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 Ingrid Marson, who used to write for ZDNet for example, is no longer active.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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

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. [Meme] RMS Succeeded by a Microsoft Sponsor

    Congratulations to the FSF, which elected a president almost a year after pushing RMS (its founder) out; but questions need to be answered by the new president, who apparently sees nothing wrong reinforcing the Microsoft monopoly, participating in a PR ploy designed to distract from the notorious ICE contract, and even paying Microsoft (as if it deserves the money)



  2. Controlling Your Computing

    "We at least want our software to be free, and for a while, that was possible. We want software to be free again, so let's talk about what made it free, what made it less free, and what could hopefully improve in the future."



  3. User Libre: Free Computing For Everyone, Start With Perfection

    "As the threats to user freedom evolve, so too must the response to those threats. So long as freedom remains the first priority, worthwhile responses will give more power to every user, and keep limits on how much control can be imposed by developers."



  4. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, August 05, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, August 05, 2020



  5. Release: Search Warrant and Reports on Findings When Bill Gates' Engineer Arrested for Pedophilia

    Readers can finally see all the details about what was taken (portable drives, laptop, desktop etc.) and what was found when a search was executed at the home of Bill Gates' engineer while he was at Bill's house (where he worked regularly); as far as we are aware, the police never searched Bill's house and computers



  6. Links 6/8/2020: FSF Has New Chief, LibreOffice 7.0, Linux App Summit Goes Online

    Links for the day



  7. Links 5/8/2020: Wayfire 0.5 and Plasma Browser Integration

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, August 04, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, August 04, 2020



  9. SUSE is Still Pushing Microsoft Proprietary Software and Bragging About the Novell Patent Collusion With Microsoft

    SUSE seems to have learned no lessons after the aftermath of its (or Novell’s) Microsoft patent scam, which had been negotiated partly by Miguel de Icaza (now working directly for Microsoft) before causing Novell to collapse and offload its patents to Microsoft (‘TikTok operandi’ or asset stripping); the past cannot be left behind if SUSE — like Novell — celebrates and perpetuates that past



  10. Release: 29 Pages of Internet Access Report About Pedophile Working for Bill Gates at His Home

    As we’ve found nothing too sensitive in the document, today we’re finally disclosing and publishing the second release (first one published yesterday); this includes network addresses used on the devices of the engineer of Bill Gates, who had a laptop and external hard drives (portable) with plenty of child pornography (imagery and videos)



  11. Links 4/8/2020: Kodachi 7.2, Collabora Office 6.4

    Links for the day



  12. [Meme] Nadella is Doing With Donald Trump What Ballmer Did With Elop and Icahn to Steal Other Companies (Nokia and Yahoo, Respectively)

    The illegal (attempted) confiscation of a Chinese company to distract from or compensate for Microsoft's collapse reminds us that Microsoft is only getting worse and more malicious under Nadella, who is happy to liaise with a hugely corrupt and racist regime



  13. We Don't Really Know How Many People Died With (or From) COVID-19 and How Many Will Die After Home Recovery or Release From Hospital

    The coronavirus pandemic that began last year as an epidemic (COVID-19) is still a very serious problem, even half a year after its widespread arrival in Europe; it's important to emphasise the importance of not down-playing this problem (which is far from solved) because social control media is full of junk



  14. IRC Proceedings: Monday, August 03, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, August 03, 2020



  15. Release: Police Report About Arrest of Bill Gates Engineer for Pedophilia (Detained at Residence of Bill Gates)

    Today we release 15 pages (amongst almost 3,000 pages we have) about the Jones arrest; this includes details about what happened when the detectives came to the home of Bill Gates



  16. Bill Gates' Personal Engineer Rick Jones is Connected to Other Child Pornographers. One Key Contact Works (or Worked) Indirectly for Microsoft.

    MagicHour listed Microsoft among their clients, as we noted before, and the full (redacted for child porn reasons) name is Brett Paine. We had reached out to the employer (several of us, separately), but we never received any reply.



  17. Links 3/8/2020: Linux 5.8, GNU Linux-libre 5.8, Libinput 1.16, Rust 1.45.2, Julia 1.5

    Links for the day



  18. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, August 02, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, August 02, 2020



  19. [Meme] Is It Not a Layoffs Round When You Rebrand It?

    More and more Microsoft layoffs; but the media is hardly interested in reporting those and/or analysing the growing scale of the layoffs (about half a dozen rounds of layoffs this summer alone)



  20. IBM is Already Gutting Red Hat and Firing Employees Without Warning, Jim Whitehurst Isn't Even Using GNU/Linux

    The situation at Red Hat isn’t good, employee morale is very low, and yet — perhaps unsurprisingly — nobody seems to be talking about it (at least not in the mainstream media)



  21. Microsoft Lays Off Many More Workers in the Advertising Division/s and Terminates Products While the Press is Distracted by TikTok Rumours

    Microsoft is laying off a huge number of workers without properly reporting these and whilst exploring ways to divert attention away from those layoffs



  22. Links 2/8/2020: Wine-Staging 5.14, VokoscreenNG 3.0.5

    Links for the day



  23. IBM and the Bomb - Part VI: Diplomacy Replaced With 'Trade' (Money Over Politics), or How Watson Jr. Was Sold to the Public, in the Same Way His Father (IBM Co-founder) Sold His Business Relationship With Dictators Like Hitler

    Sometimes people are led to believe that corporations directly and indirectly run their country; judging by the events of 4 decades ago (IBM chief becoming the American representative in Russia/Soviet Union), this is hardly a new thing and it's not a myth, either



  24. IBM and the Bomb - Part V: Arms Control by Company That Profits From Nuclear Arms? World War II Mistakes Repeated?

    A decade after the end of the deadliest war his father died and two decades later he repeated the same mistake — the error of conflating business with politics, as if maximising revenue would miraculously achieve the best outcome for nations as well



  25. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, August 01, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, August 01, 2020



  26. Links 2/8/2020: Nitrux 1.3.1, Debian GNU/Linux 10.5 “Buster” and Wine 5.14 Released

    Links for the day



  27. [Meme] Privilege: When They're Born Into Money That Means They Know Everything About Anything

    Tens of thousands of nuclear weapons were in 'safe hands' because rich kid Tom was representing the United States in Russia (USSR at the time), having proven his skills by being born to the man who had met Hitler and made lots of money in the Third Reich



  28. IBM and the Bomb - Part IV: IBM's Watson Came Under Fire for Representing the U.S. in U.S.S.R./Russia With No Qualifications or Any Relevant Experience

    There was certainly resistance to "Mr. rich man" Watson Jr. becoming a US diplomat owing to privilege (born into the 'right' family) rather than experience and/or political track record, symbolising a sort of "revolving doors" phenomenon -- namely overlap between business and politics, or money and power, respectively



  29. IBM Loves Power (and Nuclear POWER, or Expensive OpenPOWER) More Than It Loves GNU/Linux

    As we noted last week, IBM is very close to Modi because it is moving a lot of its workforce to India and this can become a future liability to IBM’s reputation (or lack thereof) as a tolerant firm



  30. IBM and the Bomb - Part III: IBM's Watson Jr. Rose From Business V.I.P. to U.S. Ambassador in the Soviet Union During the Cold War (Which IBM Profited From)

    Like his father, who was IBM‘s co-founder and later president of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which helped the Nazis, Watson Jr. entered US and international politics in his later days; recently-declassified documents show us his political legacy


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