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Count the folks at the Columbia Journalism Review among those not squealing with joy over Microsoft's recently announced plans to buy Internet phone-call thingamajig Skype

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Columbia Journalism Review to New York Times: Stop Brown-Nosing Microsoft on Skype Deal

brownnose01.jpg
Count the folks at the Columbia Journalism Review among those not squealing with joy over Microsoft's recently announced plans to buy Internet phone-call thingamajig Skype for $8.5 billion.

Actually, it's more the news coverage of the proposed merger that the CJR takes issue with--specifically that of The New York Times.

From the CJR's Audit blog:

The New York Times goes A1 with a breathless second-day story that shows some of the perils of deal reporting. This one's about Microsoft's $8.5 billion purchase of Skype and all the gee-whiz implications that could potentially maybe happen someday at some point.

The lede is bad, managing to be both reminiscent of so much reporting in Tech Bubble the First while also being a "no shit" lede:

Here's that lede:

Microsoft has peered into the future, and placed a bet that people the world over want to stay in touch with someone anytime and anywhere -- preferably at no cost.

The journo watchdogs think the piece is bad all around, not just the lede. Writer Ryan Chittum essentially makes the case the Gray Lady is going all golly-gee-neato with its imagined implications about what will follow in a post MicroSkype world.

The blog points out all the "could(s)" and "might(s)" in the piece, and comes up with a sizable list of things Times reporters imply will happen.

...could hasten the mainstream adoption of video communications... could help it better compete... "could really change things for Microsoft..." could change the way people make even the most routine calls... "could give Microsoft a leading consumer Internet service..." aims to keep people seamlessly connected... could find a lucrative revenue stream... might also benefit from placing advertisements... analysts suggest...

Lost in the Times coverage of the deal, it would seem, is any healthy skepticism about the possibility of the massive deal backfiring both for the companies involved and the stockholders left holding the bag--items highlighted prominently in day-one coverage by Seattle Weekly, in pointing to Microsoft's regrettable purchase of aQuantive back in 2007 and the exorbitant cost the company is now willing to shell out.

Hat tip: CJR vis TechFlash.

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