Robert Scoble complains about a lack of media disclosure in an informIT article by Nigel McFarlane that is highly critical of Internet Explorer. Scoble says:

Imagine for a moment that I wrote an article praising Longhorn in PC Magazine. Wouldn't you want to know that I'm a "professional commentator" on the topic and that I'm seen as biased on the topic?

The only possible answer to this question is yes. But I think the real question that Scoble should be asking is more complicated than this. First, the author biography page that Scoble links to also contains information about McFarlane's latest book, "Rapid Application Development with Mozilla" (which, incidentally, is available as a free download), and link to the two other informIT articles that McFarlane has written, entitled "An Introductory Tour of Mozilla's XUL" and "Mozilla Overlays: A New Way to Combine XML Documents," respectively. If any reader who visits this page does not realize that McFarlane is a Mozilla advocate, it will not matter if informIT puts it in <h1> tags. Even if the reader does not visit the author page, they should become suspicious upon reading the article's title, much less its content.

But back to Scoble's PC Magazine article aspirations. Personally, I would find nothing wrong with Scoble writing an article praising Longhorn, as long as it is based in facts (as all good advocacy should be). What does McFarlane trash Internet Explorer (and, by extension, Microsoft) so thoroughly? Because IE does not conform to web standards in important areas like CSS, making life harder for web developers everywhere. Because it has security problems, partially because of this lack of conformity (MIME types are an excellent example of this). These are facts. In this case, Scoble's article would be relatively harder to write, since Longhorn has not yet been released, and many of the facts (not just concerning Longhorn, but its competitors, as well) may change.

Scoble brings up complaints by Dave Winer about an obviously biased Guardian article about the "conflict" between RSS and Atom. I feel that issue is different. Unlike The Guardian, InformIT does not have an "Opinion" or "Editorial" section. Indeed, they are not really a newspaper. Instead, they only have a loose collection of articles, most of which are written by advocates. Winer notes that his main problem with the Guardian piece is "It's an op-ed piece that's not labeled as such." While McFarlane's article is similarly not labeled, it does not appear in an unbiased publication, but on one where all of the articles are written by people who are biased.