Orlowski Claims an Email from Scoble, Scoble Denies Email, Says Email Fabricated

Microsoft blogger: ‘My toolbar vanished too!’ | The Register Earlier today I wrote a post on Andrew Orlowski of The Register regarding his credibility, or lack thereof, regarding a recent article that he wrote on IE7. My post was more along the line of how can you trust this guy after a previous hatchet job that he got wrong on the Media Center PC.

It looks like things may be going from bad to worse with Orlowski. He now has a post out with an alleged email from Robert Scoble regarding problems with IE7. The problem. Scoble says he never sent this email, that it’s fabricated.

Now getting a source who gives you bad information is one thing, but making up emails is something else entirely. If I were the Register I’d investigate this and if it turns out Orlowski fabricated an email then he should be fired.

Robert Scoble is someone I’ve found to be honest, open and transparent even to a fault sometimes. Orlowski’s credibility, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired. To make up an email and publish it as someones is pretty bad if as it appears, this is what Orlowski has done.

Orlowski goes on to make this issue with Scoble personal saying, “Is this the end of the road for Scoble’s Redmond adventure? Will professionals handle these situations from now on? The fellow seems to have no shortage of enemies on the campus, ranging from PR staff to technical liaisons, and this gives them plenty more ammunition. It’s not the first time Scoble’s indiscretions have got his colleagues into trouble. Or even the second. Bullying small web publications, while maintaining an elaborate fiction, is a new step for the blogger however, and in our experience Microsoft’s PR professionals have never resorted to bullying.”

This is not professional journalism and smacks of a writer with an agenda and does undermine the credibility of The Register in a huge way.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You are assuming The Register is credible to start with. It never was, and never will be.

  2. orcmid says:

    I just checked the article, and it appears that the e-mail wasn’t from Scoble to Orlowski, it was provided to Orlowski by an anonymous source. Gee, since Orlowski is in California, you think he’s willing to go to jail to protect his source?

    So he basically has no way to establish the authenticity of the email, he obviously made no effort to verify the authenticity, and he’s clearly pissed about Robert for one reason or another. What fun.

    I wonder if the original recipient would be brave enough to share the headers and the ID assigned to the message by the originating Microsoft.com email server.

  3. You’re all looking at this the wrong way round. Ask yourself this: who has the most to gain from lying? A journalist who’s writing a story that was, after all, not that big, or the person who’s paid to represent the a company?

    Whether he likes it or not, Robert blogs as a representative of Microsoft, and he will defend Microsoft’s reputation in public. When a story also ends up attacking *his* reputation (something that I don’t agree with) he has a double reason to not be entirely truthful.

    Personally I think this entire thing has gotten way out of hand, with Robert reacting badly and Andrew turning a simple story into a personal attack.

  4. Thomas Hawk says:

    Ian, “Who has the most to gain from lying?” You’ve got to be kidding me. Scoble has more to gain from lying? I don’t think so. The personal financial value of Robert Scoble is at this point far beyond his employment with Microsoft. Although Robert Scoble is a Microsoft employee he has turned his name, his reputation, into a personal franchise that far exceeds his job at Microsoft.

    Robert’s got a book deal, one of the top blogs on the internet, etc. etc. He could work for any company or even himself at this point.

    The critical thing to all of this for Scoble though is integrity. It’s the foundation of how he has built this personal franchise. People read Scoble because it is refreshing to see someone who is personally honest working and blogging from within corporate America. That’s the whole hook to Scoble’s success, he’s honest. If Scoble were ever caught in a lie (and he has millions of fact checkers) all of this would crumble.

    I will guarantee you that the financial value of Scoble’s personal reputation is greater than Orlowski’s value as a journalist.

    So if this is your argument (who stands more to lose) you’ve got it wrong. It’s a stupid argument though and I suspect at some point the truth will come out and I’d be will to bet that Robert will be vindicated and Orlowski will be fired and hopefully never work in the journalism business again.

  5. Tyme says:

    The sad thing is that people are easily blinded by what they assume is fact. Orlowski’s “proof” is not proof at all. Robert’s email address is right on his front page, as well as his cell phone number. If Orlowski was a good journalist he would have simply picked up the phone and called Robert. Or emailed Robert directly.

  6. Thomas, I think I put my point a little more bluntly than I meant to. I don’t think that Robert *is* lying. But neither do I think that Andrew made up the email – there’s simply nothing for him to gain out of it, given the “very minor” (Andrew’s words) nature of the original story.

    As for Robert’s “thousands of fact checkers”, not a single one of those fact checkers has seen the evidence, either from Robert or Andrew. Fact checkers can’t check when they can’t see the facts 🙂 Yet lots of people are simply weighing on on Robert’s side, because he’s Robert – not because they know Andrew’s lying.

  7. Thomas Hawk says:


    I have seen the original email that Robert sent. As published by Orlowski text has been added in that wasn’t in the original email per Scoble. The only other explanation is that someone else doctored the email prior to giving it to Orlowski.

    Now I’m willing to consider this but Orlowski has been somewhat silent on this since he published it. I also wrote his editor and have not heard back from anyone at the Register.

    If Orlowski didn’t make up the email fine, but provide us a source where he got it then and let’s hear their side of the story.

    When CBS was duped by forged documents they had the good sense to out the “anonymous” contributor of the emails.

    Instead all we get from the Register and Orlowski is silence.

    While I can appreciate your support for Orlowski I don’t think his silence on this subject adds any credibility to his story.