Sure that’s not quite what he writers at the Wall Street Journal are saying in today’s front-page story. But it’s still, you know, kind of the point. The writers are trying to piggy-back their story—backdating—on the moral gravity of a far more serious story—the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001. Why else lead with something this heavy-handed?
Amid the stock-market swoon that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, dozens of companies granted stock options to top executives or other employees. Now, some of those companies are saying the grants were in fact made weeks later -- and backdated.
It’s not like we hadn’t read this story before.
There’s something a bit disgusting about this. It reminds us of the time we overheard our friend proposition women on the New Year’s Eve following the attack with the line “If you don’t go home with me, the terrorists win.” Except he didn't say "go home with me." He said "f--- me."
But, of course, the willingness of women to sleep with that guy had no connection at all to terrorism. Similarly, Larry Ribstein writes, “The fact that the backdaters picked a date that has been depressed by tragedy has nothing whatsoever to do with what the backdaters did or didn't do wrong.”
Yelling “9/11” in an argument is usually a sure sign you’ve already lost it. It’s a desperate, pathetic move. So maybe there is something hopeful about the resort to it on the front page of the Journal. Maybe it means that the official backdating storyline is becoming less plausible. To quote that Ribstein fella again: “So the 9/11 story comes just when journalists needed some fire-fanning to ensure that backdating stays a story about evil executives rather than retreating into the murk of just another story about bad accounting.”
Exactly. There are, after all, still Pulitzer’s to be awarded. Better not let this story die now!
Companies Say Backdating Used In Days After 9/11 [Wall Street Journal]
Backdating and 9/11 muckraking