Fox Contributor Tobin Smith Paid $50,000 to Boost Stock

By Chris Ariens 

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MarketWatch calls out Fox News/Fox Business contributor Tobin Smith for blurring the line between being a stock analyst and being paid — in this case $50,000 — for pushing a single stock. Tobin, via a newsletter, touted the stock of Petrosonic, an energy company. MarketWatch’s Chuck Jaffe writes,

This is a unique case because of how recognizable Smith is, and it brings into focus credibility questions that I’ve found most investors fail to answer even as they are deciding who they can trust. Fox’s official policy is that “no Contributor to FBN, nor his/her firm, and/or family members are allowed to accept financial consideration of any kind whatsoever to issue research, advertisements, or to otherwise promote individual stocks or securities,” a spokesman says. However, the network, which was unaware of Smith’s efforts on Petrosonic’s behalf until I contacted them, would not comment on the matter.

Smith’s response when asked if he felt he violated any Fox rules: “That policy was added late last year … my contract was not subject to that clause…”

According to a TVEyes search, Tobin last appeared on FBN, May 28. A spokesperons for the network tells us they’re looking into the matter.

As a side note, Fox Business and MarketWatch are owned by the same company — at least for the next 10 days. News Corp. will split on June 28 and Fox will become part of the new company, 21st Century Fox while MarketWatch, a WSJ brand, remains a News Corp. company.