The Haus

Wednesday, August 8, 2001

Linux Today Editor Admits AstroTurfing

Kevin Reichard, executive editor for Linux Today, posted an apology for his practice of "astroturfing". Astroturfing was first coined when Microsoft allegedly instructed employees to write letters to the editors of various publications defending the company without stating that they were employees. It is a fake grassroots campaign, thus, astroturfing. In this case, Reichard posted on Linux Today's news talkbacks anonymously and with pseudonyms speaking against Linux Today in an attempt to make competing sites look bad. I suppose then it's actually reverse astroturfing. No matter.

I had heard rumors of this for some time, but I wanted to have facts before I posted. I am of the opinion (n.b. this is my opinion, not necessarily that of the rest of The Haus' staff) that Reichard should resign or be forced to resign for this. It completely destroys his credibility and makes his objectivity extremely suspect. The apology makes it seem like he has no concept of the damage he has done. It doesn't even sound like he doesn't even think an apology is necessary. Someone who is either so cavalier or so clueless needs to be shown the door if Linux Today hopes to clear up their tarnished image.

Of course, I'm sure that more than a few people will remind me that "journalistic integrity" is an oxymoron.

News for 08/08/2001

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