OLD Media Moves

Apple iPhone coverage is excessively positive

January 16, 2007

Wired columnist Pete Mortenson spoke with NPR’s On the Media host Bob Garfield about why all of the business news coverage of Apple’s introduction of the iPhone last week has been so glowing.

Here is part of the transcript:

BOB GARFIELD: And, of course, it isn’t three products but, in fact, it’s one product. It’s the iPhone. When the 2,000 journalists are standing there in the midst of this frenzy, what happens to their skepticism?

PETE MORTENSON: As soon as he held up the actual iPhone, it all dropped away, and everyone wanted one. It’s embarrassing, but you can’t help but feel sucked into it.

BOB GARFIELD: You actually write a column devoted to the whole idea that Apple isn’t so much a Steve Jobs and the iPhonecompany as a cult with a ticker symbol. How does a company achieve this status? Is it because they’re masters of presentation, or just because they consistently deliver the goods?

PETE MORTENSON: It’s all of the above, and it’s also a third piece, which is that they’re massively secretive. So essentially they tend to let journalists, pundits and their fans do all of their P.R. for them. I’m told that neither Google nor Yahoo, who worked intimately on software for the iPhone, ever saw it until Jobs introduced it.

I still wasn’t convinced there was going to be an iPhone, and if there hadn’t been, I think you would have seen Apple’s stock plummet yesterday. But because there was, the entire world went nuts with acclaim.

BOB GARFIELD: In the end, this is really — it’s a business story. Even Enron had a hard time finding its way to page one. Do you find yourself marveling at how the mainstream press can get so completely hooked?

PETE MORTENSON: I do to a certain extent, but I also think that the fascination is a very simple one. Apple is one of a handful of American companies that is still looked at as the leader in its field. For numerous other fields, companies in Asia and Europe are out in front, so when Apple, started by a pair of good American boys, gets up and does something that really knocks back those kinds of competitors, Americans are out of their seat. It’s an amazing story.

Read more here.

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