OLD Media Moves

The media rotten with Apple coverage

January 16, 2009

Newsweek tech columnist Dan Lyons, who was on CNBC earlier this week criticizing that network’s coverage of Apple CEO Steve Jobs and his health, explains in detail how the business media has been played by the company.

Lyons writes, “But some of my colleagues in the media have made a Faustian bargain with Apple. In exchange for super-special access to Jobs, they tacitly agree not to criticize the company or even to say things it doesn’t like. It’s one of those deals that seems great at first — ‘Hey, I just got an exclusive with Steve Jobs!’ — but eventually it turns out to be rotten. For one thing, the access isn’t worth much, since all you get is lame, scripted, well-rehearsed comments. Essentially you get turned into an extension of Apple’s PR operation. And while it’s nice to get a peek behind the curtain, and it’s exciting to feel like you’ve been allowed into the ‘cool kids club,’ the truth is that the cool kids who are pretending to be your friends are actually just using you to spread whatever disinformation they happen to need spread that week. You are, to them, nothing more than a useful idiot.

“And when the you-know-what hits the fan, as it eventually must — when, say, Apple finally admits the truth about Steve Jobs being sick, a truth that was obvious and evident for months — all those wonderful ‘sources’ and PR pals just slip away into no-comment land, leaving their sycophantic media dupes to take the fall for Apple’s dissembling.

“That’s what happened to the poor guy at CNBC. Sure, he got his share of ‘exclusive’ 10-minute spots with Steve Jobs. You can find them on YouTube. They look like training videos for a correspondence course on bootlicking. Now, of course, the CNBC guy says he’s outraged. He sputters about how Apple has been irresponsible and ‘deplorable.’ His pals at Apple won’t care. They’re already moving on to the next useful idiot. Among the Silicon Valley press corps there is no shortage of them.”

Read more here.

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