Karachi Photo Blog

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Why the NY Times Axact Story stands on flimsy grounds

I am behind on the latest news.  Just today read the New York Times story on the Pakistani software company Axact.  The story, by Declan Walsh, Griffin Palmer and Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura, is so big that another piece, by Griffin Palmer, provides the background information to the lead story.  Here is the gist of Walsh’s piece: Axact runs a plethora of online schools and colleges that give bogus diplomas to students who earn these certificates not by studying but by paying huge amounts of money to these online educational institutions.  The online universities run by Axact include the Newford University, the Barkley University, the Columbiana University, etc.

Decided to do my own research. 

Started with the online Newford University.  Found it here:


Called the toll free number (1-844-733-9355) listed on the web site--no one answered.  Tried to do online chat--that did not work either.  Downloaded an image from their web site and searched the origin on Google; it turned out to be a stock photo. Listened to the video interview of the faculty of the Newford University, referenced in the NY Times article.  The woman introduces herself as Danny Krane.  Searched "Danny Krane" on Google.  The ‘Head of Law’ was nowhere to be found.

Searched the registrant of newforduniversity.com web site.  Found out that the domain was registered from Bahamas; the street address info has the note ‘Contact the owner by email only.’

So, yes, the Newford University appears to be fake.

But that is only part of the story.  New York Times claims the Newford University is run by Axact.  Where is the proof?  NY Times claims ex-employees of Axact say so.  That’s it?  Someone says something and all of us are supposed to believe it?  Come on NY Times.  We expect better journalism.  Give us something more tangible.  Even proving that the Newford University web site is hosted on Axact’s servers (if that is indeed the case) will not prove Axact-Newford University connivance.

To prove that Axact is the entity behind the Newford University, New York Times needs to establish the money connection.  Show that the fee paid at the Newford University web site, ultimately ends up in Axact’s bank account.  Outside of that solid proof the New York Times story can best be described as a very well written piece of yellow journalism.

Photo, courtesy of InDepthPakistan.com


At Thu May 21, 03:45:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The proof is in the pudding, my dear sir:

Try the following website

At Thu May 21, 06:02:00 PM PDT, Blogger Cemendtaur said...

Thanks, Naj Khan.

At Thu May 21, 06:03:00 PM PDT, Blogger Cemendtaur said...

Copying from my FB.

You are a funny man, ....
The blog post was not a defense of the underdog in this fight; it was an analysis of a sensational story published in a prominent newspaper. Some of us don’t consider everything published in the NY times as gospel truth and are in the habit of analyzing the veracity of a presentation.
Post after post, people are telling me how this and that online university is fake. I get it. Now give me the proof that that online school is run by Axact.

At Thu May 21, 06:04:00 PM PDT, Blogger Cemendtaur said...

I have heard Mr. Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh’s rejoinder to the NYT story. [https://vimeo.com/128270300] Suddenly the NY Times story has started appearing more credible. Not because of what Mr. Shaikh said in the rebuttal, but because of what he did not say. We wanted to hear Shaikh say, ‘Yes, there are fake online universities, and yes some of them might be hosted on Axact’s servers, but no, Axact is neither the owner of these fake universities, nor we operate them.’
Instead he went into telling people that Declan Walsh, the lead reporter of the NYT article, was expelled from Pakistan; as if expulsion from Pakistan proves the dishonesty of a journalist. Mr. Shaikh, Ph.D., Barkley University, it is the other way. Kicking out someone from Pakistan does not diminish their credibility, it adds to it.

At Thu May 21, 06:05:00 PM PDT, Blogger Cemendtaur said...

Your personal testimony carries much more weight than the NYT article, Umair Majid Wyne. After all, you never lied about the presence of WMD in Iraq, New York Times did.

At Thu May 21, 06:05:00 PM PDT, Blogger Cemendtaur said...

Nevertheless, more background information is being presented now. It turns out that the NYT article is not as lousy as it appeared to be. There is some hard work behind it. Read this:
In this ‘Reporter’s Notebook’ we are told about a UAE-based Mohan guy who paid $30,000 to get an online degree from a Grant Town University—Declan claims having Axact internal financial documents showing the same $30,000 reaching Axact’s bank account. Now that’s journalism! [if that proof exists]
Carry on, Declan. Now show such transactions for each one of the scores of online educational institutions enumerated in the NYT article—all schools allegedly run by Axact.

At Mon Jun 08, 04:45:00 AM PDT, Blogger tajammal hussain said...

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