North American Network Operators Group

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Cooked reporting

  • From: Dave Crocker
  • Date: Wed Apr 05 12:39:44 2000

At 01:11 AM 4/5/00 -0400, [email protected] wrote:
Now let's face it guys:

1) Gordon's a journalist, or what passes for one
2) We're stuck with him

Some points to consider:

Good journalism is a real profession, guided by some significant and well-established principles of practise, such as confirming information through independent means, and seeking both sides of a story.

Gordon does neither of these.

He frequently passes out unconfirmed rumors without naming their source. And as noted in this thread, we only got a 'publicity release' from Exodus, with no information from PSI. Peering arrangements change frequently, so we have no information about the REAL news, namely the "why" of this change.

At base, this thread pertains to a manipulation of Gordon, effectively to Exodus' benefit, since it paints PSI in a bad light.

Comparing the publication of the letter to the Pentagon Papers misses the fundamental point that the Papers were extensive source material, not a second-hand publicity-release. (Don't be misled by the fact that the publicity release was labeled confidential and sent only to Exodus customers. It was a document engineered by Exodus for circulation.)

Gordon does the community an excellent service by publishing summaries of technical issues, as told to him by experts in the field. (As I recall, his extensive listing of names managed to miss my own... Gordon can be a bit selective, sometimes.)

However Gordon's own analysis of things, especially concerning motivations, is pure and unsubstantiated conspiracy theory.

Self-exposition can be helpful:

At 09:15 AM 4/3/00 -0400, Gordon Cook wrote:
4. Exodus certainly had to tell its content providers that they were gong to face problems in getting to somewhere between 5 and 10% of the Internet.
Do ISPs regularly inform their customers of peering changes? Are we given any reasons for the change? Do the reasons constitute biased or unfair practise?

These are questions that serious reporting is obligated to pursue.

5. But Exodus was also embarrassed by the deterioration in its service that it was allowing to be inflicted on its customers. So Exodus, in an attempt to limit the damage, marked the email "customer confidential communication."
Pure speculation, absent our being provided a basis for the assessment. Hence this is not reporting but analysis. Analysis without any apparent foundation.

7. Exodus has a problem. In marking that customer confidential it appears to me that it was trying to cover up its own problem and I imagine in doing so it was making some already upset customers further upset.
"It appears to me" is the kind of careful distinction usually lacking from Gordon's move from reporting to analysis. He should consider using it more often.

In my opinion, if someone chooses to leak it to me, except for my relationship to the leaker, I have no obligation to exodus or anyone else.
'or anyone else'. In previous challenges to Gordon's claim to be a reporter, he has scoffed at the well-established practises of professional reporting.

Those practises result from an obligation to the readers, to gets things correct.


Dave Crocker <[email protected]>
Brandenburg Consulting <>
Tel: +1.408.246.8253, Fax: +1.408.273.6464
675 Spruce Drive, Sunnyvale, CA 94086 USA