Business Insider Solicits, Then Refuses to Publish, Story on Suspicious Foreclosure-Related Death of Sunny Sheu

We first posted on the suspicious death of Sunny Sheu in June 2011. Our brief overview of the situation:

The details are thin but they sure don’t smell right. The short form is that Sunny Sheu had his house stolen from him by fictive buyers who used forged documents. Judge Golia of Queens engaged in what appears to be highly questionable behavior in failing to reverse the sale. Sheu started investigating the judge, was told by policeman who specifically referred to information he had provided about Golia, and that if he didn’t drop it, he’d wind up dead. Sheu disregarded their warning and did wind up dead. The authorities are also refusing to honor requests for information regarding Sheu’s death made under New York’s Freedom of Information Act. This story has been publicized by Foreclosure Fraud and The Daily Bail and I hope it gets more traction.

That post gave a longer form account. A few days ago, Truthout published a in-depth treatment written by Will Galison and Milton Alimadi (Alimaid published Black Star News). Today I got a message from Will about Business Insider’s curious flip-flop on the story. Keep in mind that Business Insider’s model is analogous to Huffington Post. While it has writers who create original content, many of its pieces are either extracts from other posts or cross posts. From Galison:

It is testament to the level of suppression (and the importance) of the Sheu story that BI could publish this:

….but were not allowed to reprint or recap the Sheu story already published by Truthout and others.

The irony is that BI Editor Robert Johnson asked me if BI could run the story, and complained when I published with Truthout. Perhaps, like the NY Post and the Huffington Post, BI was trying to gather information for their handlers, only to ultimately suppress the story. I must say, I am pretty shocked.

The real puzzle is that BI ran a synopsis of the original BlackStar News story which is still circulating. Ironically, the main difference between the Truthout story and the original BSN articles is that the Truthout Story is backed by 82 webpages of documentation whereas the BSN stories was backed by 15.

More documentation does not make a story less reliable, it makes it more dangerous.

While Galison’s contention above about a media coverup may sound a bit paranoid, he’s had repeated instances of initially interested media outlets pulling back from the story. Indeed, a writer at Business Insider indicated that he found the notion presented by the piece, that there is an ongoing coverup by the NYPD, and based on the information presented, he found that credible but his editors had doubts. Even so, Business Insider frequently publishes its own take on news and research; it could just as easily have picked up the story and posed the notion of a police coverup as a plausible rather than proven.

Business Insider may content that the story was overexposed, but no MSM venue has picked it up, the Truthout audience does not overlap much with the Business Insider audience, and BI picks up posts from Naked Capitalism, so that does not seem sufficient as an explanation. As the old saying goes, “Even if you are paranoid, that does not mean they are not out to get you.”