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Carelessness, or is there an agenda here?
device
jducoeur
I was surprised but happy when I got a forwarded copy of this news alert from the Wall Street Journal the other day:
The Supreme Court ruled that two inventors' patent of a method of hedging weather-related risk in energy prices can't be granted. The high court unanimously agreed with a lower-court ruling that said a process is eligible for a patent only if it is "tied to a particular machine or apparatus'' or if it "transforms a particular article into a different state or thing.''
The happiness was muted, though, when I read what actually transpired. Suffice it to say, this abstract is almost precisely wrong, or at least fabulously misleading: while the Court did shoot down the Bilski patent (as hoped), it did so on deliberately narrow grounds, and explicitly did *not* support the lower-court ruling. Indeed, the ruling was pretty disappointing for those of us who would like to see the software-patent regime simply scrapped.

I'm normally inclined to assume incompetence rather than malice, but I have to say that my suspicions about the WSJ have been growing lately. Ever since it got bought by Rupert "I'm not evil, I'm just a businessman" Murdoch, I've been noticing the slow trend towards it becoming a mouthpiece for his political views. So despite myself, I'm acidly looking to see if there is an agenda -- a Fox-News style reason to try to scare people into pushing for more extreme positions. Anyone have a reason to believe there is one?

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(Deleted comment)
Don't know for sure -- the link I got with that precis was surprisingly imprecise. Appeared to be the news page, though. And even if it was the opinions page, I don't expect that to actively mislead: IMO, this went beyond mere disagreement into actual misrepresentation. (I do expect that of Fox, of course, but my opinion of the WSJ hasn't fallen that far yet...)

Every time I read the WSJ I come away stunned, because the articles are written from a point of view so divorced from reality as I understand it that I worry. And always in the same direction--very slanted toward how business is defending itself against ever-harmful government intervention, how short-term measurements are the only way to judge the success of a company, and relating the things you should have done yesterday that would have made you rich (but do them today anyway so you can make the early birds even richer).

I consider all of those to be harmful messages, whipping the market into a frenzy. I imagine this is very beneficial to stock brokers and others who trade for a living.

I wonder how much of this is just playing to an expecting audience, and how much is purposeful programming. But at some point, the moral effect is the same.

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