The Problem With (certain) News Media...

Slashdot has a very interesting story about a poor system administrator who was fired for running SETI@Home. You see, the evil management types found it to be a waste of their resources, claiming that it caused $1 million worth of damages!

Doesn't sound very fair, does it?

Now let's throw in the part where he downloaded porn at work and stole equipment. The SETI@Home thing was just one part of what was apparently a pattern of shoddy work.

But "man fired for stealing and doing a poor job" really isn't news, is it? It's only interesting to people who live in the local community.

Claim that it's all about SETI@Home, though, and you can probably get some good nerd rage going.

Despite the fact that if IT installed SETI@Home on their work computers, most nerds would go ballistic. I already get upset about time wasted to IT-required software like virus scans and update software - things which I agree need to be run, but which still ultimately cause me some amount of downtime.

And this is really a simple example of how news media can distort facts. The fact that it's on Slashdot means that, honestly, I can't expect better. Slashdot is explicitly non-professional. It's why I read the comments on Slashdot - the Slashdot commenters are usually very good at rooting out bullshit and finding the truth.

But it isn't just Slashdot that does this. All you have to do is watch the little "breaking news at 11" blurbs on network TV to get an idea of how little truth matters compared to sensationalism.

I guess that's why I get all my news from the Daily Show. At least I know that they're going for entertainment over substance. Which isn't to say that they don't manage to get more substance in than most network news...