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Nader Conference & Media Coverage
What is the problem in the media with coverage of the computer industry and
events like the Nader Conference?
The San Jose Mercury News, newspaper of Silicon Valley, featured the
Conference as the lead article in the Business Section on Friday (11-14).
Under the headline, "Microsoft Under Siege," were two articles -- "Software
Goliath fights back with public relations blitz" and "Conference is a bash
Of the 38-3/4 column inches of reporting in the two articles, 60% was
devoted to Microsoft and Microsoft viewpoints. In the article supposedly
about the conference itself (headlined "bash fest"), 41% was devoted to
Microsoft and its viewpoints.
Scant mention was made of the issues that prompted the conference or that
were raised at the conference. The reader seeking information about issues
or the actual content of the conference received little more than allusions
and a few tidbits -- nothing substantial, although the reader is informed
that "Nader's conference spewed forth a steady stream of Microsoft's
supposed transgressions." The reporter's colorful language and use of
qualifiers, like "supposed" transgressions and "alleged" problem is
interesting, especially since such qualifiers are absent in reporting on
The Conference was cast as a battle by the San Jose Mercury News in
descriptions such as "bash fest," the use of words like "attack" and
"siege," and the header "Microsoft fights back," terms strikingly similar
or identical to the ones Microsoft proponents use to describe critics.
The coverage on Microsoft did contain some good background information,
such as the fact that Microsoft spent over $900,000 on lobbying in
Washington, DC during the first 6 months of this year, presumably spread
among the nine firms Microsoft has hired to represent them and including at
least one lobbyist who is close to House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
--- Marianne Wolfman firstname.lastname@example.org