Understanding the Issue

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-08-08 Print this article Print

What's harder to understand is how a journalist could base a story on unsubstantiated claims from a single group with a stake in the outcome of the article. But The New York Times has always been fairly inept when it comes to covering technology, and its understanding of the issues involving net neutrality has been tenuous at best. In other words, we've gone through two days of kerfuffle based on sloppy reporting, lazy journalism and technology coverage from a publication that doesn't understand technology.

I should also add that apparently The New York Times doesn't actually understand the technology business, either. A key point in its story is the relationship between Google and Verizon because of its Droid devices that run Google's Android operating system.  The problem with this is that there is no relationship between the two companies here. Verizon Wireless, which sells the Android devices, is a separate company. It's a joint venture between Verizon and Vodafone, and Verizon (the phone company) has no operational role in Verizon Wireless. You'd think that even a really junior reporter would take the trouble to learn this.

The bottom line is that all of this gnashing of teeth has had only one useful result, which was prodding the FCC to call off its secret talks about net neutrality. The fact that everything else about this story was just plain wrong doesn't make this right, but it was still a good outcome. The FCC should be public and upfront in its discussions about net neutrality. And meanwhile, The New York Times should stick to covering the New York social scene, where it has some expertise.

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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