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

07.07.10

News Failure

Posted in Marketing, Microsoft at 7:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Investigative journalism is dying

Love searching

Summary: New evidence that news/opinion sites rent themselves to corporate interests rather than maintain independent, professional judgment

EARLIER THIS year we wrote about the corruption of news by PR agencies. At Techrights we have a policy of ignoring or telling off PR people. PR is — by definition — associated with reality distortion fields.

Some sites pretend to be news sites, but they are merely an aggregation of output from people with agenda, sometimes commercial agenda (like the company they work for). Previously we showed how the Huffington Post gave Microsoft and the Gates Foundation a platform [1, 2, 3]. Arianna Huffington herself sells out to Microsoft by offering Microsoft (and Gates) a platform it does not deserve.

ScienceBlogs helps expose the type of things the Huffington Post lets notorious groups post without apprehension:

At ScienceBlogs we value our independence. Just consider the recent posts over the laughable PepsiCo nutrition blog to see how seriously people take this. But one thing that would never happen is for anything we write to be edited without our consent.

As I wrote yesterday, I am disappointed in the Huffington Post’s decision to grant a public stage to David Klinghoffer, Senior Fellow at the intelligent design “think tank” known as the Discovery Institute. DI is a self-avowed propaganda vehicle seeking to “wedge” religion into public schools. Once HuffPo handed him the megaphone Klinghoffer proceeded to assert blatant falsehoods about how Charles Darwin was responsible for inspiring Nazi eugenic policies towards a goal of racial purity, claims that have been refuted again and again.

[...]

Needless to say, the Huffington Post has had a very poor record as far as science is concerned. A simple search will bring hundreds of posts in the last few years from this network alone (and I guarantee you most will be critical). However, in contrast, some of their political writing has been quite good (see here and here for two recent examples). Since I am a political writer, as well as a science writer, I was conflicted about the opportunity to write for them. However, the positive response I received from my critique of US policy in Haiti and the abuses of Coca-Cola suggested I made the right choice.

But what should be done now? Reject Huffington Post as a hopeless loony bin? Focus only on political writing and let the pseudoscientific ramblings fester in their stew of illogic? Or is it useful to have a few contrarians in the mix?

Ironically enough (probably by sheer coincidence), on just about the same day ScienceBlogs (which offered the criticism above) is exposed by The Guardian, which occasionally sells out to Microsoft by offering Microsoft a platform it does not deserve [1, 2, 3, 4].

“At ScienceBlogs we value our independence,” says a writer from ScienceBlogs, but The Guardian shows them selling out too:

• Should ScienceBlogs.com have agreed to host a controversial blog on nutrition, written by PepsiCo? No, say the site’s readers, as some of its star bloggers stop their blogs in protest

Much consternation over at the home of science blogging, ScienceBlogs. The forum for the brilliant Orac, Pharynula, Molecule of the Day, and countless other insightful, funny and informative blogs has decided upon a bizarre new strategy in sourcing new posts. As of yesterday, the platform will host a new blog written by food giant PepsiCo, all about the company’s specialist subject of refreshing sugary drinks and their benefits for dental and dietary health.

Sorry, no, PepsiCo’s scientific staff will be writing about nutrition on the new Food Frontiers blog. I’ll give you a moment to get back on your chair.

There is a level of hypocrisy here because The Guardian does promotional things for companies. It’s good that Microsoft Jack has more or less left The Guardian, but he keeps posting in ZDNet UK instead (even this week). They merely relocated the problem and almost no publication is worse than ZDNet when it comes to corporate bias. We gave heaps of examples before.

“The analysts…the financial analysts particularly carry a lot of weight. We may think that, you know, Christine Comerford and Jesse Burst and other people who write in the Windows magazines are important, but the most important analysts are the guys who work for, like, Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers and the other financial analysts. And if you can influence those guys’ opinions…and they almost never hear directly from. like, evangelists, and so when they do you have to be real careful. You don’t want Bill calling you up and saying, “What was this I saw from your _______?“ You have to be real careful. But going to those guys and giving them information can be very, very leveraged, because, you know, everybody reads PC Week, but the VPs and above, those guys are reading the Goldman Sacks analyst reports. They’re the guys, you know, really making the decisions.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

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

2 Comments

  1. BrownieBoy said,

    July 8, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Gravatar

    >> It’s good that Microsoft Jack has more or less left The Guardian, but he
    >> keeps posting in ZDNet UK instead (even this week). They [the Guardian} >> merely relocated the problem…

    What was the Guardian supposed to do with Schofield, Roy? Bump him off, maybe?

    Once he’s left their employ, he’s free to do what he likes.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I’m not blaming the Guardian for it. I was referring to ZDNet, which even adds Microsoft employees as bloggers (e.g. John).

What Else is New


  1. Links 26/2/2020: Cosmo Communicator 2-in-1, FSF Outlines Plans for Code Hosting

    Links for the day



  2. Reminder: At Linux Foundation in 2020 Three Board Members, Including the Vice Chair and Director at Large, Are Current or Past Microsoft Employees

    Sometimes the facts speak for themselves (or pictures speak louder than words)



  3. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, February 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, February 25, 2020



  4. Links 25/2/2020: MakuluLinux LinDoz and Manjaro 19.0 Released

    Links for the day



  5. FSF's Interim Co-President Alexandre Oliva on FSF Communication Policies

    Surely I, being acting president and then half-acting president, must suck as a manager. I probably do indeed, but it's not so simple.



  6. The EU's EUIPO Will Later Today Help the EPO (Run by EUIPO's Former Chief) Promote Illegal Software Patents

    Propaganda terms such as "intellectual property rights" and meaningless concepts like "technical effect" are being used to promote so-called 'computer-implemented inventions' (software patents by another name)



  7. Growing Acceptance That There's No Future to the UPC System and the Unitary Patent

    There are growing pains and more signs that even key elements of Team UPC move on, accepting the demise of the UPC



  8. Emulating the Linux Foundation's Business Model (Selling Influence)

    LibrePlanet sponsors are presented with benefits of offering money to the event (or to the FSF)



  9. Guest Article: LibrePlanet Attendees Should Demand a Partial Refund

    What we do know is — that the FSF is no longer “Free as in Speech!”



  10. IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, February 24, 2020



  11. An FSF That Rejects Its Founder Would Not Remain FSF As We Once Knew It

    It's important to keep the FSF focused on its goals; that won't be achieved by expelling those who insist on these goals



  12. Links 24/2/2020: Linux 5.6 RC3, Netrunner 20.01, Google Summer of Code 2020 Mentoring Organisations Announced

    Links for the day



  13. Alexandre Oliva's New Article About a Coup

    Some people try to tell me that the criticism I've got, inside the FSF and outside, since the Free Software Sept 11, are not about my being supportive of RMS, but about my making public statements referencing him at all.



  14. Debian Leadership Should Not be 'Shy' of Politics (and It's OK to Admit Palestinians Are Human Beings Too)

    The contemporary tendency to limit people's freedom of speech (e.g. permission to express political views) means that while people may find software freedom they will lose other essential freedoms



  15. New Series: Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

    In the interest and motivation of exposing the true nature of things, Techrights will turn its attention to internal affairs at the higher echelons of the FSF, founded more than three and a half decades ago in MIT (where Stallman launched the GNU Project, developed the GNU Compiler Collection and a lot more foundational Free software)



  16. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, February 23, 2020



  17. Links 23/2/2020: PipeWire 0.3 and Osu!

    Links for the day



  18. FSF's Interim Co-President Alexandre Oliva on Being Cancelled

    It was reading this that I realized I’d been cancelled myself. In my case, I was painted misogynist and transphobic, and for a post in which I supported women but denounced a crowd of men twisting the feminist cause, that I share, to attack rms, as if he wasn’t a feminist himself; and in which I express curiosity as to what pronoun to use to refer to zero women to paint me as someone who disregards gender identities and their pronouns.



  19. Good People Need to Run for Free Software Foundation (FSF) Board Positions After an FSF Coup Threw in the Towel, Pushing Out the Founder

    "I have been hit, but not knocked out, and my campaign for free software is not over." --Richard Stallman, October 2019



  20. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, February 22, 2020



  21. Alexandre Oliva's Message About Cancel Culture at the FSF

    Being cancelled is no fun. In my case, it was for standing for a friend who got canceled for defending someone else from an accusation that was later proven false.



  22. Links 22/2/2020: Polish Government Increases GNU/Linux Use, Samza 1.3.1

    Links for the day



  23. Being Rich Does Not Imply Being Smart (Especially When One is Born Into Wealth)

    Presenting the 'genius' (college dropout, but that does not matter when the yardstick of wisdom is wealth alone), with his own predictions overlaid on top of his photo from the show of Bloomberg (another 'genius' whose supposed brilliance is measured using money alone)



  24. The Rise and Fall of Free Software

    "We simply need to make the movement less corporate, and more grassroots."



  25. Why You Should Adopt Debian 10, Not Vista 10 (Windows Vista With Microsoft's Latest Surveillance Add-ons)

    A little personal story and recommendation of Debian "Buster" (10) or Devuan (whose developers persist)



  26. Ethics by Exclusion

    It's the same old philosophical question; can excluding those who are perceived to be intolerant be seen as an act of tolerance?



  27. Even Worse Than Microsoft Inside the Board of the OSI

    The OSI has accepted people from companies that actively attack Software Freedom and there may be more on their way



  28. ZDNet Continues to Stuff Its 'Linux' Section With Proprietary Software of Microsoft

    The above is what the "Linux" section of ZDNet is going to look like throughout the weekend (and this is hardly unusual, either)



  29. IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, February 21, 2020



  30. Links 21/2/2020: EasyOS 2.2.11 Released, Microsoft's Control of the Linux Foundation Increases and More Binary Blobs Arrive

    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