Summary: Examples of dubious media coverage about GNU/Linux, Android, and FOSS matters
There is a disturbing new pattern in the corporate media other than Microsoft openwashing [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] (Microsoft actively recruits and pays for this perceptions-distorting campaign), as we last covered yesterday with an example from CNET (its chief editor became some kind of Microsoft propaganda front). Well, compare to this mirror of a new article to the original from CNET and notice how the editor deleted mentions of Linux.
The article used to say “The $130 Linux-based Crock-Pot”, but it sure looks it the editor has quietly deleted Linux (unless the author rewrote the article hours later to that effect, which is unlikely). Something fishy is going on at CNET. The CBS-steered openwashing of Microsoft seems to be more than just an editorial preference and one has to pay careful attention to what editors do when accepting sponsors (e.g. advertisers). It’s hard doing version control (other than mental, i.e. observations-based) without access to the back end/CMS, seeing exactly how censorship (like watering down of text) really works. This time my wife caught it and showed it to me. I saw it from the inside as a writer for Datamation over half a decade ago. Writers are not allowed to criticise certain companies or use ‘strong’ opinions. In CNET, Linux may have become a forbidden word, apparently with the goal of appeasing the sponsors, if not because of some warped ideas in the editor’s mind (one deserves the blame here).
Speaking of openwashing, Black Duck, which has openwashed Microsoft for years (it is connected to and partly funded by Microsoft), rears its ugly head again with the whole compliance FUD. The opening seems promising: “Open source software has become ubiquitous, which means CXOs need to understand its benefits and its challenges, says Black Duck Software execs. Find out which open source trends to follow.” From there onwards it is subtle FUD and the FOSS-hostike site is happy to give it a platform.
A platform is given to Microsoft mouthpieces also at ECT, which helps the seeding of negative spin about Android, using an article that is quoting extensively FOSS-hostile and Microsoft-linked people or groups, notably Yankee Group and Rob Enderle. There is also a Russia angle. Why is Richard Adhikari choosing known Microsoft moles to be quoted as experts on Linux matters? Well, with Enderle it’s complicated because ECT gave him a platform for years (even as author) and Yankee people have been quoted on occasions also. Have they learned no lessons? They are seeding FUD and they hide the conflicts of interest.
There is generally much of the same rhetoric in some other sites, including from Microsoft boosters like Reisinger, who chose the headline “Samsung’s Tizen-Based Z Handset Poses Future Challenge to Android”. His colleague Michelle Maisto published a more balanced article.
All in all, let’s hope that journalists will choose to write more objective articles or speak to people who are objective, rather than those who are paid by Microsoft to smear Microsoft’s competition. █