PRESS DEMOCRAT AND MICROSOFT-BASHING

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat has somebody working their Business section with an anti-Microsoft grudge. The paper has been more and more bold about printing articles bashing Microsoft as if they’re straight news items. It’s confusing to people – a combination of misinformation and half-truths, with no indication that there’s another side. I sent this letter to the editor today:

You’ve printed many Microsoft-bashing articles in the past few years, but recently you’ve begun presenting them as straight news items – to your discredit. “Windows XP: Useful But Limited” appeared Monday, September 24, as the lead news story in the business section. It is not news. You can add a tag calling it “opinion,” “commentary,” or “analysis,” but to present it as a straight news item misleads your readers. The author describes his feelings about Windows XP and the debate over some of its features and requirements, with comments like these: “While I understand Microsoft’s anti-piracy intentions, this is an incredibly annoying feature.” Or, “Another drawback is the blatant influence of Microsoft marketers.” There are vigorous debates ongoing about those issues as well as others mentioned in the article. A news article presents both sides of a debate. An opinion presents one side. Your obligation is to distinguish one from the other. Consumers are struggling to evaluate Windows XP and readers are looking to learn about the issues, pro and con, that are being debated in the tech community. You’ve done them a disservice.