InfoWorld fires Randall C. Kennedy

onSale - Your Computer & Electronics Superstore“On Friday, Feb. 19, we discovered that one of our contributors, Randall C. Kennedy, had been misrepresenting himself to other media organizations as Craig Barth, CTO of Devil Mountain Software (aka exo.performance.network), in interviews for a number of stories regarding Windows and other Microsoft software topics. Devil Mountain Software is a business Kennedy established that specializes in the analysis of Windows performance data. There is no Craig Barth, and Kennedy has stated that this fabrication was a misguided effort to separate himself (or more accurately, his InfoWorld blogger persona) from his Devil Mountain Software business,” Eric Knorr reports for InfoWorld.

“Integrity and honesty are core to InfoWorld’s mission of service to IT professionals, and we view Kennedy’s actions as a serious breach of trust,” Knorr reports. “As a result, he will no longer be a contributor to InfoWorld, and we have removed his blog from this site.”

Knorr reports, “Over the past 10 years, Kennedy has contributed valuable information on Windows performance and other technical issues to InfoWorld and its readers — insight and analysis we still believe to be accurate and reliable. Based on our discovery, however, we cannot continue our relationship with Kennedy. Questions about this matter may be directed to Kennedy at rck@xpnet.com. We apologize to our readers.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: The last thing we covered that was directly written by Kennedy was on January 26, 2010 (InfoWorld’s Kennedy: IT needs to act now to avoid the Apple tablet apocalypse), a piece so lopsided that we concluded it must have been an attempt at satire. Now, we’re not so sure that satire was Kennedy’s goal. Hit-whoring seems more plausible at this point (it figures, one of the few times we give the benefit of the doubt… Kennedy’s piece was just so ludicrous and over-the-top that we couldn’t believe it wasn’t done intentionally for humor.) The last article we covered that referenced Kennedy or “Devil Mountain Software” was on February 18, 2010 (RAM Hog: Most Windows 7ista PCs max out memory, researcher says) in which Computerwolrd’s Gregg Keizer quoted “Craig Barth” extensively. That piece by Keizer appears to have been the trigger that unmasked and subsequently unemployed Randall C. Kennedy. At this point, we would obviously disregard everything in that article. As attentive users know, Windows 7ista appears to like RAM very much, but its actual degree of hoggishness is unknown. We’re left wondering: Does the “C.” stand for “Craig” or for something else entirely?

Perhaps, not coincidentally, on February 21, 2010, Larry Dignan reported for ZDNet, “Every story we found that is based on data from Devil Mountain Software, without exception, was first reported in one of two places. ComputerWorld reporter Gregg Keizer has frequently been first on the scene with details when DMS has released a new study. We found at least a dozen stories under his by-line at ComputerWorld based on reports from XPNet, many including quotes from DMS Chief Technology Officer Barth. As we note later in this report, our reporting strongly suggests that ‘Craig Barth’ does not exist and is in fact a pseudonym for InfoWorld contributing editor Kennedy since the late 1990s.”

“Several stories originally reported at ComputerWorld using XPNet data have been widely publicized and occasionally leap into traditional (non-technical) media, often through syndication deals with IDG,” Dignan reported. “We found examples of stories mentioning Devil Mountain Software at All Things Digital (Walt Mossberg’s popular side project for the Wall Street Journal), FOXNews.com and USAToday.com and ZDNet’s international properties among others.”

Dignan reported, “Barth is quoted in at least 12 articles that have appeared in ComputerWorld, beginning in November 2007. His name disappeared completely from the site for all of 2009, but he has made up for lost time in the first seven weeks of 2010, as five stories authored by Keizer and quoting Barth have appeared in ComputerWorld… ZDNet editors have confirmed through multiple sources and Kennedy’s digital slip-ups that ‘Craig Barth’ was a pseudonym used by Kennedy at multiple technical publications in the 1990s. One of those articles turned up in a Google search. As news editor for Windows NT Magazine (later renamed Windows IT Pro), Barth’s by-line appeared in an ‘NT News Analysis’ first published in April 1998. Ironically, a brief item in that same column, also by-lined by Barth, includes several pithy quotes from Kennedy, who was identified as a ‘senior analyst with Giga Information Group.’ As an analyst, Kennedy would have been prohibited from writing for trade publications, so using a pseudonym would have been essential in this case. That by-line appeared for the last time in the December 1998. In January 1999, the section got a new name, and Kennedy’s by-line reappeared.”

There’s much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: In a response to Dignan’s piece, Randall C. Kennedy writes:

Wow! That has to be the most thorough character raping I’ve ever witnessed! I feel like the new kid on the cell block! You could have at least bought me dinner first!

But seriously, you missed a couple of important facts:

1. IDG knew. Galen Gruman, Executive Editor of InfoWorld knew. As did Eric Knorr. And several others. But poor Gregg Keizer – hey, the man was looking for an anti-Microsoft angle at every turn, and he let his zeal get the best of him. I honestly never meant any harm, especially to Gregg.

2. InfoWorld didn’t let me go. I resigned. In fact, up until Saturday afternoon they were still trying to salvage the situation. They didn’t want to lose 2+ million page views per year, which is what the shock jock persona they developed for me delivered.

3. Craig Barth may be fictitious (though, legally, both names are in fact mine to use), but the data never was. I may like to stoke the presentation a bit, but I never embellished the facts. We’ve got nearly 24,000 users. We don’t need to invent data.

4. I also *never* lied about my clients. You can add to the list Intel, IBM, Microsoft, HP, Compaq, Citrix, Dell Computer, VMware and a host of others. I don’t need to make this up. I’ve got purchase orders, canceled checks and a mountain of old white papers to prove it.

Now I think I’ll take a walk down to the Longan tree in my front yard and pluck a few for the beach. Life is tough when you’re semi-retired and living on one of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world (Mauritius). But hey, if people are going to compare me to Bernie Madoff, then I’ll be damned if I’m not going to live life to the fullest.

In another comment regarding Paul Thurrott, Kennedy writes: Thurrott is one of the worst shills to ever soil the journalism industry. I may have ruffled some feathers from time to time, but at least I never sold my soul to the Microsoft devil.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Gabriel” and “Another IT Guy” for the heads up.]

27 Comments

  1. More examples of how IT drones think they are in placed to be served by other people.

    Dear IT world, it is your job to facilitate and serve the people in the corporate world who are performing the daily tasks, billing hours and satisfying clients that ultimately pay your salary, since you don’t actually create anything yourself.

    So shut your collective pie holes and figure out a way to integrate the technologies people demand to use, even if that means using the Apple products you so despise for their efficiency and ease of use.

    Thanks

    Signed,
    People who actually DO stuff

  2. Egg on my face: I got all bent out of shape at people who did not see perceive the satire on 26 Jan.

    oops.

    Apologies to anyone I ranted against that day.

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  3. Somehow I can see a lot more of these guys scurrying out from under the rocks in the comming months and years. We’re finally seeing what the IT world is made of — and it’s not pretty.

    Isn’t it about time enterprise judged products and solutions on their merits, and not on this tangled web of technology “high preists”?

  4. The law, and history, are both on Kennedy’s side.

    A person is free to use aliases. Writer’s employ pseudonyms all the time. Using several names is not “lying”… these people are boobs.

    InfoWorld makes it sound as though using an alias is some kind of illegal, if not very immoral, act. Which is bullshit, because what else is “InfoWorld” if not an alias for the people running it?

    You might not like Kennedy’s work, but InfoWorld has no legal or moral right to fire a man just because he used an alias.

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