Patrick Byrne

Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2008 2:52 PM

To: Joe Nocera

Cc: public@nytimes.com

Subject: Comment requested

Dear Joe,

Behold a line from Mark Mitchell’s story on Deep Capture quoting an email from Mr. Gary Weiss.

Deep Capture has come to possess a great number of emails between various journalists and miscreants. In one, the former BusinessWeek reporter brags to the crooked mortgage broker of influencing the contents of Nocera’s ‘Campaign of Menace’ article in The New York Times. ‘This is totally my doing,’ Gary writes. ‘Yuk. Yuk. Yuk.’ 

I am writing for any comment from you regarding Mr. Weiss’ claim, or, if you wish, regarding the more general claims of Mitchell’s piece, before its more widespread publication.

If you are unwilling to comment, please let me know that too.

Warm personal regards,

Patrick M. Byrne

CEO, Overstock.com & Reporter, DeepCapture.com

PS I am new to this reporting gig: to be fair, how long does one normally give the subject of a piece to comment before publishing? In the past, you have emailed me in the afternoon hours before deadline and, since I was not on my computer at that precise moment, I missed opportunity to comment on something you wrote about me. I suspect that such treatment was unusual. So please let me know.

-- From: Joe Nocera [mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2008 3:13 PM

To: Patrick Byrne

CC: public@nytimes.com

Subject: Re: Comment requested

Dear Patrick,

Gary Weiss can write whatever he wants in emails, just as you can write whatever you want in the various forums available to you. Just because he says something in an email doesn’t make it true, just as your various faux-polite rants aren’t true just becuase you make a claim of one sort or another. I don’t know how you find the time to root out us corrupt journalists in addition to the corrupt government officials and the corrupt hedge fund managers! Most CEOs I know believe that running their companies is a full-time job. Anyway, it is always a pleasure corresponding with you, and I look forward to reading your “more-in­ sorrow-than-in-anger” posting about how I didn’t answer your question the way you had hoped.

All best,

Joe Nocera

-----------

The churlishness of Joe’s reply (“faux-polite”?) took me aback, and Joe was wrong about something (he had answered the question just as I’d hoped, though we professionals are not swayed by soft concerns). But what struck me most odd about Joe’s reply was that he had constructed it in a way that he did not have to answer the question: If I say “Gary asserts X” and Joe says, “Gary can say anything he wants”, then Joe is not really saying whether or not X is true. So I decided to dig a bit.

-----------

From: Patrick Byrne

Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2008 3:19 PM

To: Joe Nocera

Cc: public@nytimes.com

Subject: RE: Comment requested

Dear Joe,

You write:

“Just because [Gary Weiss] says something in an email doesn’t make it true”.

Are you claiming that it is false?

Again, with warmest personal regards,

Patrick

–Original Message–

-- From: Joe Nocera [mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2008 3:21 PM

To: Patrick Byrne

Subject: Re: Comment requested

You are such a dogged reporter! You have a future in this business.

Yes, my answer is that his claim is false.

--- From: Patrick Byrne

    Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2008 3:26 PM

    To: Joe Nocera

    Subject: RE: Comment requested

    Dear Joe,

    Thank you so much for the courtesy of your response.

    Now the follow-ons:

1) Did you claim that you did not communicate with Mr. Weiss about the subject of that piece before its publication?

2) Do you have any explanation as to why Mr. Weiss would be “Yuck yuck yuck[ing]” about its appearance being “totally [his] doing”?

I look forward to your promt reply. Until then, I remain,

Yours truly,

Patrick M. Byrne

Reporter, DeepCapture.com

-- From: Joe Nocera [mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2008 3:30 PM

To: Patrick Byrne

Subject: Re: Comment requested

Patrick, as you must surely know, since you’re a reporter and all, I just can’t talk about who I talk to when i write my column. As for question number 2, I have truly no idea.

Good luck.

Joe Nocera

-----------

So to relate this to current events and findings documented within Deep Capture: there is a financial crime called “naked short selling”, against which this summer the SEC took emergency action to prevent the center of our financial system from Chernobyling. For several years evidence had developed regarding the existence of this problem and its locus in a corporation called, “DTCC”. Since January 2006 pseudo-reporter Gary Weiss has worked full-time to downplay, deny, and deride that evidence, but has been exposed doing so from within the DTCC (that is, the corporation at the heart of the scandal). In 2006 Joe Nocera wrote a column that hewed tightly to Gary’s (now discredited) party line regarding this crime, and Gary Weiss yuck-yuck-yucked to a friend about Joe’s column being “totally my doing”.

If only there were a pattern….

And the best explanation for this constellation of facts that Joe Nocera can muster is, “I have truly no idea.”

Clever answer, that, capable of throwing all but the most dogged reporters off the scent.

-----------

From: joe.nocera@gmail.com [mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

On Behalf Of Joe Nocera

Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 1:31 PM

To: Patrick Byrne

Subject: that Weiss email

Dear Patrick, Did your or Mr. Miller (sic) ever post anything about Gary Weiss’ email regarding me? The one you asked me about a few weeks ago? If you could send me the URL I would appreciate it. Also, could you please tell me how you got a hold of it?

Best,

Joe Nocera

From: joe.nocera@gmail.com [mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

On Behalf Of Joe Nocera

Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 10:22 PM

To: Patrick Byrne

Subject: that gary weiss email

Patrick, I spent some time today at Deep Capture and Antisocial Media looking to see if you had posted anything about the email you had asked me about from Gary Weiss. Never did find anything. I’d like to reiterate my request that if you’ve posted could you point me to the URL? I’d be grateful. Also, have been to Deep Capture, of course, I know now how you got the emails, so no need to answer that. Thanks.

all best,

Joe Nocera

From: Patrick Byrne

Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 10:26 PM

To: Joe Nocera

Subject: RE: that Weiss email

Dear Joe,

As you have apparently learned, I obtained a computer containing the correspondence (i.e., 8,000 emails) of a number of New York financial journalists, hedge funds, paid bashers, convicted stock swindlers, lawyers, and even a private eye or two. Interesting reading. We call that computer The Enigma (after the WWII story), and I personally take full responsibility for having come into its possession (though credit for the investigative journalism that led to that moment is all Judd Bagley’s). And the answer to the question you are asking yourself is: yes.

The place to start reading is Mark Mitchell’s piece here. Just search for your name (skip the time it appears associated with a recording we made of you, unless that interests you too). Then if you read around in Deep Capture you will see that we have started to dribble out the content of these emails in blogs that elucidate their full meaning.

How did we get this material? Within DeepCapture you will see that we have recently been revealing more about the circumstances by which I obtained these emails. Beyond what you see there, however…You know that as a journalist I cannot reveal my sources or methods.

Best regards,

Patrick

From: joe.nocera@gmail.com [mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

On Behalf Of JoeNocera

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 5:53 AM

To: Patrick Byrne

Subject: Re: that gary weiss email

Patrick- here’s another question- do you think there is anything wrong with mining Mr. Schneider’s hard drive to extract personal emails and other personal information?

all best,

Joe Nocera

----------

This is where it started to get interesting: Joe was now asking a vaguely-worded question (which “Mr. Schneider”?) based on a false assumption (that information I had extracted from a corporate computer, given to me by the owner of that corporation, was in fact someone else’s “personal information”). In any case, I thought it was time to press Joe about his early “I have truly no idea” response, simply by sharing Gary’s email about Joe, with Joe.

----------

From: Patrick Byrne

Sent: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 10:46 PM

To: Joe Nocera

Subject: RE: that gary weiss email

Dear Joe,

It seems we are both working late. So as long as you are up…

I am attaching an email that Gary Weiss wrote to a crony.

Two weeks ago I told you, “I am writing for any comment from you regarding Mr. Weiss’ claim, or, if you wish, regarding the more general claims of Mitchell’s piece, before its more widespread publication.”

To this, your response was: “Just because [Gary Weiss] says something in an email doesn’t make it true”.

I then asked, “Are you claiming that it is false?”

To which you responded, “Yes, my answer is that his claim is false.”

I then asked, “Do you have any explanation as to why Mr. Weiss would be ‘Yuck yuckyuck[ing]‘ about its appearance being ‘totally [his] doing’?

To which you responded, “I have truly no idea.”

Would you like to revisit any of these answers?

Fond regards always,

Patrick

--- From: joe.nocera@gmail.com [mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

On Behalf Of JoeNocera

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 6:00 AM

To: Patrick Byrne

Subject: Re: that Weiss email

Patrick, thanks for your response.. I might be writing about this next week; if I decide to do so, I’ll be in touch on Wednesday. I know you prefer email, but I think a phone conversation might be in order, if you’re willing. The fluidity of a conversation works, with the ability to ask new questions based on your answers, better for me than a series of emails etc. I did ask you a question in another email this a.m. about the ethics of mining this computer for its emails-something, frankly, no journalist would do. I hope that you will give me the courtesy of a response.

best,

Joe

--- From: Patrick Byrne

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 9:05 AM

To: Joe Nocera

Subject: RE: that gary weiss email

Dear Joe,

Does the “you” in your question refer to “Patrick Byrne” or “anyone on the Deep Capture team”?

Regards,

Patrick

PS In the future, I think that all you have to do is go to DeepCapture and search for “Nocera” to find anything about you.

--- From: Patrick Byrne

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 9:29 AM

To: Joe Nocera

Cc: nytnews@nytimes.com; public@nytimes.com

Subject: RE: that gary weiss email

Dear Joe,

Given our history, I respectfully request more precision in your questions. You write for the New York Times, and that is something of which you should be capable.

In this case, as you know, there are two Mr. Schneider’s at issue. The owner of the hard drive, Roger Schneider, gave it to me with instructions to mine it and turn my findings over to the authorities. I think that my doing so was, therefore, not unethical, but good citizenship.

Given your history of obfuscating such salient details with a consistency that seems determined, I thought it best to cc: several of your editors on this conversation, purely as a prophylactic measure. I do not know Mr. Okrent’s email, but would be obliged if you would supply it.

Very respectfully,

Patrick

--- From: joe.nocera@gmail.com [mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

On Behalf Of Joe Nocera

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 9:30 AM

To: Patrick Byrne

Subject: Re: that gary weiss email

really, I’m asking whether you, Patrick Byrne, think there is anything wrong with taking a computer and mining it for Floyd’s personal emails? The computer, as i understand it, also contains personal mortgage data for customers of XXXXX, so there is a data theft issue here. So I would also like to know whether you view the possession of this computer, which contains private data of mortgage customers, a form of data theft? Thanks for your consideration.

Joe Nocera

--- From: joe.nocera@gmail.com [mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

On Behalf OfJoe Nocera

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 10:28 AM

To: Patrick ByrneCc: nytnews@nytimes.com; public@nytimes.com; Lawrence Ingrassia;Bruce Headlam

Subject: Re: that gary weiss email

Dear Patrick,

As you know, I am perfectly happy to have you send our exchanges to anyone you want, including my editors. My boss is Larry Ingrassia (XXXXX@nytimes.com), and my direct editor is Bruce Headlam (XXXXX@nytimes.com.) I have attached this series of emails to them so that you don’t have to do so. Also the public editor is currently Clark Hoyt. However, sending an email to him at public@nytimes.com will get this exchange to him.

For the record I disagree that I have distorted any of our conversations or other exchanges. And yes, I understand that the computer belonged to Roger Schneider. However, the material on the computer belonged to two entities, it seems to me: Floyd Schneider, whose private emails you have now exhumed, and XXXXX, which has private data about their mortgage customers and potential mortgage customers. You have given me an explanation why you believe exhuming Floyd Schneider’s emails is not data theft. However, you have not explained how being in possession of this private mortgage data does not constitute data theft.

Thanks for your consideration.

all best,

Joe Nocera

--- From: Patrick Byrne

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 10:45 AM

To: Joe Nocera

Cc: nytnews@nytimes.com; public@nytimes.com;bizday@nytimes.com; XXXXX; XXX

Subject: RE: that gary weiss email

Dear Joe,

Again, simply as a prophylactic measure of unknown worth, I am cc:’ing some charged with providing adult supervision at your fine newspaper in my response.

The facts regarding how we can into possession of 8,000 emails of traffic among various convicted stock swindlers, paid message board bashers, hedge fund patrons, and financial journalists is fully and accurately described The Enigma.

For examples of the kinds of information we have pulled off of it, you might also familiarize yourself with these posts:

The Final Word on Gary Weiss and Wikipedia

Gary Weiss and his Yahoo Gnomes

Gary Weiss doesn’t like Liz Moyer

Gary Weiss, Usenet Troll

Gary Weiss: his DTCC Ties and Lies

For just one, small instance of how this material concerns you, please see “The Story of Deep Capture” by Mark Mitchell, and search for the word, “yuk”. There is other material on The Enigma that very directly concerns you. Thus, in any sane world you would not be allowed to use the New York Times to cover your tracks, but I’m not making any bets on that.

I have heard from the CEO of XXXXX regarding the wildly false claims you made to him regarding XXXXX customer data. Therefore, I will clear up here your (once again, seemingly deliberate) misapprehensions:

• The computer in question belonged to Roger Schneider, who owns a small home mortgage operation in New Jersey, and who employed his brother, Floyd Schneider, until he caught Floyd involved in dubious financial transactions.

• We did not contact Roger. Roger contacted us.

• Roger deleted all XXXXX customer information from the computer before turning it over to me, so that it just contained Floyd’s emails. I instructed Judd that he was to verify that it contained no customer information as a first step (and quarantine any if it did): Judd verified that it contained no such information.

• Roger gave (not “sold”) me this computer he owned, with the request that I mine it for evidence of illegal activity and turn it over to the authorities.

• DeepCapture quickly culled through the material and provided the results of that first pass to XXXX with a complete briefing on the origins of the material.

I think these were the laudable acts of a concerned citizen. If you believe there is something wrong with these acts (or simply if, given the fact that naked short selling has been implicated in the current systemic crisis in our financial system, precisely as I predicted and you did everything possible to obfuscate, you regret such statements you have made as this), then you ought to rethink the difference between being an investigative journalist, and an anti-investigative journalist.

Most respectfully,

Patrick M. Byrne

--- From: joe.nocera@gmail.com [mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

OnBehalf Of Joe Nocera

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 11:01 AM

To: Patrick Byrne

Cc: nytnews@nytimes.com; public@nytimes.com;bizday@nytimes.com; XXXXX; XXX

Subject: Re: that gary weiss email

Patrick- thanks for your response. Just so you understand, there was nothing “deliberate” about my “misapprehensions.” I had heard something that I was trying to track down. That is why I called Paul at XXXXX, and why I emailed you. You have now given me your answer. You will note that nothing has been published. But to find out things, I journalist has to ask questions and try to get answers. That is how it works. I will try to call you next week.

all best,

Joe Nocera

--- From: Patrick Byrne

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 11:17 AM

To: Joe Nocera Cc: nytnews@nytimes.com; public@nytimes.com;Lawrence Ingrassia; Bruce Headlam; XXXXX; XXXXX

Subject: RE: that gary weiss email

Dear Joe,

Thank you for sending me the names and emails of those who supervise you: given that you have previously dropped cc:’s from our traffic, I was unsure how squeamish you were about their inclusion in our communication.

For the benefit of Messieurs Ingrassia and Headlam I am resending my email of moments ago, responding to your false allegation about private mortgage data. I am also cc:ing the CEO of XXXXX, and Roger himself.

In addition, I have five questions for you, although any of your colleagues are welcome to respond:

1) In one email to Floyd Schneider (enclosed), Gary Weiss takes credit for one of Joe’s columns, saying “This is totally my doing! Yuk yuk yuk.” Do you have any explanation as to why Mr. Weiss would do this?

2) In another email (not enclosed) Weiss makes it clear that he is familiar with the substance, sentiment and timing of at least one of your Overstock.com-focused columns before it is published. How might Weiss have come to posses this information?

3) Are you (or anyone at the New York times) at all concerned that someone with foreknowledge of a column critical of a public company might use it to trade ahead of its publication?

4) What does the Times’ code of ethics say with respect to this kind of situation?

5) Given the national media’s breakthrough understanding of “naked short selling” being implicating in our current systemic crisis, what are your feelings now about this 50 second statement you made at a SABEW conference?

The following question is for either Mr. Ingrassia or Mr. Headlam:

Some time ago I was told by an employee of the New York Times, “Patrick, I do not want to get into the newsroom politics too much, but I want to tell you that the word we use around here regarding Nocera’s writing on you is ‘surreal’. We say that it is ‘surreal’ that the New YorkTimes has published what Joe Nocera has written about you.”

Please comment.

Joe, Earlier today you suggested that you would prefer a telephone conversation to email. When would you like to have that call?

Most respectfully,

Patrick

--- From: joe.nocera@gmail.com [mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

On Behalf Of JoeNocera

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 11:31 AM

To: Patrick Byrne

Cc: nytnews@nytimes.com; public@nytimes.com;Lawrence Ingrassia; Bruce Headlam; Paul Lamparillo; XXX

Subject: Re: that gary weiss email

Dear Patrick, everybody drops CC:s from time to time, by hitting reply instead of reply all by mistake. very few people would view that action as darkly as you do. as for your questions, as I have said I have no idea why Mr. Weiss would make those claims, nor has he ever had any “inside information” about any of my columns. I don’t give out such information.

all best,

Joe Nocera

--- From: Patrick Byrne

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 1:57 PM

To: Joe Nocera

Cc: nytnews@nytimes.com;public@nytimes.com; Lawrence Ingrassia; Bruce Headlam

Subject: RE: that gary weiss email

Dear Joe,

Boundless is my relief at your assurance that the fine standards of our “newspaper of record” remain upheld. One question thus remains:

Given the national media’s breakthrough understanding of “naked short selling” being implicating in our current systemic crisis, what are your feelings now about this 50 second statement you made at a SABEW conference?

Warmest regards,

Patrick

--- From: joe.nocera@gmail.com[mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

On Behalf Of Joe Nocera

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 2:05 PM

To: Patrick Byrne

Subject: Re: that gary weiss email

They haven’t changed.

From: joe.nocera@gmail.com[mailto:joe.nocera@gmail.com]

On BehalfOf Joe Nocera

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 2:06 PM

To: Patrick ByrneCc: nytnews@nytimes.com;public@nytimes.com; Lawrence Ingrassia; Bruce Headlam

Subject: Re: that gary weiss email

just realized that I hadn’t send previous email to all the cc:s. I wrote; “They haven’t changed.”

----------

OK…. So concerning an issue that has been implicated in the near-collapse of our financial system, and drawn furious demands for reform from Wall Street bankers, The US Chamber of Commerce, the American Bankers Association, dozens of Senators and Congressional representatives, and a former and the sitting SEC Chairmen, Joe Nocera stands by his statement from two years ago discouraging other journalists from investigating this issue. His stands by his statement claim that “most people who understand the issue or have looked into it think it’s pretty bogus.”

This, dear reader, is why I say that Joe Nocera is an anti-investigative journalist.

Surely those charged with providing supervision to Joe might be troubled by his counseling journalists not to investigate a crime that has since been implicated in the most severe financial crisis of our lifetime, I thought. So I decided to write them and see. Unfortunately, I discovered that Joe Nocera is not the only New York Times employee capable of oblique response.

----------

From: Patrick Byrne [mailto:PByrne@overstock.com]

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 4:04 PM

To: Lawrence Ingrassia; Bruce HeadlamCc: nytnews@nytimes.com; public@nytimes.com

Subject: request for comment

Importance: High

Dear Messieurs Ingrassia and Headlam:

1) Given the national media’s breakthrough understanding of “naked short selling”being implicating in our current systemic crisis, what are your feelings now about this 50 second statement made by Mr. Nocera at a SABEW conference two years ago?

2) Some months ago a widely-known and well-respected journalist at the New York Times, “Patrick, I do not want to get into the newsroom politics too much, but I want to tell you that the word we use around here regarding Nocera’s writing on you is ‘surreal’. We say that it is ‘surreal’ that the New York Times has published what Joe Nocera has written about you.” Do you have any comment on this?

With true respect,

Patrick M. Byrne

From: Lawrence Ingrassia [mailto:ingrassia@nytimes.com]

Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 2:24 PM

To: Patrick Byrne

Cc: nytnews@nytimes.com; public@nytimes.com; ‘Bruce Headlam’

Subject: RE: request for comment

Mr. Byrne,

Regarding your first point, Joe Nocera is a columnist. As a columnist, he is allowed a point of view.

Regarding your second point, Mr. Nocera is a very widely-known and very well-respected columnist. Moreover, he is an award-winning columnist, having won both a Loeb Award for commentary and a Sabew best columnist award this year, and having been a finalist for a Pulitzer Price for commentary in 2007. The journalistic honors awarded for his work speak volumes.

Yours sincerely,

Larry Ingrassia

Business editor

The New York Times

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When a nation’s central bank has to open its windows to recapitalize its banking sector while regulators construct an emergency levee around the trading in 19 firms at the heart of its financial system, I think it is safe to call that “a crisis”. Much blame for this crisis can be laid at the doorstep of our indolent and incurious New York financial press, the output of which is typified by Mr. Ingrassia’s response. Regarding his own columnist deriding, and discouraging other journalists from investigating, a crime that has since been implicated in the deepest financial crisis of our lifetime, the New York Times business editor can muster no more defense than, “Joe Nocera is a columnist. As a columnist, he is allowed a point of view.”

Actually, Mr. Ingrassia, Joe Nocera is “allowed” a point of view whether or not he is a columnist. The question is whether Joe Nocera will be “allowed” to use the New York Times to shill for crooked hedge funds by spewing apologetics for a crime that may have come close to toppling the US financial system, or whether the editorial staff of the New York Times is able to provide adult supervision.

The free press are the white blood cells of the body politic. When they fail, that body’s other systems remain in equilibrium only so long. That principle is well-illustrated by this situation.

Mr. Ingrassia says one thing with which I agree. “The journalistic honors awarded for [Nocera’s] work speak volumes.” Those awards were all given to Joe by colleagues in the industry of financial journalism. I agree, this does in fact “speak volumes.” And that such awards would be made to an anti-investigative journalist like Joe Nocera (listen to him again) goes along way towards explaining the predicament in which our nation currently finds itself.

If this article concerns you, and you wish to help, then:

1) Let the New York Times know how you feel about their columnist by writing Business Editor Lawrence Ingrassia (ingrassia@nytimes.com), Media Editor Bruce Headlam (headlam@nytimes), and public@nytimes.com (post copies in the comment section here!);

2) email it to a dozen friends;

2) go here for additional suggestions: “So You Say You Want a Revolution?