Saturday, April 30, 2005

Senior Editors at Barrons: Cheaper by the dozen?

A recent email exchange was memorialized wherein one of the senior editors at Barrons, a fellow by the name of Bill Alpert, grilled me about a series of posts on the Yahoo NFI message boards. In them, Marc Cohodes of Rocker Partner's address was posted, along with an inquiry about his wife and son, and the aviso that the time of hedge fund manipulation was fast coming to a close as their game book was known. You can read the article here.

A significant point was lost on Alpert - Marc's name was not used in any of the posts. Neither was the word Cohodes. There was no easy way to get from an address to Marc. You may infer whatever you like from that. Whatever.

Now, as far as a threat goes, there was none. That was why I was confused when Alpert asked about the "threatening" messages. What threat, I asked? I suppose Bill is hoping that by calling a dog a cat, he can make it into a cat. Sorry Bill, all the cheap theater and mischaracterization in the world won't make a post with publicly available info and a "how's your wife and kid" into a threat, no matter how much wordsmithing goes into it. I can see how Bill would be sympathetic to Marc's spin, though, given that apparently he runs in the same circle - here's a fun little trip down memory lane where our friend the lapdog has a lovefest with Bill and....Marc!!!

So imagine my surprise when, after I took great pains to provide the history of private individuals who'd had all of their private information posted all over those boards - not public figures whose addresses and CV can be found at the click of a mouse, but just average retirees, whose only offense was apparently to be anti-naked shorting, or pro-NFI - that Bill just shrugged it off. Now, I am not excusing my posting his PUBLICLY AVAILABLE information, but I do feel that it is important to point out if you don't want your info out on the web, as a public figure, then take it off. It seems simple - if you are going to complain that having it posted is a threat to you, it would be more believable if you had made any attempt to have it removed. He hasn't. It's all still there. But apparently if you post the info and ask him how the wife and kids are doing, or how the weather is, you are one step away from being a Russian mob hit team. Huh. I'd advise cutting down on the caffeine or whatever other stimulant is in use, but that's just me.

Enter Wild Bill Alpert of Barrons. Apparently he chose to disregard the entire email exchange and explanation, and instead ran an article wherein he contends that I am a sinister threatening figure, who has Marc and his family wringing their hands, worried about being kidnapped or such. How Cohodes gets that from "How's the weather" isn't explained, nor from "how's the wife and kids" - but hey, who needs to explain stuff when you have an agenda to smear a message board poster?

I predicted the smear from Barrons on the 28th, gave 10 to 1 odds of it happening this weekend due to earnings coming out for NFI on Monday. The shorts don't have anything negative they can use about the company, so they are trying to attack me and link me, albeit obtusely, to the company, and thus, smear them by extension. Additionally, I believe that they are feeling genuinely uncomfortable now as a result of all the attention that NCANS has focused on the FTD issue - and they don't like the discomfort one bit. I don't blame them. I wouldn't want a lot of focus brought on an issue if I had been using it to illegally fiddle the system and manipulate stocks (not that I'm saying that Marc would be involved in that - lord knows anything is possible, but I'm not saying that he is, specifically).

Anyway, here is the text of an email I fired off to Alpert this evening:

"Mr. Alpert

I read with interest your diatribe on Mr. Cohodes' ostensible vicimization and my supposed threatening comments. It is noteworthy that I explained to you how there was no threat intended to his family, and further clarified that the ominous language used surrounding the "gamebook" reference was in regards to hedge fund activity - not family. And you chose to ignore that, giving ample space to Mr. Cohodes' specious and frankly embarrassing attempts to play the aggrieved victim by indicating that he was worried about "kidnapping" and the like. You never indicated why Barrons found this newsworthy when I asked you, nor did you apparently read our email exchange very carefully. I would suggest that you read the comments at for the sort of response your "news" is generating.

I find it particularly distasteful that Mr. Cohodesvictimization would resort to mentioning that his son was developmentally disabled, and that your piece made it seem as though I had used that bit of information, even though I never mentioned it, feeling that it crossed the bounds of decency. I also note that you ignored the contextual messages and examples I provided wherein private sector retirees and their developmentally disabled children were attacked and still are, by crews of bashers who work the boards in shifts. I can only assume from your one-sided hatchet job that you started out with the article in mind that you wanted, and simply ignored the data that interfered with your writing it.

Bravo. Just the sort of thing I would have expected from a captured media - I presume you know Marc and David well, and thus are doing their bidding for them, to attack the messenger whose offense really comes down to making the predation on NFI difficult. I note that you managed to compare NFI to a company that is 100% different, from product to industry to, well, everything, and further made it seem as though I was somehow involved in postings attacking Cohodes on that stock's boards as well.

Newsflash: Cohodes lost the suit against the message board poster because it had no merit, and was intended to intimidate. Cohodes is resorting to using his son as a foil in order to create a reed to hang a hope of believability to the notion that he was threatened, IMO. He was not. You know it, I know it, Marc knows it, and the readers of the boards know it. His behavior is, frankly, despicable, and your involvement in aiding him to further his sham position is equally despicable. The readers aren't fooled. You should have reviewed our email exchange at the NCANS site and known that I had predicted with 10 to 1 odds that there would be a borderline libelous article this weekend, given NFI's earnings release on Monday. Perhaps if you had known that the actual exchange had been read by thousands, and your likely bash predicted 48 hours ahead of time, then that would have diminished your appetite for outing yourself as a tool of the hedge funds - a position that could be rather uncomfortable moving forward. Or perhaps not - I can only guess as to what reward a piece like yours receives, perhaps simply the pride in a hard hitting piece of journalism well done? You deserve every bit of attention that the piece gets. It speaks volumes about the theories that certain publications and staff are toadies for the hedge funds. You are free to interpret that data however you like."

What's next? We recently had the lapdog assuring us in paranoid tones that the black helicopters were coming over the horizon to get him, by reading his phone bills. We've had "analysts" admitting to 100 hours spent trying to discover my identity in the WSJ (Barrons' sister publication, and one that seems to always have a hedge fund-friendly and auspiciously-timed barb - their last article about me was right before the Fall earnings were released). We've had speculations that I am Kaiser Soze in AP from another hedge fund friendly "journalist". We've had Stinger missile connected, nuke trigger purveying money launderers getting into it with me on the boards. How much stranger does it get? It is all just a bit too odd for words, really. Why are so many "reputable" publications apparently doing the work of character assassination for the hedge funds, and nobody is questioning it? And is anyone even slightly fooled by any of this?


Blogger trans-stilbene said...

Alpert must not have realized how many people read the e-mail exchanges before his article came out. Exposure is the only way to turn up the heat on these guys.

8:57 PM  
Blogger bob obrien said...

He didn't respond to my questions about Marc's name not being on the "threatening messages."

Here's the text of this morning's exchange:


To Bob O'Brien
Mr. Whoever:

You are a very good writer, and are obviously intelligent. Disingenuity such as yours takes a bit of genius and a lot of hard work.

Good luck.

Bill Alpert

To Bill Alpert:

Were you aware that Marc's name was never used in any of the posts in question? That it was a poster by the ID of Mark_de_Shark who linked the address and name and then indicated that my ID had been pulled due to one person complaining about it?

Do you get that it was just an address? And that the vast majority of readers get that distinction?

Genius is not required. Common sense and the ability to reason are. You are obviously bright, and yet the average board poster sees what you claim to miss.


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