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The Register is Distorting Authors’ Headlines

Posted in Antitrust, Deception, IBM at 11:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Summary: The Register is manipulating people’s headlines to say stuff like “wake up, Linux hippies”; an article from Timothy Prickett Morgan is suspect too

IT IS rare and it is hard to ever see Groklaw criticising IBM. As we explained last week, the PR people from IBM try to ‘groom’ bloggers so that they report in IBM’s favour. But it is also true that IBM is being targeted by Microsoft proxies, so surely we can sympathise. As Pamela Jones put it the other day, when it comes to IBM being sued or pursued by regulators, as soon as you know who the attacker or “business is being backed by, and then you’re more likely get the story right.”

“But will the FUD cloud that just happens to surround all Microsoft competitors go away, or will another stupid lawsuit get filed, so articles like this can make ugly headlines?”
      –Pemela Jones, Groklaw
Sadly, however, Jones links to a Linux champion, Timothy Prickett Morgan, whose articles we have enjoyed for a long time. She complains about the headline, perhaps not realising that The Register modifies writers’ headlines spurioudly (e.g. Asay’s to say “wake up, Linux hippies,” which he told me was not his headline). Anyway, IBM tried to push its into the story by contacting me and many others, saying I should not mention they did. It’s a tad shameful and it betrays journalists who are honest. It’s a negative aspect of IBM. Well, IBM does other negative things and Simon Phipps had interesting things to say about the Apache Foundation news. IBM makes proprietary software from it, so this was good for IBM.

Here is what Jones called an “ugly headline” when she quoted “IBM guns down Neon’s mainframe accelerator in Texas”. Jones’ full comment (in context) was as follows: “But will the FUD cloud that just happens to surround all Microsoft competitors go away, or will another stupid lawsuit get filed, so articles like this can make ugly headlines? I don’t know why journalists love to write about litigation against large companies, siding with the “underdog”, as here, but it makes it easy for anyone wanting to smear a competitor, just by getting a small proxy to bring the litigation, a la SCO, powered by Microsoft money. Look how that turned out. Were all the articles that plastered our screens in the beginning of that litigation accurate, all about IBM being in trouble and Linux doomed? How about the mainframe FUD? IBM so far wins every battle, and that ought to tell journalists something the next time a proxy shows up claiming that big bad company X or Y is being mean to little competing business. Look for who the little business is being backed by, and then you’re more likely get the story right.” Microsoft had signed a deal with The Register before the publication went downhill [1, 2, 3.

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  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    June 6, 2011 at 12:09 pm


    This happens a lot and has been going on in other periodicals for a long time.

    Another trick used is to put very positive headlines on a very negative article and vice versa. That way those looking for positive reports skip the negative headlines (hiding the positive articles) and get only negative articles.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    In order not to preach to the choir/converted you sometimes need to trick them with a headline suggesting the opposite of the content. Here is a recent example:


  2. twitter said,

    June 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm


    You should double check that IBM representative to see if they were who they said they were. Call a public number or known good contact at IBM. Check the email chain but realize IBM still uses Windows, so anyone who has a few dozen IBM machines in their botnet can pretend to be an IBM employee.

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