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NY Times Tries to Untangle Analysts and Shills 179

Posted by kdawson
from the hardly-unbiased dept.
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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NY Times Tries to Untangle Analysts and Shills

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  • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @05:42PM (#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.

    • by rrohbeck (944847) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @05:49PM (#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.
    • by jcknox (456591) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @06:10PM (#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.

      • 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 impl
        • More people agreeing with a point of view can be obtained most cheaply by being honest and correct.

          Promotion is an expensive way to compensate for being wrong. Real nonprofits don't have the extra cash to pay to be wrong but popular, unless they're fronts.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dangitman (862676)

            More people agreeing with a point of view can be obtained most cheaply by being honest and correct.

            Uhhh, no. Look at how popular religion is. Look at how many people believe political lies, and distrust scientific fact. Look at how many people believe common myths. Being honest or correct does not guarantee popularity. In fact, it usually means less popularity.

            • by Doc Ruby (173196)
              I offered no guarantees, only economics. Religion and politics spends a lot of money to be popularly wrong. Science is cheaper, once the science is known and the proof obtained.
        • Non profit:

          1.- Believe in a cause or idea.
          2.- Spread the idea, convince skeptics.
          3.- ???
          4.- Profit (in social status certainly, I have not seen Richard Stallman's Ferrari, but I am sure he lives in hope).

          Commercial company:

          1.- Have a bussines, make lots of money.
          2.- Identify ideas that harm profit, combat them with astroturfing and lobbyists pretending to be unbiased.
          3.- ???
          4.- Profit, of the monetary kind that allows for those Ferraris.

          Cappice?
      • by whereiswaldo (459052) on Monday December 18, 2006 @07:50AM (#17284682) Journal
        Is this not censorship? I hate seeing the dodgy M$ "fact" campaigns like most of you, but I don't know if shutting them out is the answer. A balanced view of the major players in the market along with the positive and negative of each would be very informative and fair. A powerful way to present the data would be in simple tables:

        Vendors supporting DRM
        ----------------------
        Company 1
        Company 2

        Vendors against DRM
        -------------------
        Organization 1

        Pluses of DRM
        -------------
        * [Company1] ....

        Negatives of DRM
        ----------------
        * [Company1] ...

        Presenting in this form would help prevent the nonsense answers that someone like Steve Balmer seems to dole out. "Uh, sir, we need a checkmark for yes or no in this box. What can I put down for you?". You could boil down interviews to answering a non-anonymous multiple-choice questionnaire with comments at the end. I know most or all of this has been done by certain magazines on certain occasions, but as a standard I think it would work well.

        Determining who are the major players would require some thought as well. I notice that companies under the top 3 often get overlooked in magazine reviews: it's as if they don't exist. However, their competing features can be just as good.
        • by tbannist (230135) on Monday December 18, 2006 @09:39AM (#17285690)
          Sometimes a little censorship is a good thing.

          Companies hire these shillers to get quotes into newspapers and television, the only possible way to deal with them is to not quote them, anything else is giving them what they want. Because you see each citation of a shill, gets added to the shill's resume so that he can get even more citations. That's how crazy people like Jack Thompson get publicity. He starts by showing how many times he's been cited in the past to show his credibility.

          Given those facts, it's entirely right that all news media identify and systematically ignore these people. An opinion that is bought and paid for is less than worthless to any news media. They're parasites who consume the credibility of whatever they're quoted in for the benefit of their masters.
        • There is a difference between censorship and filtering misinformation. Quoting something that is demonstrably false or quoting all opinions regardless of their foundation in fact is NOT being equal.

          As for yes/no answers, those are also insufficient. The world does not boil down to boolean algebra. I know we'd *like* it to boil down that far, but it doesn't. The best you can do if you want some kind of value on opinion is bayes'theorem.

          Anyway, as a demonstration (and this applies to politics as well

        • A company that goes to the public tell its opinion should not be censored. An independent individual that goes to the public to tell his opinion shouldn't be censored either.

          Now, a company that goes to the public covered as an independent individual shouldn't be listened. That is a lie, and there is no point on a newspaper reporting lies.

        • by a.d.trick (894813)
          Is this not censorship

          I'm not allowed to sit on the jury for my own court case. It's not sensorship. It's assuring a fair trial by filtering out people who have a high interest in the result. In this case, it's a finacial interest.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Malenfrant (781088)
      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.
      • by dangitman (862676)
        I'm not so sure. I heard reports of the "Defective by Design" campaign all over the media, including mainstream sources. It wasn't until a recent slashdot article that I discovered that the FSF was behind that campaign. I don't think these groups are beyond manipulating the media.
    • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @07:02PM (#17281096) Homepage
      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.
    • by Qzukk (229616) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @07:06PM (#17281128) Journal
      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by h2g2bob (948006)
        As Matt Groening once said:
        Things are a lot more interesting when you give both sides of an argument a voice
        Enough said.
        • by Petrushka (815171) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @08:25PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Doc Ruby (173196)
            If "teaching in schools" were actually a debate, there might be merit to teaching Creationism in schools. Because it would be exposed by actual debate as BS and fake pseudoscience. But that's not how teaching Creationism works - or most teaching. Most is training.

            Until we fix schools to train people to think and not just behave, Creationism has no place in that dictation environment.
          • by vtcodger (957785)
            ***By that argument, creationism should be taught in schools.***

            It certainly should be. If it were, there would be a lot fewer literal creationists and most of those that remained would at least have read Genesis.

          • by kthejoker (931838)
            No that argument does not suggset creationism should be taught in schools. Read the quote again, and ponder the meaning of the word "interesting" in Matt Groening's worldview.
      • Actually, with fox its "a raving lunatic from one side of the issue" and "some random guy no one has ever heard of who claims to be a raving lunatic from the other side, but actually are a moderate from the first side who just bashes the second side".
      • by Raul654 (453029)
        Al Frankin (in Lies and the Lying Liars) said best. He took the 4 most common guests on Brit Hume's show (sorry, but I can't remember exactly who they were). 2 of them were ultra-conservatives and 2 were moderates. So, Frankin pointed out - "Imagine a game of political see-saw, with two people sitting on the extreme right end of the see-saw and two people sitting in the middle. See? That's how Fair and Balanced works on Fox News"
    • by 1u3hr (530656)
      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.

    • And it is called profit.

      Organizations promoting an agenda but not profitting from their activities can be taken serioulsy since theri biases are born out of conviction, not interest.

      On the other hand, commercial organizations will go to strenous lenghts to show you black is white if doing so will increase their profits. The tobacco and alcohol companies and their paid for studies and lobbyists are the better known of examples of this.
    • by vtcodger (957785)
      ***Why? Aren't they biased, too?***

      They are biased, but their bias is largely orthagonal to quality/usability.

      That is to say that the FSF is perfectly capable of saying that Microsoft Fiasco is a wonderful and useful product, but is unacceptable because it is crippled by DRM. When you are assessing quality and/or usability the FSF assessment of quality may well be free of intentional bias.

      OTOH, some Microsoft funded 'Mongolian Software Progress Foundation' that consists of an Ulan Bator taxi driver an

    • by hey! (33014)
      I think the ethical point is whether you are up front with what your biases are. If you claim to have one viewpoint (neutral) but have another (partisan), you are deceiving people as to how you select the information you present and how you interpet it.

      It's a matter of ends and means. There is nothing wrong with the end of promoting Microsoft products, but doing so by deception is morally wrong.

      Furthermore it is quite possible to pursue an end, but be open about information and arguments that contradict t
  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @05:45PM (#17280486) Homepage Journal
    ``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.
    • 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 e

    • by thue (121682)
      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.

      There is a world of difference between asking asking the opinion of organizations like the EFF, who are open about where they stand, and a supposedly independent analyst who is secretly paid by Microsoft to say what he says.

      The problem is hidden bias, not bias. The opinion of people with an acknowledged interest in a subject is often valuable; for example getting a comment from Microsof
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pjrc (134994)
      Really, this appears to be policy regarding Rob Enderle.

      Ask anyone who's followed the SCO lawsuit saga and they'll tell you about the major Microsoft shills. Enderle (his own "group", just him really), Didio (garner), Daniel Lyons (forbes), and Maurice (sorry, didn't follow that part so well).

      These folks know how to work the media. They appear quoted over and over again. They have massive bias. Enderle is the by far the WORST.

      Of the many Enderle stories, he gave a keynote speech at some SCO develo

  • 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? (Score:5, Informative)

      by evw (172810) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @06:03PM (#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.
      • 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.
  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 17, 2006 @05:46PM (#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?
  • Garbage. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Skadet (528657) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @05:50PM (#17280540) Homepage
    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?
  • 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.
  • by MarkusQ (450076) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @05:52PM (#17280550) Journal

    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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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.
  • Who then ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Joebert (946227)
    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
    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      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.

      I don't see bias in itself as being the issue. In fact, sometimes I'd rather see opinions coming from people who have enough conviction in their opinion to stake a personal outcome on it. The problem is whether that bias is genuine or not.

      It's easy to check on facts. You can keep an expert honest by doing so. The problem is, there are so few simple facts. Most

  • It looks like (Score:4, Informative)

    by Oddster (628633) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @06:02PM (#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 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.

  • by NevarMore (248971) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @06:04PM (#17280650) Homepage Journal
    ...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.
    • 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. ... The bias question was also material for an elective journalism course for me at college.*

      "Linux zealot," What is that and why would you bother to interview one? I'm getting tired of seeing that meaningless insult slung around.

      Of course, that's not what the NYT is complaining about. They are bothered by their sources pretending to be things they are not. Microsoft i

      • by Tim C (15259)
        "Linux zealot," What is that and why would you bother to interview one?

        You're new here, aren't you? Read any story here about Linux, OS X, BSD or Windows and you'll see plenty of ill-informed, poorly-reasoned, frothing at the mouth comments from people either supporting Linux or denigrating Windows, all based on incorrect supposition, out of date information that is no longer true, logical fallacies and a hefty sprinkling of FUD.

        Not to say that you don't also get Windows zealots, OS X zealots, BSD zealots,
  • 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
    • by DECS (891519) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @06:25PM (#17280810) Homepage Journal
      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!!!").

  • JBoss, the 'professional open source' company are notorious for astroturfing on Java forums.
  • by spoco2 (322835) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @06:19PM (#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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Fear the Clam (230933)
      called the MX which is provided at train stations


      I suppose its editorial page is called the Peacemaker?

      Sorry, '80s joke there, kids.
  • by D4C5CE (578304) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @06:20PM (#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)...

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @06:23PM (#17280796)
    You simply need peer review and reproducible results. The level of ojectivity in most computing journals is abysmal.

     
    • by perkr (626584)
      No bias in scientific publications... right. Have you published scientific papers yourself, and if so, in what field? I am just curious.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Colin Smith (2679)
        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.
         
        • by perkr (626584)
          Actually an entire field may have a bias. I doubt most work is every reproduced, of course, for different scientific fields and traditions, this may be more or less severe.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just give me transparency about your sources, and I'll make up my own mind.
  • by postbigbang (761081) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @08:23PM (#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.
  • The columnist trying to prove that Vista is not a rip-off from Mac OS X - I wonder who paid him to have his opinion...

    http://video.on.nytimes.com/?fr_story=d14603c1e23e 6ce37920a8134a2e27b1405a4991&rf=bm [nytimes.com]
  • 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?
  • by RhettLivingston (544140) on Sunday December 17, 2006 @10:07PM (#17282310)
    Maybe they should take the 2 by 4 out of their own eye first.
  • That's what's missing. It's downright dishonest to present a report without citing sources and any financial connection. So long as that's out there, and the reader can make their own judgment, there isn't really a problem. Unless, of course, all reporting comes from the same source(s), but if they're cited, then at least that fact will be obvious.

    That's also where EFF and the like are ahead of the corporate pack. Regardless of what you may think of their biases, they're up front about them, and up fr

  • How about the NYT just never publishes John Markoff again, because he's a shallow liar who just likes what Microsoft likes?
  • Here is what I responded.

    "I've been watching the analysts in the IT field for about 7 years now. On Microsoft areas, they usually give the vendor the benefit of the doubt, frequently just parroting marketing blurbs. Even when as Cairo and Longhorn played out it became increasingly obvious that there was no product there, and never had been. The analysts still don't admit they were had. Neither do most of the press. And it's still going on.

    The same analysts were constantly predicting things for Linux that we
  • by Shivetya (243324) on Monday December 18, 2006 @06:17AM (#17284360) Homepage Journal
    "Fake think tanks, dubious sponsored research, and Astroturf are not considered but should be"

    Sounds like this applies to many areas of interest today, whether its politics, the environment, or terrorism.

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