Recently Calvin Austin joined Richard Grimes in some unwarranted, and virtually factless .NET bashing. Okay, so I could pick apart his lame-ass assertions, but other smarter people than I have already done that. Check out Dino Chiesa's Official Response, or Jon Box's Blog, or for an even more technology agnostic point of view check out Michele Leroux Bustamante's Blog. What concerns me is the lack of responsibility both on the part of the author and on the part of JDJ.
While Mr. Austins' comments are marked as an editorial, there seems to be not only a lack of fact checking but a complete disregard for any facts. Instead we get obvious lies meant only to drum up readership for JDJ and set the blogsphere aflame with righteous indignation. But then what? Will we see an apology from Mr. Austin for his pitiful attempt to make a name for himself after leaving Sun? Will JDJ retract the article from the web and print an apology in it's next issue. Of course not! After all, it's an editorial.
At what point did "editorializing" release a publication or author from the laws against libel? Call me crazy, but I thought an editorial was supposed to be an opinion based on an interpretation of the facts. The interpretation could be completely nuts but the facts should be relatively absolute. In those cases an editorial opinion can lead to a thoughful debate that will help everybody involved, regarless of which side of the interpretation they decide to agree with. But if the editorial opinion is based on lies, there can't be a real debate. What has been a well respected form of journalism is devolved to just a bunch of shouting and noise in hopes of selling a few more issues.
What can we do about it? Probably not much. But after Dr. Dobbs, a magazine I had always respected, let Richard Grimes publish what was obviously misleading information I quit reading it. My monthly subscription now goes directly into the garbage and when the subscription is over I won't bother renewing it. I don't subscribe to JDJ so I can't unsubscribe to that. So here is my recommendation.
I think article authors should boycott the Sys-Con publications until JDJ retracts the editorial. I've written articles for .NETDJ and I know it makes us all look bad to be included with this type of irresponsible journalism. Somebody has to demand better not only from publications like JDJ and Sys-Con but from the authors themselves. Let those of us who strive for some sort of integrity lead Sys-Con into doing the right thing. If you're with me, use the comments link.
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