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The Sunday, February 14 Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel took some shots at our heros today for not disclosing in their books their relationship with AOL. The articles admits that disclosure is given on the web site but seems to believe that that disclosure is insufficient. They went so far as to quote someone named Bob Steele, director of the ethics program at Poynter Institute in St. Petersberg, a nonprofit research and study center fo journalists. He says:

"To put that on the Web site does not provide the disclosure that is necessary for readers of the book. That's a pretty haphazard way of being ethically honest."

Let me get this straight. Tom and Dave put the disclosure on the web site that anyone in the world can read free of charge, whether they buy the book or not. They leave it out of the book, that among other things, promotes the heck out of trying to get people to look at and use the web site. The Web site where they disclose their relationship with AOL. I'm confused.

Personally, I have a feeling that if Dave and Tom ever felt that AOL was no longer a good place for their real money, they would get out pretty quick. Thanks AOL for your five hundred grand but its time to move on. Heck, they've also picked two of AOL's biggest competitors @Home and Yahoo. This can't make the guys at AOL to happy. Maybe, just maybe, Dave and Tom think AOL is a good investment because, well, its a good investment. And maybe, just maybe, AOL thinks the Motley Fool is a good investment for its company. It's possible.

Half the article is spent on this ethics question. The rest of the article is pretty favorable including this quote:

"Nevertheless the Fools' new book provides plenty of what they do best which is investment analysis that is just a hoot to read, whether you agree with them or not."

Fool on.
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