Re: Is Reg supported by some anti (or pro) XYZ/ABC organization?
I know I'm the new guy around here, but I think that after four or five months I would have figured out if there's a super-secret shadow cabal pumping out hidden messages to the masses via The Register's editorial control. Quite the opposite. I think The Register gives its authors a remarkable amount of freedom. To date I've not been told once which product or company to write about. I've not been asked to go easy on an individual or corporation, nor have I been asked to really put the clamps on either.
Other than my editor’s valiant attempts to elevate my writing skill beyond the linguistic equivalent of banging two rocks together, I seem free to write what I wish. Now admittedly, this is anecdotal evidence. It’s possible that there is a huge conspiracy and I’m just not in on it. I prefer to take the Occam’s razor approach; the simplest explanation is likely the truth.
Rather than sponsor driven editorial dictates, I think it’s far more plausible that The Register does exactly what it says on the tin: bites the hand that feeds IT. The readers it attracts, as well as the folks that it employs are the kind of people who take the piss out of everything and everyone all the time.
For every pet topic, viewpoint or belief you might ascribe to a particular author here on The Register, you’ll find another one with a completely different viewpoint. From an institutional standpoint, I don’t think you can find a single corporation, individual or discussion item (beyond the obvious ones such as the importance of journalistic integrity) that would garner uncontested support from amidst The Register and her many regular readers.
Frankly, I think that’s the way it should be. Any news organisation/blog/magazine/what-have-you that allows its sponsors or the political leanings of it’s higher-ups to affect the content of works produced by its staff doesn’t deserve to exist. Any proper information outlet should always strive to report the truth as they know it at the time of publication. /Without/ knowingly omitting vital information that changes the overall result of the work. A purposeful lie by omission is still a lie.
Preferably, the organisation as a whole should have the chutzpah, resources and time to dig a little deeper than the surface impressions and do some real investigative snooping around from time to time. Sadly, as we move into the era of “citizen journalism” in which noone pays for the media they consume, outlets that have the resources for this are fewer and farther between. Personally, I think El Reg does remarkably well at looking past the fluffy PR pieces that are thrown in their direction and sniffing around for the larger picture.
Of course, no news organisation in the world has the capacity to employ only investigative journalists, so they also have a cadre of reporters. Even the investigative folks have to do a little basic reporting. Reporting is exactly what it sounds like: reporting the facts of an event and leaving it up to the reader to make any inferences they wish. Somewhere in the mix you get opinion pieces as well; these are usually reasonably well researched and written in order to spark thought and debate. Overall, The Register does a damned fine job of maintaining a balance between these.
Fanboys of any stripe will not find safe harbour here. Eventually, no matter what product or company you believe in, an article will come along and take the piss out of it. Though regrettable, every now and again an article will even come along that is outright wrong. This isn’t maliciousness but usually an honest mistake on the part of an author. For all the negativity that El Reg (and dozens of other rags just like her) get from commenters about being “bought and paid for,” I have come to trust the reporting here more than I have almost all of the mainstream information outlets in Canada. Certainly I trust El Reg by an order of magnitude more than any of the mainstream press in the US.
Everyone deserves a right to their opinion, but accusation of being bought and paid for venture into the territory of insulting. These are good people, sir; they all work honestly and hard to do a great job. The grousing of commenters can make writing feel thankless. The gods only know how the people who moderate things around here don’t go absolutely nuts.
I could go on. I’ve had such a terrible day at my day job today that I would like to. Retrospectively, I realise that a page-and-a-half nuclear diatribe is a completely disproportionate response to your comment. I apologise, but I really needed to vent some frustration and your comment struck a nerve.
I received my very first “you’re a paid corporate shill” comment to one my articles not too long ago. It still stings a little; I’d like to think that if I was a paid corporate shill I wouldn’t be so poor. I’d also like to think that the cost of my ethics is more than a little bit higher than anyone out there would be willing to pay. Somehow, I suspect that’s true of everyone here.