Morningstar ripped into Federated Investors and Fremont Investment Advisors last week, urging investors to avoid sending new money to the shops, only later to shy away from specific criticisms it had levied, but maintaining its recommendation.

The advice came in the form of a "Fund Spy" column, written by the Chicago fund-tracker's Director of Fund Analysis Russ Kinnel and distributed via an e-mail service and posted on the company's Web site. In the original article, Kinnel offered a scathing indictment of Federated and Fremont for keeping the public mostly in the dark about both wrongdoing and remedies at the firms. He asserted that the firms have leaked information in dribs and drabs, revealing very little, in an attempt to stay out of the headlines, a claim that is absent from the revised copy.

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