08.31.08

Gemini version available ♊︎

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 Ingrid Marson, who used to write for ZDNet for example, is no longer active.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

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 28/05/2022: KDE Weekly Summary, RZBoard V2L

    Links for the day



  2. [Meme] Fluffy Staff

    EPO President António Campinos is failing to ‘contain’ the media after less than 4 years at the Office, just like Benoît Battistelli around 2014



  3. Kluwer Patent Blog Belatedly Gives EPO Staff a Voice

    There are at least 2 bloggers — if not 3 people — at Kluwer Patent Blog who air grievances of EPO staff; in addition, many of the comments there blast EPO management and Team UPC and it helps change the perceptions long shaped by bribes and blackmail from EPO management



  4. [Meme] Fluffy President

    Prepare for more puff pieces and fluff from President Fluffinos, who has commandeered the EPO‘s official Web site for self-serving whitewash and promotion of illegal agenda like European software patents and a kangaroo court to approve those (UPC)



  5. Blaming Patent Examiners Who Respect the Law

    The latest comments here are quite revealing; the EPO not only breaks the law with impunity but it also challenges the very legal system (like courts) with total impunity; Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos are, in that regard, no better than Putin, just more temperamental



  6. Our Priorities and Our Future: More Gemini and More Daily Links (a Lot More Frequently)

    An informal and unscripted video that explains where we are and where we’re going



  7. IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 27, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, May 27, 2022



  8. Links 28/05/2022: Twitter Fined for Spying in '2FA' Clothing

    Links for the day



  9. Links 27/05/2022: Trisquel 10.0.1 LTS and Perl Appreciation

    Links for the day



  10. Links 27/05/2022: Fwupd 1.8.1 and GCC 9.5

    Links for the day



  11. Visual Proof That Twitter Very Likely Faked Its Magnitude the Moment Musk et al (KSA, Ellison and so on) Wanted to Buy

    There's a very compelling case for the allegation that Twitter is defrauding shareholders and participants in the platform; Twitter is a lot smaller than it used to be (fewer people are actively involved), it is losing money, and it is so desperate to be acquired that it's shamelessly faking traffic



  12. Links 27/05/2022: Wayland 1.21 Alpha, KDE Adds Flatpak and Snap Permissions to Discover

    Links for the day



  13. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, May 26, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, May 26, 2022



  14. Links 27/05/2022: Many More Microsoft Security Failures (and Spin/Lies)

    Links for the day



  15. Links 26/05/2022: KStars 3.5.9 and Chrome 103 Beta

    Links for the day



  16. Links 26/05/2022: AlmaLinux OS 9.0, MooseX::Extended for Perl Introduced

    Links for the day



  17. Links 26/05/2022: Kernel Events and Systemd-Free GNU/Linux Distributions

    Links for the day



  18. Links 26/05/2022: DuckDuckGo Increasingly Exposed as Microsoft Proxy

    Links for the day



  19. EPO Celebrates Software Patents Again, Dubbing Them 'Hey Hi' (AI) and '4IR'

    The ludicrous state of the EPO is demonstrated by yesterday’s puff piece about “four million” (merely requests for monopoly in Europe; most come from outside Europe) and L’Oréal, which claims to have “invented” something that was already done in the 1990s if not the 1980s



  20. [Meme] EPO's Monkey Business: Lowering the Patent Examination Bar

    As we shall show in a moment, EPO President António Campinos has lowered the quality of patents and applications; sooner or later he might outsource the job to ‘livestock’



  21. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, May 25, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, May 25, 2022



  22. Heads of Patent Offices Are Immune to Coronavirus

    The overconfident chiefs of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and EPO might love speaking about COVID-19 (in relation to patents), but they do not take it seriously themselves



  23. Links 26/05/2022: Plex Finally on GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  24. The General Consultative Committee of the EPO Exposes a Disaster and a Lack of Genuine Dialogue

    The General Consultative Committee (GCC) at the EPO deals with unlawful proposals from António Campinos (he’s happy to violate laws, constitutions, protocols, conventions, just like Benoît Battistelli did) and once again the abuses by managers is covered up; it’s as if the Office is run by unaccountable gangsters who arrogantly curse at everyone whilst insisting they’re the nicest people ever



  25. The Latest Letter to Josef Kratochvìl and the Heads of Delegation of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation

    A week-old letter from the Central Staff Committee (CSC) to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation highlights the nature of a crisis; there's no genuine dialogue and staff of the EPO (i.e. the scientists who do all the actual work) is constantly under attack



  26. [Meme] The Recordings Must Have Accidentally Been Lost While Breaking the Rules

    The EPO‘s “nicest” chief, Monopoly Tony, won’t even mention the recordings…



  27. Links 25/05/2022: ‘V Rising’ on GNU/Linux and Pearl Linux OS 11

    Links for the day



  28. Links 25/05/2022: Librem Tries Another Approach

    Links for the day



  29. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, May 24, 2022

    IRC logs for Tuesday, May 24, 2022



  30. Links 24/05/2022: nginx-1.22.0 and WordPress 6.0

    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