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Editor's Note: Screed Attempts to Silence Voice Against SCO

May 09, 2005, 13:45 (107 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

By Brian Proffitt
Managing Editor

Just before I left town for the weekend, a dismayed reader posted a contrib to Linux Today from Maureen O'Gara's clientservernews.com site that was the first part of an alleged "exposé" on Pamela Jones of Groklaw.

When I got back, I read the article and was incensed.

I have not, in my tenure as Managing Editor of Linux Today, ever come out in judgment of any given article or any given Web site. Even when I have been personally and professionally maligned, my stance has been to put the information out there and let you, the reader, judge its veracity.

Until now.

The information revealed in the O'Gara article paints a vile picture of Pamela Jones, both in its tone and in its blatant emphasisis of Jones' age and religion. As if that matters one whit.

I do not bring forth this article to endorse it in any way, shape, or form. I condemn it. It is full of slander and malice. With the publication of phone numbers, addresses and (in the LinuxBusinessNews version of the story) photographs of homes and family members, it is clearly designed to intimidate Jones into silence.

Having discussed this online with Jones yesterday, I can tell you it's not going to work.

Many in the tech journalist community suspect that the information gathered for this article was being done by private investigators on behalf of SCO. SCO's own statements in their last public conference call indicate that they were more than willing to launch such an investigation. I do not know if O'Gara actually did the legwork her story claims, but I would be very interested if there were private investigators involved and if so, who paid for them.

The information revealed in O'Gara's article consists of personal and private information that portrays Jones as an aging religious nut just by virtue that she's allegedly 61 and allegedly a Jehovah's Witness.

Even if these statements are true, what does it matter? A reporter's age matters? A reporter's choice of faith matters? A 38-year-old Presbyterian like myself can be a better reporter than a 61-year-old Jehovah's Witness just by my age and faith alone? I don't think so, and it sickens me that age and faith are used as weapons against someone's personal and professional integrity.

One thing of note: while Sys-Con, the publishers of LinuxBusinessNews.com and LinuxWorld.com, have seen fit to post this article on LBN, the editorial staff of the LinuxWorld print publication should not be brought to task. Some have already publicly called for action against O'Gara.

This is nothing more than another chapter in a smear campaign that violates every shred of ethical journalism I can think of. Not only am I outraged on a personal level, but this bodes very ill on a professional level as well. If private entities or public corporations can single out "troublesome" journalists (or bloggers or even private citizens) and expose them to such scrutiny in an effort to intimidate them into silence, then we, as journalists and private citizens) all stand to lose a great deal in our pursuit of truth.