EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.31.08

Editiorial Control and ‘Missing’ Writers

Posted in Deception, FSF, Microsoft, Novell at 9:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In a previous post, I wrote about my personal experiences writing for the press. There is editorial control, there are advertisers, and in one form or another it can be argued that there is censorship. It is difficult if not impossible to cover something that editors disagree with. If it passes, which sometimes it does, it can still be frowned upon and put the role of the publication or writer at risk.

The issues with corporate ownership of the press are ones that were covered here before [1, 2, 3]. We blame this, for example, at the sight of biased reporting that favours and occasionally even glorifies the Microsoft/Novell deal. To an extent, search engines might suffer from the same problem and all of this affects public perception, which in turn influences blogs and even commerce.

In a state such as this, ‘dissident’ journalists are likely to be actively and passively discouraged from writing. Ingrid Marson, who used to write for ZDNet for example, is no longer active. Others like Peter Galli have vanished as well, but that's a controversial one. Maybe the bankruptcy of Ziff Davis is to blame as well.

Either way, says one reader of ours, “she [Marson] wrote really good stuff. Haven’t seen her on ZDNet lately, though I read it less than before. Once the list is filled out, start tracking staffing changes and look for correlations between Microsoft advertising money or other similar influence and departure of the non-shills.”

On several occasions recently, we have complained about ZDNet. This (formerly) ‘news’ site hardly published any articles after the bankruptcy of Ziff Davis. It seems to have also aligned with the Paul Allen-funded CNET. Instead of articles, there are many blog posts there, may of which are outrageous and trollish, by the writers’ very own admission (e.g. Jason Perlow).

So who are these ‘writers’ anyway? They penetrate aggregators like Google News, so they impact public perception.

“There is not even an illusion of balance in reporting at ZDNet”Many of these blog spots are occupied by Microsoft people like Mary Jo Foley, Ed Bott, George Ou, and even former Microsoft employees. Microsoft is reportedly encouraging its employees to also leave comments in ZDNet. The “L’unix” spot is occupied by one who used to back SCO in its actions against Linux (or harass Groklaw) and the “Open Source” blog is occupied by a Windows user, who is usually skeptic and grumpy about FOSS and GNU/Linux. What gives? There is not even an illusion of balance in reporting at ZDNet.

Our reader makes a suggestion. “It would be interesting to track how that occurred and how reporters like Marson were booted,” we were told in yesterday’s correspondence.

Based on personal experience — albeit I chose to stop writing in bigger publications for now — it’s the Microsoft advertisements and resistance to publishing articles that contain evidence of crime that can break the camel’s back. In general, I simply refuse to write for page space, half of which will be overwhelmed by pro-Microsoft or anti-Linux commercials. I used to protest against it, so turning a blind eye to it now would be hypocritical. The editors may also water down Microsoft critique. How come? A moral shield? Relationships with advertisers?

“I suspected as much,” says our reader. “I noticed that the editors seemed to fiddle especially with the titles, frequently putting pro-FOSS/pro-Standards titles on Microsoft puff pieces and negative titles on pro-FOSS/pro-Standards articles. Clever.”

That too has been my experience, but they usually ask for permission to modify headlines though. Imaginary examples would be:

“Linux is growing” becomes “Can Linux grow?”

“Microsoft might fund SCO” becomes “SCO: an issue of trust”

It’s a case of teasing and provocation.

Further says our reader: “For quite a few years I used to write to the authors and comment. Many seemed to act surprised about it so maybe they didn’t always ask permission. I suspect also that each victim has been given the impression that he/she is isolated in their experience and kept down and obedient and quiet in that manner.”

And again, based on personal experience, sometimes there are assignments where the editor suggests provocative titles or fear-inspiring ones. It’s all about attracting a crowd rather than honestly supporting the very same technologies that the target audience loves. This is unethical.

Our reader continues: “But I figure there are some editors who do that more frequently and / or consistently than others who might be considered more true to journalistic professionalism. The former are ones that would be addressed in my question some months back about what to do about people who have chronically misused positions of authority to steer us wrong about computer technology over longer periods.

“The pre-Microsoft partnership version of The Register used to be rather good about making attention-getting titles without pandering to Bill’s anti-American/anti-UK party line.

“Anyway, the mislabeling of articles was enough of a chronic problem that I considered doing a survey but never got access to a proper database when I had time. In my own bibliography, I usually re-wrote the title, leaving the original in an annotation.”

‘Pesky’ writers should not be discouraged from telling the truth in ‘the’ press. As for myself, I left by choice — for now. I want to write quickly and publish my findings without barriers and without Microsoft advertisement ‘decorating’ my objective writing (Shane has mended an error that led to the same issue materialising here at one stage). In Boycott Novell, we now get over 17,000 pageviews per day (and increasing each month, according to Webalizer). It’s not as though we’re small and insignificant.

Is this Web site considered ‘mainstream press’? Of course not. But does that say anything about credibility? Probably not.

Based on my observations, this question should be reversed. If a web site is considered ‘mainstream press’, does it make it less credible? Well, probably yes, especially given the conflict of interests, the need for provocation, and corporate pressure (sometimes even “placements” [1, 2]).

It is time to change common perception surrounding particular blogs. Being smaller does not make them ‘less correct’. Being less conventional than ‘bigger’ publications has its reasons. The bigger publications have sufficient brainwash power to make the small ones look “insane” because they don’t concur. Truth is valued by concrete evidence, not by PR departments.

No Value : Novell

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 20/1/2020: MNT Reform, Linux 5.5 RC7, KMyMoney 5.0.8

    Links for the day



  2. Mansion of Pedophilia – Addendum: Accessing and Assessing Court Documents

    How anyone out there can do the job the media failed to do (after an apparently unprecedented arrest at the home of Bill Gates)



  3. Mansion of Pedophilia – Addendum: Progress on Police Request

    9 updates from the police department of Seattle but still nothing material/concrete, only promises and major delays



  4. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 19, 2020



  5. Mansion of Pedophilia – Part VIII: More Than 4 Months of Waiting for Police Department to Send Over the Files They Claim to Have an Issue Opening

    The police department (PD) of Seattle is unable to open its own files about arrest for pedophilia at Bill Gates' home; it has been unable to open these files for several months, it claims...



  6. Starting a GNU Replacement for GitHub, Possibly Based on GitLab

    "It might be easier if we start from the GitLab software," Stallman said



  7. European Commission Pushes for Even Greater Patent Maximalism Instead of Rationality, Patent Zealots' Site Cherry-Picks China as Whipping Boy

    Fear of China is being leveraged to promote an agenda of patent maximalists; the general idea they promote is that granting millions of low-quality patents is the only way to compete, even if in reality that merely handicaps the whole market



  8. CRISPR Patents Disallowed, But Where Are the Journalists?

    The narrative surrounding last week's decision against CRISPR patents may have been virtually monopolised by the litigation think tanks and law firms; it certainly feels like no journalism is left to rebut them, fact-check, and introspect



  9. Links 19/1/2020: Wine 5.0 RC6, Alpine 3.11.3

    Links for the day



  10. Judges Reject EPO Patents on Life as Constitutional Complaints Against the EPO Pile Up in Germany

    EPO judges throw out patents on life (CRISPR at least); there's now growing hope that they'll have the courage to do the same to patents on software



  11. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 18, 2020



  12. StartPage (System1) Found New Spin Allies. Some Have Been Offered StartPage Jobs. Some Might Already be Working for StartPage in Secret.

    Pro-StartPage voices appear to be paid (or have been promised pay) by StartPage; the key strategy of StartPage seems to be, attack and betray people's privacy while paying people in particular positions to pretend otherwise



  13. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 17, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, January 17, 2020



  14. Links 18/1/2020: Mir 1.7 and GNU Guile 3.0.0

    Links for the day



  15. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 16, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 16, 2020



  16. Links 16/1/2020: Mozilla Layoffs, PinePhone Braveheart Shipping, KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Reaches Beta

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft is a Market Leader in Lying and Corruption

    Microsoft is working hard to describe itself as the exact opposite of what it is and what it has been; ‘Internet rot’ helps a lot with this agenda, not to mention control of the media (the narrative)



  18. The European Patent Organisation Continues to 'Piss All Over' Separation of Powers

    The EPO continues to scatter invalid patents (IPs) that are European Patents (EPs) all over Europe and nobody can stop this, not even the judges of the EPO because they lack independence (by their very own admission)



  19. Zealots of Team UPC (Patent Litigation) Now Attacking the Courts and the Judges, Removing Their Mask on the Face of Things...

    The tactics of Team UPC aren't changing, only the shamelessness associated with these tactics is changing (because it looks like the end of days to them)



  20. Microsoft Now Uses or Leverages Software Freedom Against Free Software

    A reader's explanation of what Microsoft is trying to accomplish with its so-called 'embrace' and what steps will come next (how they manifest themselves)



  21. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 15, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 15, 2020



  22. Links 15/1/2020: CentOS Linux 8.1, Oracle VirtualBox 6.1.2 and GNU Sed 4.8

    Links for the day



  23. OSI Board at Microsoft: This is How Institutions Die or Completely Lose Their Purpose/Direction

    The photo (or meeting) may mark the turning point of the Openwashing as-a-Standard Initiative (OSI), which less than a year earlier took a bucket of money from Microsoft



  24. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 14, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, January 14, 2020



  25. When Microsoft's Actions Speak for Themselves (About Back Door Access)

    Unwittingly, people are being reminded of the 'special relationship' between Microsoft and the US Army (or government); The back doors or bug doors are still there, even 7 years after Edward Snowden's NSA leaks



  26. Why You -- Yes, You Too -- Should Consider Migrating to GNU/Linux

    The window is closing (and Windows/Vista 7 closing down); the chance to use machines that the users actually control is still there



  27. Can We Please Stop Lying for Microsoft in the Mainstream Media?

    Dishonesty for short-term financial gain (e.g. advertising money) will be a big loss in the long run. There’s a reason why so many news sites perish and Datamation (where I wrote more than a decade ago) now throws away remnants of reputation by spreading a big lie from Microsoft.



  28. It's Only Factual and Truthful to Point Out That About Half of the EPO's Management Committee Are From the President's Nation (and Many Are Underqualified Friends of His)

    The patent-granting extravaganza of what a reader and contributor of ours likes to call "Club Med" will result in great pain (not just for the Office but for Europe as a whole); pointing out who's to blame (the culprits) is an exercise in practicality



  29. Stranger Than Fiction: Team UPC's Mental Condition

    Team UPC's delusions continue to unmask UPC proponents (in 2020) as totally and entirely detached from reality



  30. Links 14/1/2020: IBM Joins LOT Network; X.Org Server 1.20.7, Tails 4.2.2 and Zanshin 0.5.71 Released

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts