OLD Media Moves

Why Apple fans hate tech reporters

March 18, 2008

Farhad Manjoo writes on Slate why fans of Apple products hate tech reporters, even those like Walter Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal and David Pogue of The New York Times who have written generally positive reviews of Apple gadgets.

AppleManjoo writes, “Tech columnists Mossberg and Pogue don’t claim to be objective. They’re critics, and they trade in that slipperiest of all media productions: personal opinion. At the same time, each is unfailingly ethical and intellectually honest. Their articles brim with justification. Neither will tell you that he simply hates the newest Sony digital camera — he’ll tell you that its battery drains faster than Niagara Falls, or that its manual reads like a translation from Japanese to French to English, or that every picture comes out sepia.

“If you’re non-partisan, this is all you could want from a tech reviewer, and Mossberg and Pogue’s style likely accounts for their enormous popularity. But many fans of Apple often seem to want more. They care little for honest opinion. They want to pick up the paper and see in it a reflection of their own nearly religious zeal for the thing they love. They don’t want a review. They want a hagiography.

“Many Americans aren’t really very different. In polls (PDF), people claim not to be interested in getting ‘news from sources that share your point of view,’ and prefer instead ‘sources that don’t have a particular point of view.’

“But for people who feel strongly about an issue — for Apple fanatics, for abortion partisans, for folks who think they know the truth about global warming or what’s going on in the Middle East — personal views feel distinct and luminous. Journalistic ‘objectivity’ inevitably produces a muddier picture.”

Read more here.

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