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05/15/2005 Archived Entry: "Sys-Con and journalistic ethics"

Quote of the day:

What does ethics have anything to do with professional reporting and journalism?
-- Fuat Kircaali, CEO of Sys-Con Media, publisher of several computer magazines

In case you've missed the furor, the entire senior editorial staff of LinuxWorld magazine, a Sys-Con publication, has resigned. This is in protest against their publisher's standing by an unethical piece written by a SCO shill, Maureen O'Gara, in which she attempted to "out" PJ of Groklaw. Among other offenses, this smear published the home address and phone number of a woman purported to be PJ.

Kircaali is now whining about being the target of DOS attacks. My guess is he's just been "slashdotted." That neologism refers to the immense number of web hits that occur when a page is mentioned on the popular Slashdot news site. (If Slashdot ever mentions McBlog, you can bet our server will fail under the load.) Kircaali's awareness of the world seems to be limited; he claims to be the target of "the biggest cyber attack in history any media company was ever subject to"; apparently unaware of the attacks against CNN and Al-Jazeera, to name just two examples from recent memory.

(Addendum: There is some evidence that this was a Denial Of Service attack, and not just the slashdot effect. If you call a large number of "wget" requests from a few hosts an "attack." It's certainly nothing like the distributed DOS attacks mounted by malicious crackers.)

I like Dana Blankenhorn's take on the whole issue. Kircaali may understand business ethics, but he doesn't understand journalistic ethics. Indeed, as the above quote shows, Kircaali doesn't think ethics have anything to do with journalism. A sad statement for a publisher to make. Dana Blankenhorn has the right response:

Personally I will not write for any Sys-Con publication, I won't read one, and if I knew their advertiser list I'd boycott the lot of them.

I do know from the Kircaali interview that two of their rags are Java Developerís Journal and .NET Developerís Journal, and that one of their advertisers is Microsoft. Heck, I'm already boycotting Microsoft.


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