Were Reporters Investigated By H-P Just Getting A Taste Of Their Own Medicine?

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Peter Cohan at BloggingStocks has an original take on the Wall Street Journal cover story on Hewlett-Packard spying we linked to earlier. Here’re the money graphs.

There are many levels of irony in this story. Reporters do all sorts of investigations on their subjects. I don't know how they cultivate their anonymous sources to dig up the details that they report. But my hunch is that while they're often snoops -- peering into places where their targets would prefer they did not -- reporters don't resort to the kind of tactics (pre-trash inspections or monitoring phone calls and IM sessions) to which Tam was subjected.
But I can't help but think that Tam's subjects share some of the same fears of being investigated that she must have felt when she began to realize that HP was placing her under surveillance. Her article's cool, almost tongue-in-cheek tone does not reveal these fears explicitly, instead leaving them to the reader's imagination.
But I imagine that former HP Chair Patricia Dunn must have felt a similar fear when she realized that someone on HP's board was leaking to the media. I'm not defending what HP did; I think it's a 1984-like invasion of privacy for which HP will suffer significant consequences.

We get the point—what’s good for the goose is good for the duck, or whatever. We at DealBreaker certainly aren’t against reporting on reporters. Actually, we're really into it. But, look, it’s a bit of an understatement to say that “reporters don’t resort to the kind of tactics…to which Tam was subjected.” Uhm, that’s right they don’t. Pretending to be someone you’re not, stealing phone records and attempting to tap into other forms of personal communications are not just things reporters don’t do…they’re things that can, will and have gotten reporters fired from respectable news organizations. This is the equivalent of espionage, not reporting.
Let’s not encourage our paranoid corporate leaders to think that H-P spying is on anywhere near the same moral plane as business reporting.
HP turns the table on the Wall Street Journal [Blogging Stocks]

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