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Tech blogs are regularly bribed for good coverage, and tech companies are known for doing it. Nobody bloody cares about integrity of journalism.

The Verge has historically been very favorable to Apple and Google. Why? They get exclusive interviews with Google and Apple executives. An interview with Sundar Pichai is worth millions in ad revenue, and if a blog is too critical of a company, they won't get interviews. Offering an interview to a news outlet is really not significantly different from cutting them a check.

Apple has been known for pretty much cutting out any site that dares to step out of line. I think whatever is left of Gizmodo is still banned from Apple events after Gizmodo reported about getting hands on a prototype iPhone.

> An interview with Sundar Pichai is worth millions in ad revenue,

Uh, say again?

Let's guess at a CPM of $10, and "millions" to be "2 million". That would be 200 million hits. You seriously think that an interview with a tech CEO whom few normal people will have heard of is going to have double the audience of the Superbowl?

I'd bet that in reality interviews with tech execs do horribly when it comes to generating traffic, but are done for the prestige of publishing something that looks like traditional journalism.

I don't know if it's really "worth millions", but I think you're missing aspects besides CPM. Having an interview with such a well-known person gives your blog a lot of credibility that you can leverage, e.g. when making deals with sponsors.

There are reputational benefits that are hard to quantify. Getting interviews with big names legitimizes you, which probably increases views on other articles

> Nobody bloody cares about integrity of journalism.

There's a gigantic difference between tech blogs and the NYT or WaPo.

Nobody expects tech blogs to exercise journalistic independence/integrity.

People do with the NYT and WaPo, and loudly cancel their subscriptions when the believe that's violated.

I kinda disagree with the idea tech blogs aren't real journalism or shouldn't be held to the same journalism standards. Especially with revenue on print media declining as much as it has, I'd say smaller blogs tend to do a lot of the deep original research online that many news organizations would've traditionally done. A blog like The Verge is often the original source of major revelations about tech companies and their behaviors.

Furthermore, while one might consider tech blogs a niche area, we consider Amazon, the world's largest retailer, a "tech company", so as "tech companies" start dominating major traditional verticals, "tech news" starts to just... be "news".

Here's the difference as I see it: major fact-based independent news outlets like the NYT, WaPo, etc. are essential for democracy. We rely on them for essential reporting about war, corruption, scandals, everything we need to make informed decisions at the voting booth. We expect them to report "both sides of the story".

Industry news is different. We often expect blogs, authors, etc. to be openly pro- or anti- on certain subjects, to be given favorable treatment by companies, etc. We expect them to be "editorial". Such journalism can be openly one-sided.

Reporting on the war in Afghanistan is fundamentally different from a review of the Oculus Quest 2.

That isn't to say tech blogs can't report unbiased, hard-hitting news. They sometimes do, and that's wonderful.

But I do believe that our general societal expectation is that industry news sources are free to (and often expected to) editorialize without a hard wall between news and editorials, while independent objective news outlets are expected to maintain that hard wall.

Tech blogs are about as independent as news sources get, so no, they are very much expected to act that way.

They’re also very small and therefore more easily bribed or crushed, whichever tactic is needed to get them in line

The fact they’re small means they’re more easily abandoned, though.

? In what world? Tech blogs seem to have the most obvious industry ties of most media

Of course they're obvious -- that's good. With larger players, you have no idea who they're being paid by (as shown, for instance, in the crux of this article). In contrast, with "new media" (e.g. a podcast), I can be reasonably confident they are only being paid by a few key sponsors, and that's public knowledge on account of them having purchased ad space.

>People do with the NYT and WaPo, and loudly cancel their subscriptions when the believe that's violated.

Nowadays, they mostly cancel their subscriptions when they get to read some opinion they don't like.

That seems a little too optimistic. Nowadays, they cancel their subscriptions when they get to read some fact they don't like. For example, back in the run-up to the 2016 election there was an utterly nutso, completely nonsensical conspiracy theory about Trump using DNS as a secret communications channel with a Russian bank and, for some reason, a US medical clinic which the Clinton campaign demanded the FBI investigate. After that demand went viral on social media, the NYT pushed back in the gentlest way possible by saying the FBI had looked at these claims and concluded all the evidence was likely the result of normal mass marketing emails for Trump hotels. (This is also what most experts concluded regardless of political affiliation. Other problems included the fact it would've made a really awful communication channel and wasn't even remotely under Trump's control.) Some time later, there was such a pushback against this including a campaign of cancelled subscriptions, that the Times basically ended up apologising and saying they wouldn't do it again.

To this day, the only part of this that has been called a conspiracy theory by any mainstream publication is the idea that the whole thing could be an entirely technically unremarkable result of ordinary mass marketing emails for Trump hotels.

Is this the case? The NYT seemed much more reasonable on the Russia stuff than say, most cable news.

> the Times basically ended up apologising and saying they wouldn't do it again.

This did not happen. I'm assuming you're referring to this passage from an article two years later:

> The key fact of the article — that the F.B.I. had opened a broad investigation into possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — was published in the 10th paragraph.

> A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts. But the article’s tone and headline — “Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia” — gave an air of finality to an investigation that was just beginning.

> Democrats say that article pre-emptively exonerated Mr. Trump, dousing chances to raise questions about the campaign’s Russian ties before Election Day.

> Just as the F.B.I. has been criticized for its handling of the Trump investigation, so too has The Times.

This is not "apologising and saying they wouldn't do it again."

I agree that the term "conspiracy theory" is not used in a balanced way. Mainstream democrat theories that turn out to be without merit just stop being reported on (such as the Steele Dossier), whereas theories from either left or right fringe generally are called conspiracy theories.

> Nobody bloody cares about integrity of journalism. >> People do with the NYT and WaPo,

For me neither of those newspapers have integrity at all.

Edit: there is ample evidence of both "newspapers" flat out lying; what I would call straight out propaganda as if they are part of an agenda. I doubt downvoters will want to debate me but if any of you have the guts please reach out. It'll be an easy win for me.

This is what is referred to as ‘access journalism’ and indeed, it’s heavily prescient in technology - as it is in music, showbiz, sports, as well.

And politics and international coverage

> Nobody bloody cares about integrity of journalism.

To offer a bit more nuance: consumers care about enough integrity; and powerful institutions (public or private), who stand to win or lose based on press narratives, care about enough "fairness" to their own perspectives (and interests).

Looking purely at realpolitik incentives, journalistic institutions can straddle that line and hit well over 50% on both fronts. Not to pick on the guy, but my poster child for this phenomenon is Daring Fireball's John Gruber: he's built a longstanding personal brand of integrity, covering Apple-centric tech for 20 years, and is frequently critical of the company and its products. And yet, he's frequently given preferential treatment by the company and its executives, because that same history has also signaled a (heartfelt) bias to being sympathetic to Apple's values and motives, meaning execs have a high confidence that reviews will be fair, interviews will be free of the scariest "gotcha" questions, etc.

The Verge regularly publishes pieces critical of apple and google? this is from less than a week ago: https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/13/22370158/google-ai-ethics...

I would say I've seen more critical pieces lately. I think over the last couple of years, a lot of this has broken down because of just how egregious corporate behavior has gotten. But especially around 2015-2016, it was palpable how much Verge was holding their tongue in articles especially in the months around Sundar Pichai interviews.

Anybody know of a good news source that doesn’t fall into this trap? I hear the economist is pretty good.

Move to purely user funded media.

One of my favorite yet least controversial is: https://congressionaldish.com/

But it's not hard to find user funded media for all manner of topics.

Edit: Also https://reader.substack.com/inbox

Then the publication has to please its readers, not telling them news they don't want to hear. Imagine a user-funded source publishing negative news about the GameStop mob.

The Economist has a history of lies and falsehoods by omission when it comes to foreign policy and international coverage. Anywhere from their Bolivia, Venezuela, Libya, Iraq, Honduras, Guatemala, Venezuela, Syria, Chile (the editor openly boasted of delivering the coup) and so much more. They are often a bit more nuanced compared to coup and regime change lovers like Fox, Washington Post, and the NY. Times.

Can you explain more about the 'history of lies and falsehoods by omission'? I am not familiar with the specific articles about the countries you listed. Can you give a few examples? Ideally if we could compare/contrast articles with other outlets you think are more credible that would probably help!

Here is a recent one on Bolivia. They mangled the textbook definition of a coup. Faux news would be proud:


The funny thing is that you can be openly pro coup without resorting to lies. John Bolton and his crudeness will be missed. Although a Yale law graduate he refused to use sophistry of The Economist etc. for violent regime changes and attempts.

John Bolton on a Fox TV interview talking the advantages of a coup in Venezuela and how to take over Venezuelan oil:


“We’re looking at the oil assets,” Bolton said. “That’s the single most important income stream to the government of Venezuela. We’re looking at what to do to that.”

“We’re in conversation with major American companies now,” he continued. “I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here.”

“It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies really invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela,” Bolton admitted.


I actually stopped reading the Verge because of how relentlessly negative they were about everything related to tech. Which for a tech blog is sort of weird. So not sure what you mean about favorable coverage there.

I would pay for high-integrity tech journalism, and I'm surprised that many more don't do the same. Many of our businesses depend on that information.

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