The Inquirer plagiarizes SemiAccurate, tries bad excuses

It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad

SemiAccurate logoIt looks like reading and logic are not required skills like plagiarism at The Inquirer. That said, the so called ‘professionals’ there are quick to defend each other’s immoral, unprofessional, and unethical behavior.

Update: Spelled the site name rong in the title. Doh! Fixed.

The short story is that on Monday, we broke the exclusive story about Nvidia, AMD and VIA leaving BAPCO over Intel’s complete gaming of the benchmark. That was then followed on Tuesday by AMD’s Nigel Dessau writing a blog about why they left BAPCO. Sometime that day, Nvidia confirmed that they left as well, but only to Anandtech, and he and I remain the only sources of this information, or at least the only sources we have so far found. [Ed. Between writing and publication of this story Nvidia has also confirmed to CNET.]

Early Wednesday, The Inquirer stole our information and wrote up their piece, giving no credit, and only linking Nigel’s blog. This is flat out and unabashed plagiarism, something that would end any academic career, and should end any professional career. This shows you how professional The Inquirer has become.

Having worked there for about 6 years, I can say unequivocally that under Mike Magee or Paul Hales, this behavior would not have been tolerated. When Paul Hales was, in my opinion, run out of a job for being competent and ethical, most people understand why the entire staff, bar one or two, were gone within weeks. It looks like things have gotten far far worse at Castle Despair.

Back to the story at hand, on Wednesday evening CST, VIA wrote SemiAccurate with an official statement, printed here. That was the first official statement about VIA leaving BAPCO, and until that time, the ONLY source of that information was SemiAccurate, specifically my story. Please note that this was AFTER The Inquirer had put up their piece.

In the story about VIA confirming, I called out three publications for plagiarism, something that these ‘professional’ organizations, with ‘professional’ editors don’t seem to have a basic understanding of. Of the three, PC and Tech Authority begrudgingly have come clean and somewhat properly credited, and then IT ProPortal did too. Neither has apologized or stated their conduct will change however, and I bear little hope that it will long term, but some progress is better than none.

Then there is The Inquirer, the formerly upstanding site. I called them out too, with specific honors for scrubbing comments that called them out. While the ones seen earlier don’t seem to be back yet, others since then have been left up. The Inquirer, or at least their new ‘leadership’, has a long history of plagiarism. Under ‘professional’ leadership like current editor Madeline Bennett, plagiarism is not only encouraged, it is an enforced rule. If there is a story broken by a site that is run by a former Inquirer person, that would be myself/SemiAccurate, Mike Magee/Techeye, or Paul Hales/Thinq_, those sites are not allowed to be linked by policy. If there is no other source to be found, then just don’t credit, IE plagiarize.

I have personally called The Inquirer on several such things in the past, either to be rebuffed, or to have a link begrudgingly put in several days later. This is why this time it is public.  Their reasoning for such unethical and immoral behavior has ranged from, “It’s not plagiarism”, to “Everyone does it, so it’s OK”. Only when repeatedly pressed to they do what is correct, right, and ethical, but pulling teeth is generally easier. Now you start to understand why I put quotes around professional?

So, back to the current round of plagiarism by The Inquirer. In addition to the story yesterday, I wrote the editor of The Inquirer, Madeline Bennett, and asked her about it. The entire email chain is printed below, with only minor formatting changes for readability and emails removed to make spammer’s lives a bit harder.

<Begin Email Chain>

(Note: The email here was sent by The Inquirer’s editor, Madeline Bennett, and it is timestamped at 8:34AM CST on June 23, 2011. It is titled, “Re: Plagiarism again”, and sent to the author, with Lawrence Latif and David Neal (no idea who he is) CC’d)

Please find attached the statement from AMD sent to Lawrence Latif, who then followed up with AMD in a phone interview. All of the Inquirer’s information was from that interview and the AMD statements, therefore we are not plagiarising you as this is clearly either in the public domain or

told directly to the Inquirer. Please remove the reference to the Inqiurer plagiarising you from your site.

http://semiaccurate.com/2011/06/22/via-confirms-it-left-bapco/

—– Forwarded by Madeline Bennett/VNUBPL/UK on 23/06/2011 14:27 —–

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: AMD Will Not Endorse SYSmark 2012 Benchmark

Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2011 07:52:03 +0100

From: Claire Lawson (Next Fifteen)

<claire.lawson@.com>

To: l@.org

Hi

AMD today announced that it will not endorse the SYSmark 2012 Benchmark (SM2012), which is published by BAPCo (Business Applications Performance Corporation)..

Key points to note:

· Along with the withdrawal of support, AMD has resigned from the BAPCo organisation

· AMD will only endorse benchmarks based on real-world computing models and software applications, and which provide useful and relevant information

In addition, a new blog from Nigel Dessau, CMO of AMD, explains AMD’s decision to resign from BAPCo is now live: http://bit.ly/lMxMYW

Please do let us know if you have any questions.

Many thanks,

Claire

*###******AMD Will Not Endorse SYSmark 2012 Benchmark*****

/— AMD Separates from Association with Industry Group BAPCo —// /* *

*SUNNYVALE, Calif. — June 21, 2011 — *AMD (NYSE: AMD<http://www.amd.com/>) today announced that it will not endorse the SYSmark 2012 Benchmark (SM2012), which is published by BAPCo (Business Applications Performance Corporation). Along with the withdrawal of support, AMD has resigned from the BAPCo organisation.

“Technology is evolving at an incredible pace, and customers need clear and reliable measurements to understand the expected performance and value of their systems,” said Nigel Dessau, senior vice president and Chief Marketing Officer at AMD. “AMD does not believe SM2012 achieves this objective. Hence AMD cannot endorse or support SM2012 or remain part of the BAPCo consortium.”

AMD will only endorse benchmarks based on real-world computing models and software applications, and which provide useful and relevant information. AMD believes benchmarks should be constructed to provide unbiased results and be transparent to customers making decisions based on those results. Currently, AMD is evaluating other benchmarking alternatives, including encouraging the creation of an industry consortium to establish an open benchmark to measure overall system performance.

AMD encourages anyone wanting more details about the construction and scoring methodology of the SM2012 benchmark to contact BAPCo. For more details on AMD’s decision to exit BAPCo, please read AMD’s Executive Blog <http://blogs.amd.com/nigel-dessau/2011/06/21/1006/> authored by

Nigel Dessau.

/ / /About AMD /

AMD (NYSE: AMD) is a semiconductor design innovator leading the next era of vivid digital experiences with its groundbreaking AMD Fusion Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) that power a wide range of computing devices. AMD’s server computing products are focused on* *driving

industry-leading cloud computing and virtualisation environments. AMD’s superior graphics technologies are found in a variety of solutions ranging from game consoles, PCs to supercomputers. For more information,

visit http://www.amd.com.

*-30-**/

/*AMD, the AMD Arrow logo, and combinations thereof, are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Other names are for informational purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Regards,

Madeline Bennett

Editor

V3.co.uk, the INQUIRER

020 7316 9408

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Madeline_V3

Charlie Demerjian<charlie@.com>

To Madeline Bennett 22/06/2011 16:02 <Madeline.Bennett@.com>

cc lawrence.latif@.net

Subject: Plagiarism again

Madeline,

I would like to thank you for plagiarizing my site once again with this one:

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2080997/amd-leaves-bapco-claiming-sysmark-2012-llano-performance

Either that or defend why you didn’t get the facts from me, they aren’t in the link, and they are not common knowledge by any means, especially since 2 of the 3 companies involved won’t admit it in public. I know about your ‘don’t link’ policy, but if you want to carry on like that, you might want to get actual sources.

Way to raise the bar.

-Charlie

This e-mail is confidential and is intended for the use of the addressee only. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use or dissemination of this communication or any part of it is strictly prohibited. If you receive this transmission in error, please notify Incisive Media immediately using the contact details above and then delete this e-mail. Please note that e-mail may be susceptible to data corruption, interception and unauthorised amendment. Incisive Media does not accept any liability for any such corruption, interception, amendment or the consequences thereof.

Incisive Media. Haymarket House, 28-29 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4RX.

Registered in England & Wales company number 1513633

<End Email Chain>

In short, Madeline’s excuse for their Plagiarism is that they called AMD, and AMD told them that they quit, and why. Madeline even included the letter they got for good measure. Heck, they even linked Nigel’s blog in the article as a source/credit. So far, so good. Except that they are wrong.

Where Madeline, Lawrence, and The Inquirer are dead wrong is that the letter above, Nigel’s blog, and everything they claim as a defense, NEVER MENTIONS NVIDIA OR VIA. Let me repeat that, Lawrence Letif writes in his article, “Dessau’s announcement follows similar decisions by Nvidia and VIA to part ways with Bapco, leaving the benchmarking outfit with reduced credibility.” Maybe my reading and analytical skills, not to mention my understanding of plagiarism, are as lacking as The Inquirer’s are, but I cannot for the life of me find anywhere that AMD, their representatives, or Nigel’s blog mentions the other two companies.

The central point of the Great BAPCO Exodus of 2011 is not that one company, AMD, left, and publicly pissed on BAPCO, but that EVERY semiconductor company but Intel left over Intel’s behavior. AMD leaving is them taking their ball and going home in a huff. Everyone but Intel leaving is one hell of a story. And that is what I wrote, and that is what The Inquirer’s Lawrence Letif plagiarized, and their editor, Madeline Bennett, is defending.

AMD did not comment on VIA and Nvidia leaving. Do a word search on the blog or the email. They comment on themselves, and only on themselves, which is the correct and professional thing to do. Madeline defends their plagiarism by claiming the information they plagiarized was, “clearly either in the public domain or told directly to the Inquirer.” I won’t argue the AMD side of that, but the rest clearly was not. That is plagiarism, period.

But it gets better. The normal defense to this is to either say, “I got it from another site, and maybe that site plagiarized, but I didn’t know that.” I would agree to this, but Lawrence Letif ONLY linked Nigel’s blog which does not contain the information stated, and did not mention any other source. So then they plagiarized someone else, not just me. No love on that front.

The other way to spin it is that it was told directly to Lawrence or The Inquirer by AMD, either verbally, in a non-printed letter, or a non-forwarded letter. That would also be a good defense against The Inquirer’s blatant plagiarism, but there is one catch, THEY GOT THE BASIC FACTS WRONG. In fact, no one out there that I have seen has gotten the full story yet. I purposely withheld some details here and there, mostly because they didn’t matter much, their inclusion would have made the story much longer and much more dull.

When The Inquirer plagiarized, they seem to have made some assumptions borne out of a complete lack of actual facts. When you don’t know, you can either do the right thing and say so, or make something up and hope that no one calls you on it. Yoo-hoo, I am calling you on it.

The short story is that Lawrence Letif wrote, “Dessau’s announcement follows similar decisions by Nvidia and VIA to part ways with Bapco, leaving the benchmarking outfit with reduced credibility.” This statement is wrong, dead wrong. The order in which the companies left was Nvidia first in early May, then AMD left about a week ago, and VIA followed the next day.

The gap between the leavings was about a month between Nvidia and AMD, and a day between AMD and VIA, anyone with actual knowledge of the situation would know this. AMD would have known this, and if they were the source of the information, the Inquirer would not have gotten this key fact wrong.

If The Inquirer’s statement, as written by Lawrence, and defended by their ‘professional’ editor, Madeline Bennett, had a real source, or was told to them by anyone with actual knowledge of the events, this ‘minor detail’ would have been correct. If you notice the headline of SemiAccurate’s story, it says, “Nvidia, AMD, and VIA quit BAPCO over SYSmark 2012”. That order, and the same order repeated multiple times in the story, was NOT by chance.

The Inquirer is claiming this information is in the public domain. It is not. They are claiming they got the information from a real source, implicitly saying they did not steal it from SemiAccurate. They did not. They did, and still are, once again defending their blatant plagiarism. And once again, their are doing so wrongly.

This behavior is unprofessional, immoral, unethical, and would get any real employee fired from a professional organization quicker than you can say, “Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out”. It is very clear that The Inquirer is not a professional organization, their editor is not a professional in any way, and their writers don’t have a clue about the industry they claim to cover. The organization no longer seems to have any real sources of their own. Plagiarism appears to be institutionalized, and when called upon it, the complaints are either ignored, or the complainer accused.

To end their letter, Madeline Bennett asks, “Please remove the reference to the Inqiurer plagiarising you from your site.” My response is quite simple, “Fuck off.” You plagiarized us again, this time provably, and you have the gall to ask us to shut up? Is this Incisive Media policy, or just your own way of doing things? It is sad to see how low that site has sunk.

At this point, The Inquirer is likely irreparably corrupted internally. Incisive Media needs to do three things at this point. First, they need to change policy in an ironclad way to stop current and prevent future plagiarism. Second, they need a prominent front page admission on their site, admitting what they have done, and why it won’t happen again. Third, they need to fire Madeline Bennett and Lawrence Letif. Both are either plagiarists or knowingly support the practice. Until these things are accomplished, both Incisive Media and The Inquirer are as worthless as their actions.S|A

Editor’s note:  The sad part of plagarism is that it corrupts your credibility as soon as your readers realize it.  This is why S|A has a policy of immediately correcting any of this type of behavior on the behalf of our writers.  This is why our roundup writer is asked to find the original story, to link the best analysis, to offer the best possible for our readers.  Anything less will result in a very pissed-off Ed. and likely an opening at S|A.

The following two tabs change content below.

Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also a council member with Gerson Lehman Group. FullyAccurate