Jeff Matthews - Dolt, Or Making Things Up...? (AMENDED)
Normally, I'd say that a guy who spends a third of his blog commentary on smarmy innuendo needs to get himself some sort of stimulation other than his computer. In Jeff's case, however, I would almost be more tempted to say that he's either a liar or an imbecile. I'll give you, my humble readership, the facts, and you can decide which is the more charitable interpretation of his fine work.
On August 13, Mr. Matthews published a screed at his blog, titled, "The CEO, the “Exotic Dancer” and the Lawsuit", which apparently purported to be an accurate description of the history of Stormy Simon, Senior Vice President of Overstock.com, and her checkered past as an exotic dancer.
Now, there's a few things one needs to know about Jeff Matthews before we continue. First, he used to work for David Rocker, who's being sued by Overstock, and is accused of engaging in damaging business practices to harm the company and its shareholders. Matthews is also an acquaintance of Marc Cohodes (also being sued), and Herb Greenberg, another Rocker/Cohodes familiar and alleged "financial journalist". Matthews runs a hedge fund (Ram Partners) and is short Overstock (via put options), and bashes the company at least once a week. He also censors my posts on his blog, ostensibly because his delicate sensibilities are offended by my ethics - this, from a hedge fund hack who scribbles hatchet jobs about his short positions while silencing dissenting views from your's truly.
Jeff holds himself out to be a smart guy, savvy, ostensibly smarter than most and more thorough in his research, as he is managing other peoples' money - and that carries a certain responsibility. He is so taken with his own views and ability to accurately dig down and get at the truth, that he shares those views via his blog, which implies that they are in brisk demand. He's had some help with touting his site, as it's trumpeted by many of the bashers on the Yahoo message boards, and by Herb Greenberg, and by Carol Remond, and by the NY Post, and the Motley Fool - all of which have been attacking and criticizing Dr. Byrne for being delusional, and Overstock for being a terrible company.
So here we have his awesome research and cognitive powers displayed for all to admire, namely by "discovering" that Stormy Simon was an exotic dancer - a stripper, in the vernacular. This revelation caused quite a few titters on the message boards, and had the critics of the company howling, and Mr. Matthews' supporters giving one another high fives.
The only problem is that it's dead wrong.
Couldn't be more false.
How is that possible, you ask? How can this lofty being, ostensibly renowned for his superiority to we mere mortals, have gotten it 100% wrong?
He went the cheap route. And he failed to do necessary, basic diligence to confirm his find.
Apparently slandering a VP in a misogynistic, sexist manner is OK in Jeff's book, as it certainly doesn't warrant any heavy lifting to ensure that it's accurate.
Sloppy and lazy, in my lexicon.
The court papers he cites are from findlaw.com, which is commonly understood to be the Weekly World News of legal search engines by anyone that does serious research. It's handy for quick skims, but is no more appropriate for doing any meaningful digging than reading a two page pamphlet is for learning to perform surgery. The reason it's considered as such is because the data is not updated nor current, and thus is periodically wrong.
I smelled a rat when I read his piece, and so, in about 10 minutes, located the actual court document: http://www.utcourts.gov/opinions/supopin/mead.htm
Imagine my surprise when it didn't contain the language that Jeff said it did. I read it twice. It doesn't. Read it yourself.
And people trust this guy with their cash? One can only imagine the level of acumen he wields in more demanding research and analysis, if this is an example of his work.
Which it is.
And which he is so proud of, it deserves a position of prominence in his rhetorical kingdom.
Are you starting to understand why he doesn't want adults posting at his little propaganda party, which is a string of "Jeff, oooh, you're so smart, thank you for enlightening us" cooing from the same 5 or 6 quislings and suck-ups? Apparently he's correctly concerned that he will be debunked, and exposed as either an arrogant buffoon, or a liar so consumed with advancing his agenda that the truth can be discarded in favor of, well, making things up. That's my opinion.
I can appreciate why he wouldn't want that to get out - it's hard to be a media pundit when you're dead wrong on your flagship piece.
Anyone interested in knowing more about the case, which was apparently a sensation in Utah at the time, and fostered a book about it, can go see and order the book at: http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2.cgi?page=proframe&prod_id=1408382.
Jeff did a sloppy job, and IMO libeled a woman, and didn't bother to check his work to verify that what he posted was right. Or, someone sent him that ready to be printed, and they might have known it wasn't the latest, but just didn't tell him. Or, he knew it wasn't right, and printed it anyway, wanting the headline value. Either way, IMO he has libeled the Senior VP of a publicly traded company using provably false and misleading information, with a profit motive at heart for doing it. That is despicable and should be condemned. I hope Kudlow asks him about it tomorrow, but I doubt it. These guys want Jeff touted as the next Herb for their purposes, IMO. Why let a little libel and false and misleading information get in the way of your agenda?
I'll leave you with Jeff's own condescending and hubris-laden words from his aforementioned screed, and point out that his endorsement of Mr. Rocker and Mr. Cohodes can be taken with the same assurance of thorough understanding and accuracy that his take on Ms. Simon contains. Which is to say none at all.
"So in this latest round of high-stakes poker by Doctor Patrick Byrne, you can put your money on the CEO who apparently entrusted his company’s marketing campaign to a woman described as having been “an exotic dancer.” Or you can put it on two of the hardest-working, smartest and least-likely-to-be-intimidated-by-a-hokey-lawsuit individuals I know, David Rocker and Marc Cohodes. Mine’s on David and Marc. "
Thank God that Jeff doesn't get to gamble with my cash - I wonder if his investors understand his decision-making and research skills when they entrust him with their's? Because "his money" is on David and Marc - or maybe I should say his investors' money is.
Best of luck with that.