Balanced journalism revisited

It seems that these days I've become somewhat a PR crisis manager person for my husband. I'd like to think that this isn't true but the fact is I am, and I've got good reason to be.

A few weeks ago, Steven Patrick of In.Tech sent an email to Lokes, saying that IBM has initiated Round 2 of the smackdown of IBM Websphere vs .Net. While I did not, and still don,t have a working understanding of both products, I sensed the brink of a PR crisis, which of course, is just the sort of thing IBM was hoping to create. It seems that this was an ongoing initiative that's been reported all over the globe for some time now (FUDing around with Microsoft!).

And so, the fight began. IBM sent a list of allegations over, claiming cases of Websphere's superiority over .Net, and what MS had to do was answer. MS provided their claims in the same table. Mind you that much of this was done over email. According to Lokes, an invitation to go through this face-to-face was turned down by Patrick because he was running out of time. A few weeks later, the article was published. Much to the shock and dismay of MS, only the original table given by IBM was published, sans MS responses. NAturally, there was a big hooha in MS about this and I was given an earful of it because In.Tech pays some of my phone bills (I freelance for them). The reasons given? No space, no time and even that MS did not reply in time, and Lokes assured me that he replied within the given time frame.

What in the world has happened to balanced journalism and reporting? Were this to happen anywhere else in the world, some sort of legal action would ensue, and/or the reporter sent packing to the hills. This is obviously a calculated move driven by either untethered bias and/or money, which would no doubt make good reading (HAH, serves you right, Bill!).

People say that some bias slips in now and then but to NOT publish responses by one party who's supposed to constitute HALF of the story? What is the point? I said it once and I say it again. EVERYONE makes a career of dissing MS, so it would be nice if this dissing was done with some REAL facts. As one respondent to a discussion of this article brought up quite accurately: Facts and marketing spiel (hostile claims included) are mutually exclusive these days.

I decided to do some research on my own. I, with some help from friends, went to software development forums all around the world (both pro and anti MS) and posted links to the story just to see what the world at large had to say about this. Have a look yourself at some of the responses so far:

1.Mind.com.my

2.Serverside

The sad thing is there is just no practical resolution to this sort of thing, operative word being 'practical'. Not a PR myself, I could not offer anything helpful. If iStar's forums were still up, I'd have posted my ass off in there but they, for reasons still unknown (to me), are not around anymore. Even so, who the hell cares about balanced reporting. This is, after all, just another attempt at putting a dent in Bill's coffers. Is this a good reason enough to sacrifice professional journalism? I sincerely hope not.

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