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NY Times Tries to Untangle Analysts and Shills

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the hardly-unbiased dept.

179

twitter writes "The Register and others are examining a New York Times effort to eliminate bias from technology reporting by not echoing paid opinions. (Other coverage here.) They target Microsoft specifically. InfoWorld has an insightful summary of the two sides of this old debate. Fake think tanks, dubious sponsored research, and Astroturf are not considered but should be. Companies using these tactics deserve to be held at arm's length, but that's hard to do when the company is also a monopoly able to make or break any 'expert.' It would be refreshing to see the New York Times discover the FSF, opensource.org, EFF, and other sources of computing expertise."

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179 comments

Videogame of the year 2006: Sneak King (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280452)


 

EFF and FSF unbiased? (4, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280470)

It would be refreshing to see the New York Times discover the FSF, opensource.org, EFF, and other sources of computing expertise.

Why? Aren't they biased, too? Maybe not in Microsoft or Oracle's pocket, but they have a definite point of view that should be taken into account as well.

Re:EFF and FSF unbiased? (4, Funny)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280534)

Their's is a *good* bias.

Repeat after me:

Microsoft==Evil
Oracle==Evil
EFF==Good
FSF==Good

I'm glad we got this taken care of.

100% in agreement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280562)

Especially considering Richard Stallman's FSF. Such organizations are even more biased as they're based on ideological reasons just as much as technical.

Re:100% in agreement (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280690)

The ideological bias theoretically shouldn't be a problem for the NYT since they deal with it on a much grander scale each day in politics. Not that I'm saying they are particularly successful, but at least they have an idea what to look for.

As far as the technical aspects go, I think the big problem that any media organization has is that they have journalists writing about subjects they don't have a clue about--so they take the advice of experts like Microsoft and echo them in their articles. This is sort of a tricky problem to solve because the obvious solution of hiring technically educated persons probably isn't going to work (because they will be significantly more expensive than ordinary journalists). It is sort of a gamble. They can hire expensive people who have a strong education in science and technology and print much more thorough and unbiased articles or they can go cheap and hope the lack of quality doesn't hurt their sales.

Re:100% in agreement (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281050)

A.k.a. the least common denominator.

As far as I can see, it's a major problem of journalism everywhere.
And it's not going away either.

People who want thorough and unbiased articles read the specialized magazine of their choice.
Clueless people read whatever their newspaper of choice serves them. (Several years ago, a Croatian magazine for women[1] printed an article about buying a computer. It said that 256 MHz RAM was... well, whatever.)

And when someone informed reads the crap they printed and decides to react by, say, sending them an angrily-worded e-mail, so much the better.

The lack of quality will never hurt their sales because their primary topics do not lie in the realm of technology, but everyday news and politics.

[1] Housewives, actually.

RS upfront in ideology (5, Insightful)

rjdegraaf (712353) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280716)

Especially considering Richard Stallman's FSF. Such organizations are even more biased as they're based on ideological reasons just as much as technical.


Nonetheless, Richard Stallman and the like are upfront/open on their (ideological) reasoning, therefor transparent, which make them very good experts.

Gray Lady = Mr Magoo (0, Flamebait)

sanman2 (928866) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280648)

The Old Gray Lady is not only looking dour and gray these days, but she's more nearsighted than Mr Magoo. Again, the NYT is OLD MEDIA and definitely not new media. They have old-school instincts and corruption, which contrast with the fresh feel of new media sources. They're just looking for new stunts by which to sideswipe the market in an attempt to keep themselves relevant.

Re:EFF and FSF unbiased? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280658)

You serve your Microsoft overlords well.

Re:EFF and FSF unbiased? (5, Insightful)

jcknox (456591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280688)

Complete lack of bias is nearly impossible to find, and that is not entirely the point. There are a couple of differentiators between organizations like the FSF and the other organizations in question:

1. They are not being paid to have the bias they have
2. They are not claiming to be an unbiased, independent third party

The problem with fake think tanks, astroturfers, etc. is that they are pretending to be an objective source when in reality they are being compensated to have the opinion that they do.

False: They are not being paid to have the bias... (2, Insightful)

ObligatoryUserName (126027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17282228)

1. They are not being paid to have the bias they have

This is nothing against any of the organizations that are mentioned, but just a note about non-profits in general. Having worked at a non-profit I know that the people who work at them are better off (financially and social status-wise) the more people agree with them. Thus, they do have a vested self-interest in promoting their point of view. These days non-profit only really means "without shareholders" - it's naive to assume that non-profit status implies anything beyond that.

See also, Charity is Selfish [slate.com]

Re:EFF and FSF unbiased? (1)

umkhhh (971224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280770)

exactly for that reason. people have different biases coming from personal experience so it is refrashing to hear something else in main stream media. Alas it is probably too much to expect.

I am not pro anything and I do not care. I would prefer to have more open source because I belive competetion and choice are base for quality and reliablity of products. Alas I do not thing this will happen soon so the choice will be limited and if you work for big customer the choices are limited by bad ass we-always-did-it-this-way attitude. Merits do not count. Well most of the time.

Re:EFF and FSF unbiased? (3, Insightful)

Malenfrant (781088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280832)

Everybody has a bias, because everybody has an opinion. What this article is about is reports which are not the writer's opinion, but poorly disguised adverts paid for by companies. When EFF and FSF write reports and articles, every reader knows where they come from, and can take that into account when judging them. Reports that claim to be from a newspaper or journalist but are instead payed for by someone are a different matter.

They are open about their bias (5, Insightful)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281096)

And they don't work through straw men to appear unbiased.

Asking Microsoft why they think people should upgrade to Vista is fine, and I hope New York Times will continue to do so. Microsoft is openly and obviously biased with regard to their own products, and getting their side of the story is valuable.

The problem is when you ask some "independent analyst" for their opinion on a possible upgrade, and that analyst happens to be funded by Microsoft.

Bias is not a problem, hidden bias is a problem.

Re:EFF and FSF unbiased? (3, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281128)

Why? Aren't they biased, too?

It's the new Political Math brought to you by Fox News. If you take a raving lunatic from one side of an issue, and a raving lunatic from the other side of an issue, then you get two raving lun... err, I mean you get fair and balanced news!

Re:EFF and FSF unbiased? (0, Troll)

gordgekko (574109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281374)

Hey, that means Fox News is years ahead of the New York Times>/i> which apparently only believes in presenting one side of any debate. That said, I would line all the motherfuckers against the wall...friends and foes alike.

Re:EFF and FSF unbiased? (2, Interesting)

h2g2bob (948006) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281426)

As Matt Groening once said:
Things are a lot more interesting when you give both sides of an argument a voice
Enough said.

Re:EFF and FSF unbiased? (3, Insightful)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281674)

By that argument, creationism should be taught in schools.

Yes, I know it's easy to modify your quotation to make it more nuanced and more sensible. All that means is that "enough said" often isn't enough after all.

Re:EFF and FSF unbiased? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17282308)

If you take a raving lunatic from one side of an issue...

That would be Steve "Seen Scarface One Too Many Times" Ballmer.

...and a raving lunatic from the other side of an issue...

That would be Twitter, who sees Bill Gates behind every down-mod.

then you get two raving lun... err, I mean you get fair and balanced news!

Yep, that's our Slashdot!

Re:EFF and FSF unbiased? (1)

wigaloo (897600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281502)

>> It would be refreshing to see the New York Times discover the FSF, opensource.org, EFF, and other sources of computing expertise.

> Why? Aren't they biased, too? Maybe not in Microsoft or Oracle's pocket, but they have a definite point of view that should be taken into account as well.

But this entirely misses the point. The FSF represents their viewpoint directly, rather than via paid shills. The bias only becomes a problem when paid shills pretend to provide independent opinion.

Re:EFF and FSF unbiased? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281850)

Why? Aren't they biased, too?

Of course they are. Unlike "technology analysts" who are on a Microsoft retainers while pretendng to be impartial. There's too much PR masquerading as news, and not a little gets posted her, for that matter.

Re:EFF and FSF unbiased? (1)

napanap (975380) | more than 7 years ago | (#17282332)

Of course they're biased, just as sources such as Microsoft and Oracle are biased. But the point is, their point of view should be considered by the NY Times as well.

The FSF, not biased ? (1)

Tetard (202140) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280474)

The FSF has a clearly stated agenda of eradicating proprietary software, as it's immoral according to them. How is that not going to constitute a biased approach when debating industry topics, where a large number of players have a vested interest in developing, selling and supporting proprietary software. Same goes for a lot of pro-GPL organizations that see proprietary software as the enemy.

Re:The FSF, not biased ? (1)

pnot (96038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280586)

The FSF has a clearly stated agenda of eradicating proprietary software, as it's immoral according to them.

Where is this agenda clearly stated? I can't find anything about it on their website. (That's a genuine question, not sniping: if they're explicitly stated this goal, I'm interested to see how they present it.)

Re:The FSF, not biased ? (1)

Tetard (202140) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281006)

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/ [gnu.org]
(yes, GNU is a project of the FSF)

Including: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/pragmatic.html [gnu.org]

Quote: " I want to encourage free software to spread, replacing proprietary software that forbids cooperation, and thus make our society better."

or http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/why-free.html [gnu.org]

"As a computer user today, you may find yourself using a proprietary (18k characters) program. If your friend asks to make a copy, it would be wrong to refuse. "
"A person should aspire to live an upright life openly with pride, and this means saying ``No'' to proprietary software."
"The Free Software Foundation follows the rule that we cannot install any proprietary program on our computers except temporarily for the specific purpose of writing a free replacement for that very program. Aside from that, we feel there is no possible excuse for installing a proprietary program."

etc...

Re:The FSF, not biased ? (1)

pnot (96038) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281514)

(yes, GNU is a project of the FSF)

Well, it's a project principally sponsored by the FSF. Certainly they have a close connection, but they're hardly equivalent.

Quote: " I want to encourage free software to spread, replacing proprietary software...

Well, that's hardly a "clearly stated agenda to eradicate proprietary software" as you claim, any more than a "get firefox" button is a clearly stated agenda to eradicate Opera.

"... using a proprietary (18k characters) program... make a copy... saying ``No'' to proprietary software."

Well, that certainly shows Richard Stallman's personal disapproval of proprietary software. But it doesn't look to me like a "clearly stated agenda to eradicate proprietary software".

"The Free Software Foundation follows the rule that we cannot install any proprietary program on our computers except temporarily for...

This is an internal policy concerning the office computers used by the FSF. It doesn't really constitute their "agenda".

http://www.fsf.org/about [fsf.org] describes the FSF's "worldwide mission to preserve, protect and promote the freedom to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer software, and to defend the rights of all free software users". Is that what you were alluding to? It's the closest I can find, but it doesn't say anything about eradication.

Re:The FSF, not biased ? (1)

Tetard (202140) | more than 7 years ago | (#17282394)

> Well, it's a project principally sponsored by the FSF. Certainly they have a close connection, but they're hardly equivalent.

Ok, we'll have to disagree there. Otherwise point taken, there is no clearly stated agenda, other than Stallman's stance on proprietary software. I'll crawl back to my hole :)

Re:The FSF, not biased ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280676)

A good debate is when biased sides talk and are willing to admit they're wrong.

Proprietary business owners believe different things than people themselves and the OSS people and their organizations believe differently as well. It's all about the fundemental struggle for power and how much everyone is willing to ascend to the great king before it interferes with their ability to live life how they see fit. Centralization of power is to an extent beneficial but it only works to a point; at that point my relinquishing of my personal choices to you no longer is beneficial to me and infact hurts me. The better the system the more hidden that harm is. Once that threshold gets crossed, rome burns, the king doesn't care, and all hell breaks loose.

Newspapers are fundementally doomed. Mostly, they are read by old people through habit; any gas station attendant or grocery store clerk will tell you this. Young people have smelt the bullshit from miles away and refuse to read it because they've been exposed to so much BS in their lifetimes and have been hurt by it so many times they have a motivation to get away from it.

Re:The FSF, not biased ? (4, Interesting)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280740)

Young people have smelt the bullshit from miles away and refuse to read it because they've been exposed to so much BS in their lifetimes and have been hurt by it so many times they have a motivation to get away from it.
Nice try, but I think you are giving young people too much credit. While I agree with you that newspaper readership is much less prevalent in the younger generation, I think the reasons are a little less flattering to the younger set. I think mostly being accustomed to reading things on the screen versus in print is a big part of it. My proof is that younger people also read fewer books - have they been "hurt by" books also? I also think younger people, having grown up with the internet, are used to a more interactive environment where they can discuss the article, ala on-line news sites and forums. Lastly, and this is the most scary reason, the internet generation is much more accustomed to reading articles that align with their own beliefs. This is the one thing about the internet that really worries me ... the ability to customize your "news" in such a way that you only read things with which you agree. This tends to polarize people (seen much of that?) and cause huge rifts between the camps, because over time you forget you are only reading half of the story.

Re:The FSF, not biased ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17281500)

The difference between the FSF and Microsoft and other software companies is that they have plenty of cash and financial incentive to bankroll the phoney studies and the astroturfing (or the FUD, as it may be) and they do it in a secretive way, so that it's hard to tell who's behind all the BS.

The FSF is upfront about it's position, but does not have the cash or the financial incentive to shuck the bull like MS, et al.

Who's side are you on? (4, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281606)

The FSF has a clearly stated agenda of eradicating proprietary software, as it's immoral according to them. How is that not going to constitute a biased approach when debating industry topics ...

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this. Standing up for your rights is a bias but isn't that the one you want in your news? Would you prefer some kind of industry shill to tell you what's good for you? How can you even begin to equate these two diametrically opposed things?

The New York Times has decided it's not in their reader's best interest to pass on advertisements, aka paid opinions, as legitimate reviews. Good for them and good for everyone. As someone else pointed out, they are indeed discovering better sources of information [slashdot.org]. The Registry's hostility to this is as difficult to understand as your hostility to the FSF.

Decide for Themselves (2, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280486)

``It would be refreshing to see the New York Times discover the FSF, opensource.org, EFF, and other sources of computing expertise.''

Maybe they should rather make up their own minds. Much as I agree with the EFF and the FSF, they do have their own agendas.

Ideal Sources of Information, When Used. (2, Informative)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281362)

Maybe they should rather make up their own minds. Much as I agree with the EFF and the FSF, they do have their own agendas.

That agenda makes those groups ideal sources of information for newspapers. Newspapers ultimately serve their readers or perish. The FSF, EFF and Opensource.org all have the user's freedom and prosperity as their goal. They are expert and impartial to industry interests.

The agenda of FSF and friends has little to do with pushing a specific program or platform. The FSF, for example, recognize BSD and Linux distributions as a free OSs, despite having their own kernel. They don't care who's tools you use, so long as they are free.

That perspective does not make them ignorant, or even impractical. All groups, to one extent or another, bow to practicality. GNU was written on non free software at one point because there was no other available. The opensource.org group are especially flexible in this regard and generally worry about performance before freedom.

The problem, from my perspective, is not that "mainstream" journalists can't make up their own minds, it's that they have not been talking to everyone they could. Making up your mind in ignorance is worse than doing nothing. The discussion of "alternate" operating systems never seems to get further than a brief mention of Apple. GNU is rarely mentioned, even though Apple, Sun and others use the GNU toolset. It's not even an ideological problem, if you buy into the "Linux is Communism" nonsense, because there are plenty of commercial Linux distributions ready to sell you non free software as addons the same way Michael Dell does. Informed decisions come from knowing the options. Something is clearly missing when a search for:

  • Linux, Vista, OS X, BSD [google.com] returns all of one result.
  • Vista linux OS X [google.com] returns 100 results
  • vista linux gnu [google.com] returns eight results
  • Vista OS X [google.com] returns 288 results
  • Vista linux [google.com] returns 947 results. This would be encouraging if the first page were not stories about what Bill Gates said recently. You might imagine results more like the next one if it were not for this.
  • GNU Linux [google.com] returns 611
  • OS X [google.com] returns 2,500 results.
  • Linux [google.com] returns 7,500 results.
  • Vista [google.com] returns 29,000 results

... from a site built on and friendly to gnu/linux. Cheaper and better software is simply not being mentioned as often as expensive software that powers botnets.

I'll be happier when I see a story spread that more evenly represents the interests of users. Innovation and therefore "news" rarely come from Microsoft, so the heavy coverage of Vista is puzzling outside of it's monopoly status. When Vista is mentioned in the news alternatives are mentioned in fewer than three percent of the stories. GNU and combinations of alternatives are almost never mentioned. Even in articles about Linux, GNU is mentioned less than ten percent of the time.

Is this true? (1)

perkr (626584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280488)

Not that I doubt the influence of analysts but I couldn't find a single reference pointing to the NY Times website. Does anyone have any link from NYT about this issue? Or how else are we supposed to know there is a real story here?

Re:Is this true? (5, Informative)

evw (172810) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280634)

Key quote being "had The Times known of Mr. Enderle's work for Microsoft, it would not have sought out his opinion on the product". I don't know if this link will work for everyone, since it's a search result link, but doing a search on the nytimes.com main page for "enderle" turns up this as the first result.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990 DE1DC1F3FF933A25752C1A9609C8B63 [nytimes.com]

Editors' Note
Published: November 10, 2006

An article in Business Day on Tuesday described a decision by Microsoft to offer movies and episodes of television shows for downloading through its Xbox Live online service in the United States.

The article quoted Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, discussing the features that set Xbox Live service apart and its position in the market.

But the article did not note that Mr. Enderle had Microsoft as a client, a fact later pointed out by a reader. Mr. Enderle does consulting work for several of Microsoft's product groups, though not for the one developing the Xbox; still, had The Times known of Mr. Enderle's work for Microsoft, it would not have sought out his opinion on the product.

So what has changed? (2)

schon (31600) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281012)

Interesting. So, in the past 5 years [woz.org], what has changed at the NYT?

I find it odd that an organization the size of the Times would go from one extreme [brainyquote.com] to another in just 5 years.

Maybe my tinfoil hat is a little tight, but I think something smells a little fishy here.

Fair and Balanced (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280492)

Who's the more balanced? FOX News, or the EFF?

It seems quite unlikely to me that any organization trying to eliminate such bias in its reporting would leap to consider the opinions of an organization that paints everything about as black and white as your most zealous televangelist.

Re:Fair and Balanced (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280722)

That's exactly why I don't read the NYTimes any more. They've long since dropped being objective, and have gone to pushing agendas.

Bah, reporters trying just to avoid responsibility (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280496)

I don't get it. Are you saying that nobody qualifies as a computer expert without Microsoft's permission, and they'll revoke your expert status if you don't say nice things about them? And the NY Times should be looking at badvista.org for a more balanced perspective?

If the problem of technology reporting is that reporters don't know a damn thing and just repeat the words of marketing folks, the solution simple: Hire reporters who actually have a technological background. Is that so hard?

Re:Bah, reporters trying just to avoid responsibil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17281106)

Anybody who actually has a technical background won't be wowed by minor updates and eye candy.

This is one thing that I see in many Windows fans at the moment, they are blown away by the new interface, ignoring all the gaping holes in the system. Have you ever tried to explain that Windows is like a madeup STD-laden whore? Yeah she sure looks pretty, but you don't want the viral consequences.

But the majority of the public wouldn't want to read that. So they write what sells.

Garbage. (3, Insightful)

Skadet (528657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280540)

What a piece of utter drivel.
Secondly, the flimsy policy prohibits reporters from querying those analysts that would seem to know their subjects best. In a story about Microsoft, a reporter should apparently quote an analyst who covers LSI Logic or orange juice makers, not one who covers Microsoft.
That's known as a false dichotomy [wikipedia.org]. It isn't as if the only choices for sources are 1) people taking money from Microsoft or 2) completely unrelated analysts.
A better policy might insist that the Times disclose the ties between an analyst and a vendor, leaving the reader to make the credibility judgement.
Shouldn't the reader be making this analysis anyway, no matter who the source? I mean, if we don't even trust our own President on his word alone (as we shouldn't), why in the world would we trust a newspaper implicitly?

Good for the Times, I say. It's a move in the right direction. You know all those movie posters that quote "reviewers" and give trash movies "four thumbs WAY up!!!1"? Remember when it was exposed that they were shills?

No real choice. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280894)

Good for the Times, I say. It's a move in the right direction.


They kinda HAD to move in the right direction. They can't possibly move any further to the left.

Pot calling kettle black (1)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280544)

I like how The Register is trying to slam the NYT for not being impartial. I have read some of the absolute worst "articles" on the Register (most of which, are surprisingly posted on Slashdot). I wouldn't trust The Register to correctly report the current weather conditions outside of their office.

Re:Pot calling kettle black (1)

DECS (891519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280736)

A recent example being Andrew Orlowski's iTunes Sales Are Collapsing Myth [roughlydrafted.com].
-

The iTunes Vendor Lock In Myth [roughlydrafted.com]

Re:Pot calling kettle black (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280952)

A recent example being Andrew Orlowski's iTunes Sales Are Collapsing Myth.
The apostrophe, and everything after it in that sentence, is superfluous. Orlowski is the reason I stopped reading El Reg regularly, and I am not the only one. I don't know whether he has had a net positive or negative effect on their readership, but he has not been good for their reputation.

The weather (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280776)

As any of the Reg hacks would openly tell you, they are very seldom in their offices and prefer to spend time down at the pub.

Re:Pot calling kettle black (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17282252)

The irony is that the tone a The Register is far more similar to that at the New York Post than the New York Times.

Not the particular bias. Just the tone. It's a screeching tabloid.

The problem isn't just with tech stories (5, Informative)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280550)

From the article:

The funny - or sad - thing is that the paper doesn't come close to following its own advice.

What everyone seems to be missing here is that the problem isn't just restricted to tech stories; their track record is just as bad when it comes to real world news. Remember Judith Miller and the "proof" about Iraq's WMD [huffingtonpost.com]--the one they wound up apologizing for, years after we'd gotten mired in Vietnam II? Of course, it's a step up from citing totally made up sources (e.g. Jason Blaire's "composite" sources [wikipedia.org]), but not by much.

They used to be the paper of record, but now they're just another waste of dead tree pulp.

--MarkusQ

As If /. & The Reg Are Perfect? (1)

WaltFrench (165051) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281272)

As if somehow, the Register talking about a waste of dead trees is any less a waste of bandwidth?

If this is important to Register readers (and Slashdotters), then the NYT, and specifically its attempts to get the best accuracy/timeliness/depth IS important, too. No? I never see exposès of Digg, the idiot stepbrother of /., which channels fake news, outright lies and such, all the time.

I always get a laugh when sources like the Huff'n'Puff Post waste our bandwidth sanctimoniously decrying the MainStreamMedia while citing stories that the HnPP could never come close to covering independently. Same story here: The Reg (which I like) is trying to claim superiority to a "paper" (I read mine online; my wife likes the hardcopy) not by scooping the NYT about MSFT, but by talking about the Times' efforts at getting the balance right.

The NYT recently has stepped up its efforts to distinguish between reviews/editorials and news. The only way you can tell the difference on the Reg is when it's merely snippy as opposed to being sneeringly sarcastic. And you have to be almost a full-time slashdot reader before you have any clue what axe any particular writer is grinding.

Re:The problem isn't just with tech stories (2, Insightful)

TheOriginalRevdoc (765542) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281830)

Yeah, the NY Times sucks because one of their journalists did a bad job 4 years ago.

Thank god neither of us screw up, eh? That'd mean we suck, too.

Many != 1 (0, Troll)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17282448)

Yeah, the NY Times sucks because one of their journalists did a bad job 4 years ago.

I don't see where you pulled this from. The story gives links to articles which mention several recent cases, and my post, to which you are responding, provides links to two more, and yet you conclude that this is about one jounalist? Based on what, exactly?

And even putting the counting problems aside for the moment, we aren't talking about "doing a bad job" here. We are talking about knowingly and systematically presenting a picture which is intentionally misleading or even completely fabricated in order to promote the agenda of some third party (in other words, bald-faced lying). And the editors either being asleep at the switch or (more likely, given the other cases) knowingly permitting it. This isn't just "doing a bad job," it's closer to criminal misconduct.

--MarkusQ

Unbiased research doesn't exist. (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280598)

I think technology is alot like drugs in this instance. Most of the "experts" in the area are paid shills working for a group with vested interests. With pot for instance there is the governemnt data which shows alot of negatives. On the other hand there are the advocacy groups who have data which shows the exact opposite. To me the job of a paper like the NYT is not find the unbiased experts, (who frankly don't exist) but instead to be fair and balanced.

Re:Unbiased research doesn't exist. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280808)

Giving up on the prospect of objectivity and resorting to "balancing" biased opinions is lazy journalism.

Example: On any given political issue, a lazy journalist will get the official Democratic perspective and the official Republican perspective, regurgitate these, and consider the topic thoroughly reported. On any local environmental issue, they get the Sierra Club perspective and the local chamber of commerce perspective, regurgitate those, and consider it a job well done.

What's the problem? Well, your choice of sources biases your reporting, even if your two sources disagree. Let's say there are (shocking!) more than two opinions on the matter (!), and that the two sources you choose, combined, still represent a minority view (example: when reporting on free trade deals, which both Democrats and Republicans support, but most US citizens are against, etc)

Or look at the FOX News method. You get the extreme right-wing Republican view (Hannity) and the moderate Republican view (Colmes), and this is presented as the national dialog. That's "balance". Or even worse, knowingly reporting false information because pointing out that one side is lying would suggest bias from the news source (FOX News won a lawsuit in which they were sued for knowingly reporting fiction as fact, they argued they were not legally obligated to attempt to be truthful, and they won).

Objective truth exists, even if we can't ever know it. News organizations can never be called truly objective, but those who do not even make an ATTEMPT at objectivity are hardly even journalists--they are just as much shills as their sources.

Who then ? (2, Insightful)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280624)

I imagine it's rather hard to find anyone to report on somthing, who has some sort of knowledge on the subject, that isn't one of theese three.

1. Involved with the product or the company producing the product.
2. Involved with the companies competition.
3. Being paid to do it.

If it's someone from the company, the competition cries foul stating the rep is only trying to make the product look good, which, if you work for a company that makes sense if you want to eat.
If it's someone from the competition, the company cries foul, again, if your competition is eating all the cake there's obviously going to be none left for you.
If they're being paid to do it, nearly everyone else cries foul, because they hadn't been informed there was going to be cake.

Who's left to report on theese products, who is also someone that would actually use them ?

Fake think tanks (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280628)

These clowns give themselves grand sounding names so people will take them seriously. It even works once or twice but then people catch on to them.

My favorite example is the Alexis de Tocqueville Institution. It appears to be one guy, Ken Brown. When people were still paying attention to the 'SCO' thing, he wrote a book in which he called into question the paternity of Linux. It was really a lame effort. The result is that whatever credibility his institute had vanished in a puff of public indignation. http://www.cs.vu.nl/~ast/brown/followup/ [cs.vu.nl]

The problem for such people is that, if they wish to continue in business, their credibility is all they have. Gartner did some questionable things, again during the early days of the SCO 'thing'. Later, a company who wanted to sell us a bunch of stuff quoted Gartner. My reaction was that Gartner would say anything they were paid to say. No sale.

It looks like (4, Informative)

Oddster (628633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280632)

It would be refreshing to see the New York Times discover the FSF, opensource.org, EFF, and other sources of computing expertise.

Somebody needed [nytimes.com] to try out [nytimes.com] the search engine [nytimes.com] on their front page. [nytimes.com]

Thanks. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281452)

Thanks for taking time to use the NYT search tool. Twenty three stories mentioning the free software foundation since 1981 is not bad for a newspaper. They even found out by 1989, that's impressive. I applaud the steps they are taking and can see they are working to represent the interests of their readers.

At the same time, not much is being written about alternatives to Microsoft [slashdot.org] by the news industry at large.

I know the Reg bias... (4, Interesting)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280650)

...just as well as I know the bias of the NYT.

One of the basics of journalism is understanding that as a journalist you can't elminate your bias. What you can do is try to minimize your bias and in cases of opinion and analysis declare your bias as well as the bias of your sources. The Reg said it best in this case, "A better policy might insist that the Times disclose the ties between an analyst and a vendor, leaving the reader to make the credibility judgement." . So if I see a Microsoft enginner quoted I'm told he is an MS engie and when I see TurdFurgeson quoted I'm told he's Linux zealot.

Thats really the best the NYT can do as a responsible organization, if you eliminate all bias you remove your writers humanity and create a lie. While removing bias your own mind will fool itself and think you've removed them when really you've magnified them. Biases are what lead to needed critiques, so long as those biases are dealt with openly and honestly we should be ok.

*Note I'm not a journalist, but the points here have been beaten into my head by several close journalist friends. The bias question was also material for an elective journalism course for me at college.* - There see. I declared my bias. I like and trust most journalists because I know some good ones. I've also pointed out that I lack formal training in the area, so I might know enough to contribute but I shouldn't be quoted as an expert source.

Everyone is biased (1)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280664)

Every organization is biased. You can't report on any event without a point of view. Even if you try to be neutral, you will express your biases through what facts and events you choose to cover and which you leave out.

The FSF is biased towards promoting freedom of speech and improving software quality. Microsoft is biased towards crushing competition and dominating the market in order to maximize profit. The Bush administration is biased towards gaining strategic influence in key oil producing regions and will abuse human rights in order to achieve these goals. Amnesty International is biased towards exposing human rights violations. A decent newspaper aught to quote Microsoft, the FSF, the White House, and Amnesty International and hire columnists from which ever organization they feel best represents their editorial bias. The New York times is very pro corporate, so I could see them employing writers with ties to Microsoft and Bush, but they're also somewhat left leaning, so I would expect some more decent people to write for them from time to time.

Re:Everyone is biased (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280748)

Funny you think that, many people think the New York Times is anti-corporate, and the Wall Street Journal is pro-corporate. In the health care industry community I have heard this dichotomy discussed many times.

Re:Everyone is biased (1)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280908)

...many people think the New York Times is anti-corporate, and the Wall Street Journal is pro-corporate.

Both are pro-corporate. I also said that the NYT is somewhat left leaning. The Wall Street Journal is the leading publication of the Business press; they directly represent the largest earing organizations on earth. The New York Times is the leading publication of the literate elite, a group with is mostly comprised of the same professionals and leaders that run corporations, but which also includes some academics and other intellectuals.

Both publications are far to the right of the American people. Most Americans support greater unions representation, more government funding of personal health care, higher taxes on the wealthy, and a withdrawal from Iraq. You have to turn to more obscure publications to find these issues even discussed. Most Americans, however, don't read newspapers. They get their news and opinion from TV. Television marginalizes real issues even more than the press does. It's just infotainment.

There's still a small Socialist and Communist press in the US, but it just prints party line propaganda for the most part. You have to turn to something like Z magazine [zmag.org], if you're looking for a articulate anti-corporate reporting.

Re:Everyone is biased (3, Insightful)

DECS (891519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280810)

Bias is opinion. Opinions are useful if you are aware they are opinion and can "consider the source."

Many news sources have an obvious political leaning, but the fact that their bias is obvious means that their bias can openly be considered when evaluating what that source is saying.

Anyone reading my stuff is also aware that I similarly have strong personal views on technology. Bias is only deceptive when it is hidden. The Wall Street Journal doesn't pretend to be liberal, and the NY Times doesn't pretend to be conservative. I enjoy reading both, because both offer viewpoints and interesting information without pretending to be something they are not.

Hidden bias is used by writers such as Paul Thurrott - he suggests he really likes Apple stuff, only to spin everything he says in a deceptive and negative way.

Microsoft is behind a huge wave of fraud marketing, and has a history of these tactics, from its attack on Linux and its affiliation with SCO, to its regular FUD comments against Apple - including Ballmer's suggestion that the company is not interested in selling Windows for Macs because they only care about "Real PCs." The Zune campaign is a new example.

Being biased can be entertaining and engaging - consider Jon Stewart. Even Rush Limbaugh, when he's not making fun of the handicapped, is fun to laugh at; however, pretending to not be biased and stating opinions as uncontroversial facts is misleading and slimy.

--

One interesting effort in ranking news is NewsTrust [roughlydrafted.com], althought it could conceptually be subverted by astroturfing.

It seems that people are far more gullable in believing anonymous hearsay than they should be. Facts can be "called into question" by the most rediculous claims, and those nebulous claims are given equal airtime. It happens in science ("global warming is only a theory!!!") in software ("vaporware vs a real product, we say wait to see how this vapor turns out!!!") and in politics ("global warming is only a theory!!!").

Re:Everyone is biased (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280906)

but they're also somewhat left leaning, so I would expect some more decent people to write for them from time to time.

So, were you trying to be neutral and failed, or did you simply give up on any chance of neutrality from the start?

Re:Everyone is biased (1)

delirium of disorder (701392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280946)

...were you trying to be neutral and failed, or did you simply give up on any chance of neutrality from the start?

I titled my post "Everyone is biased". Why would you suggest that I started from a neutral position!?

Everyone is biased - esp the Parent. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280982)

...but they're [the NYTimes] also somewhat left leaning, so I would expect some more decent people to write for them from time to time.


Saying the NYTimes is somewhat left leaning is like saying Antarctica in July (their winter) is somewhat cool. Also, I'm not the best read person in the world, but I haven't heard of a correlation between a person's political leanings and whether they are a decent person as far as being a writer goes. Please enlighten us.

Enderle (1)

fritsd (924429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280670)

From the article:
Just days after banning Enderle from discussing Microsoft because he has Microsoft as a client, ...
I think that's an understatement.. is there a policymaker or journalist warning website for the likes of Enderle, DiDio, syscon, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americans_for_Technol ogy_Leadership [wikipedia.org](ACT, CGW), etc.?

I thank 7ou f0r your time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280726)

BSD su0x0rs. What

Its not just Microsoft (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280742)

JBoss, the 'professional open source' company are notorious for astroturfing on Java forums.

Extend beyond just 'tech' (3, Insightful)

spoco2 (322835) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280766)

My god I'm sick of 'news' articles in our local media which are nothing more than thinly veiled adverts for companies and services.

In Melbourne, Australia we have a free daily 'newspaper' called the MX which is provided at train stations. It is created by the news outlet that creates the largest circulation paid for newspaper in the city (the Herald Sun) and shares a large amount of its content.

Every single issue there are at least 4 or 5 'articles' about 'surveys' or 'studies' which have discovered some new and exciting 'fact' about our populous. They headline and lead into these articles speaking as if the results are fact ('Australian workers love working longer hours', 'Women want more pampering'), and it's not until you read into the article that you find 'according to a web survey of 300 by recruitment company X', or 'says a study done by cosmetics firm Y'.

And people read the guff as fact, and reiterate it over and over.

And the number of ridiculous celebrity pieces of trivial shite that is reported that just so happens to be about some star of a movie that just so happens to be coming out next week...

These two types of 'news' really do account for about 50-60% of the content of this rag.

And the big brother of the MX, the Herald Sun... yeah, not so much better.

Sigh... will teach me for being a cheap bastard and not buying a real newspaper I suppose.

Re:Extend beyond just 'tech' (2, Funny)

Fear the Clam (230933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281240)

called the MX which is provided at train stations


I suppose its editorial page is called the Peacemaker?

Sorry, '80s joke there, kids.

Expertise from the opposition? (2, Insightful)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280780)

It would be refreshing to see the New York Times discover the FSF [...] and other sources of computing expertise.
Who have been so much less controversial recently [slashdot.org], meticulously avoiding to cast any shadows of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, haven't they?

The achievements of these organizations are commendable, but portraying the FSF (or e.g. the EFF) as entirely neutral on technology issues probably wouldn't be "entirely accurate" either. ;-) And indeed neutral they shouldn't (even need to) be - journalists ought to be able to see (i.e. find and expose) the truth behind the whole range of different views, rather than exclude the ones with the most obvious bias (some of whom might be right nonetheless)...

Science publications solved the problem (2)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280796)

You simply need peer review and reproducible results. The level of ojectivity in most computing journals is abysmal.

 

Re:Science publications solved the problem (1)

perkr (626584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281066)

No bias in scientific publications... right. Have you published scientific papers yourself, and if so, in what field? I am just curious.

Re:Science publications solved the problem (2, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281742)

Any one article may contain bias, but the point is that bias in one article is subject to peer review and the results are reproduced by someone else under similar conditions. It's part of the process, bias and systemic error are eventually removed.

If the IT, computing profession want to be taken seriously, then they have to take a leaf from science, engineering and start taking a more rigorous approach.
 

OK, media companies, keep your bias... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280812)

Just give me transparency about your sources, and I'll make up my own mind.

David Pogue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280830)

Is always worth reading. Bit of an Apple zealot but hey ho, can't have everything.

ny times is dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17280886)

but not as rapidly as slashdot

Good ideas validate themselves (1)

banerjek (1040522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17280968)

There are plenty of technical articles written by people who have ideological axes to grind, even when there is no financial benefit to the writer. Most of the endless general debates about operating systems, standards, technologies, philosophical approaches, etc fall into this category. Hearing the same arguments rehashed over and over is tiresome regardless of whose "side" the writer is on.

Better to just let people write what they will. If they consistently write interesting things, others will listen. If they're consistently schilling, that will also be obvious. Besides, you shouldn't believe everything you read.....

Submitted by twitter (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17281216)

Moderators: Please note that "twitter" is a known fanatical sycophant whose obnoxious offtopic rants are legend here on Slashdot. It doesn't matter what the topic is, he'll find a way to scrape in some pointless Microsoft bashing. While nobody expects us to love Microsoft in any way, his particularly tepid style of calling anyone he replies to "troll" or "liar" or "fanboy" because he happens to disagree with whatever they're saying is well documented and should not be rewarded. If anything, twitter is the type of person that should not be part of the open source/free software community. He is an anathema to all that is good about free software.


I'm posting this so that you (the moderator) have some context to consider twitter [hyperdictionary.com] and not mod him up whenever he posts his filler preformatted rants about installing Knoppix or Mepis or whatever that unfortunately get him karma every single time and allow him to continue posting his trademark toxic crap (read on) day in and day out. You may consider this a troll - I consider it community service. And I ain't kidding.


If you're a /. subscriber, I invite you to look through some of his posting history [slashdot.org]. I guarantee that you'll be hard pressed to find someone that is more "out there" than twitter. You'll also probably notice he's got quite an AC following. Don't just read his posts, make sure you go through the replies.


To get an idea of what I'm talking about, check this [slashdot.org] post out. This is an article about email disclaimers. The parent of the post is complaining about the ads in the linked page and so on, and twitter actually goes off on a rant to blame it on Microsoft and recommend Lynx, because "is teh free".


Here's another. In this post [slashdot.org] twitter not only calls the OP a troll but attempts to "tell it like it is" while making some vague argument about "GNU". Yes, if you're confused, you're not alone. The reply (modded +4) proceeds to simply destroy his bogus argument. You will notice he did not reply. This is what some people call "drive-by advocacy". A sort of I'll just leave you with my thoughts here and move on to the next flamebait kind of deal. In fact, he almost never replies because he knows that his fanatical arguments simply do not hold up to any sort of discussion. It's not that he's chosen the wrong cause - he's just going at it in a completely wrong way.


Here's that drive-by advocacy and FUD in motion: twitter goes on [slashdot.org] about some topic and then drops the usual "oh and M$ is teh evil" because "WMP phones home" or some such. Called on his FUD, he then claims [slashdot.org] that WMP stores every song and movie you've ever played in a file, somewhere. Pressed further, he just sort of slithers out of sight, his FUD-spreading complete. This is not about some Microsoft technology that nobody likes anyway; it's about lying for the sake of lying. Way too many of his posts are exactly like this one.


More? Just read though this [slashdot.org] post and the subsequent replies. I guess this stands on its own. Or these [slashdot.org] two [slashdot.org]. Or this one [slashdot.org]. Or this one [slashdot.org].


Still not convinced? This [slashdot.org] is what twitter considers "humour" while going about his daily "M$" routine.


More? Bad spelling in astounding conspiracy theories [slashdot.org], more [slashdot.org] offtopic [slashdot.org] FUD [slashdot.org] and uninformed "I'm right, look at me" rants [slashdot.org], promptly proven wrong. Worse even, twitter wants to be RMS [slashdot.org], apparently [slashdot.org] (that first one is a winner). I mean, really [slashdot.org]. You think [slashdot.org]?


FUD [slashdot.org], FUD [slashdot.org], FUD [slashdot.org], FUD [slashdot.org], offtopic FUD [slashdot.org], and more FUD [slashdot.org]. This guy is like the Monty Python SPAM skit, but with FUD [slashdot.org] and more FUD [slashdot.org] instead of canned meat. Amazed yet [slashdot.org]? Don't forget that PowerPoint makes you dumb [slashdot.org], and it's all a Microsoft conspiracy [slashdot.org]. How low do you want to go? Maybe as low as this [slashdot.org]?


The infamous Fax Manifest [slashdot.org]? Nuclear fireballs [slashdot.org]? It goes on [slashdot.org] and on [slashdot.org] and on [slashdot.org] and on [slashdot.org] and on [slashdot.org] and on [slashdot.org] and on [slashdot.org]. Like the energizer bunny. Or take these [slashdot.org] two [slashdot.org], which stretch the definition of weird. And you have to love this [slashdot.org] thread.


And in case you haven't had enough, consider that twitter actually thinks Microsoft is out [slashdot.org] to [slashdot.org] get [slashdot.org] him. No [slashdot.org], really [slashdot.org]. He figures he's somehow relevant to the Open Source movement, and that by "attacking" him Microsoft wages war on us. How's that for warped reality. And finally, this [slashdot.org] should be good for a few chuckles.


It's up to you. We can get rid of this guy and make Slashdot a better place. I don't know about you, but I'd rather take the trolls and crapflooders over people like "twitter" any day. And I sure as hell don't want to be categorized along with him. This [slashdot.org] is not how you advocate free software, period.

Links:

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=49657&cid=5011 656 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=180946&thresho ld=1&cid=14972959 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=129735&thresho ld=5&cid=10823036 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=112229&cid=952 1025&threshold=5 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=137420&cid=114 89094&threshold=5 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=155076&cid=130 11391&threshold=5 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=113493&thresho ld=5&cid=9614809 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=164775&cid=137 51004 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=126301&thresho ld=5&cid=10572437 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=119108&thresho ld=5&cid=10056927 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=135403&cid=112 99129&threshold=5 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=136181&thresho ld=5&cid=11374447 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=134005&thresho ld=5&cid=11203454 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=159878&thresho ld=0&cid=13384602 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=166661&cid=138 99128&threshold=2 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=168164&cid=140 19967 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=168163&cid=140 20030&threshold=5 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=172399&thresho ld=1&cid=14355804 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=172869&cid=143 89115&threshold=5 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=175800&cid=146 12128&threshold=5 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=153489&thresho ld=-1&cid=12876883 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=118246&cid=999 7235&threshold=5 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=100963&cid=863 3073&threshold=5 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=182119&cid=150 55046 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=112831&thresho ld=5&cid=9567128 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=108477&cid=922 6590&threshold=5 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=93270&cid=8010 985&threshold=4 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=94140&cid=8079 321 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=88645&cid=7676 279&threshold=5 [slashdot.org]
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=116521&thresho ld=5&cid=9861962 [slashdot.org]

Softwarechoice.org (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17281224)

The most eggregious FUD site I have ever seen is this one [softwarechoice.org].

The site advocates that people should "procure software on its merit" -- which sounds fine on the surface -- but it turns out that they refuse to recognize that free licensing could ever be considered a "merit".

It's quite amazing to see such a large and pretty site devoted solely to trying to convince customers that they are wrong to care about free licensing, and that they should evalute software ONLY on the basis of its functionality.

The message is: "Customers are wrong to think the way they do. They need to think the way we tell them to."

MSM's only assets: Integrity and credibility (1)

shanen (462549) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281610)

Not just the NYT, but all MSM is pretty much asset free. Their only assets are integrity and credibility. Do they write the truth? And does anyone believe anything they write, regardless of the truth value.

Unfortunately, there is a fundamental dysfunction when advertising is introduced as a revenue source. Advertising agencies have *NO* integrity, though they're eager to fake sincerity. They want to rent the MSM credibility, but in so doing, they have succeeded in dragging the MSM down to their own level. First they destroyed the credibility of their own advertising platform, and then with venues like Fox (AKA FAUX) News, they destroyed the integrity, too.

So when was the last time you bought a paper? When was the last time you believed a newspaper ad?

Re:MSM's only assets: Integrity and credibility (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17282298)

I don't get what the credibility of Fox News has to do with bias by their advertisers.

Fox News has a clear conservative bias. It comes from their choice to pander to a conservative market. It has nothing to do with who advertises on the channel.

I'm not saying this in defense of Fox News, btw.

Re:MSM's only assets: Integrity and credibility (3, Insightful)

shanen (462549) | more than 7 years ago | (#17282428)

I didn't make that part clear enough. Fox News is just turning things completely on their heads. The old MSM was based on integrity, in that they wanted to find out and report the truth, and they also had to build their credibility, which is what the main article is actually focused on, in that the NY Times realized that their credibility was being destroyed by biased 'reporting'. (Not to imply that they had much credibility left.) However, Fox News never made any pretense of having any impartiality except for their bogus motto/logo. Fox just created something that looked like a news network and expected people to think it automatically had some credibility. Certain advertisers are willing to support the scam. I haven't checked, but I'd assume they're the same companies that support Rushbaugh.

Actually, the more interesting assault on reality involves the destructive redefinition of the linguistic modeling of reality. A very prominent example is that the word "liberal" has been completely redefined, but I actually received an interesting example in my email yesterday. Any form of disagreement with Dubya means I'm a Bush-hater, and my correspondent (a wealthy neo-GOP) insists that he gets to define my mental reality for me. He even included a list of new equivalences for "hate", stuff like disdain or disapproval or disrespect. Me, I think such word games are fundamentally intellectually dishonest. If I actually hated Dubya, I even think I'd be the first person to know it. The meaning of existing words should be respected, and if you need to describe a new concept (such as BushCo, Rushevik, Bushevik, and Rushbaugh), then you should go ahead and make it clear why a new term is needed--and then you should attempt to be consistent in how it is used to convey clear meanings, not to destroy old ones.

At least the NYT is trying.... (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17281668)

Blogosphere....blogorhea.....astroturfing by Sony.....analysts bought off by vendors (oh my!).

There isn't one truth, and never will be, as long as there are two people left alive. Yet, there are those that try, both in the blogodesert and in print-- (and The Online Edition)-- to get it right. Just the facts. No pre-judged bias. No orthodoxy. No guilt-driven blather.

Let's encourage them to be as truthful as we can, because as seen in too many places, bullshit just doesn't work well.

And it smells.

Free Software Foundation would not pass (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17281788)



A 'shill' is someone who distorts the truth.

Some people do this for money. They are shills.

Other people do this for ideological reasons. They are also shills.

The Free Software Foundation created a page distorting the truth about Windows Vista. It is difficult to envision any reason other than ideological for this.

Ergo: FSF would be ejected by any shill-filter.

Good News! (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 7 years ago | (#17282000)

Excellent news!

I look forward to The Register's Andrew Orlowski explaining his utter hatred of iTunes, Apple and many other things some time soon. It could be that he's being paid by Microsoft, or maybe his bias has another source. It'd be nice for him to come clean and explain himself.

Of course, that's what he's going to do, isn't it? He wouldn't be wanting others to do something he won't try, would he?

Analysts vs. Shills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17282462)

Really, you think they are different? Different masters, same bullshits.

Talking about BS, what happened to /.? Got to pay the mortgage, that's what. It's all good, though - we are amused and gratefule to troll each other - except these young-uns keep getting it confused. I thought you kids are supposed to be more savvy about this sorta things. Shit, what's new?!
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