That’s a Blank, All Right

Jack Schofield, writing for ZDNet UK, “Apple Briefs Bloggers, Blanks New York Times”:

Apple has a track record of playing favourites with publications, so that a handful of journalists get treated like royalty while the plebs consider themselves lucky if they can extract a “no comment”. Of course, these very select American publications retain their editorial independence, but there’s always a hidden threat: they know that if they don’t provide the right sort of coverage, they can be excommunicated. And it looks as though that’s just happened to The New York Times.

Except that’s not what happened at all. Schofield’s “correction”, appended to the column:

Good for Pogue. It doesn’t change the fact that Apple is playing favourites, and Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt — who says he has been covering Apple since 1982 — has published Apple public relations’ new media pecking order.

It may not “change the fact that Apple is playing favorites”, but it does change the entire premise of Schofield’s column — that Apple “excommunicated” The New York Times because of its reporting on Apple’s use of Chinese manufacturing. No doubt the Times would have loved to have scored the exclusive Tim Cook interview, and, let’s face it, the “iEconomy” series certainly didn’t help their case. But the fact is, the Wall Street Journal probably would have gotten the same exclusive interview regardless if the “iEconomy” series had run. And David Pogue’s A-list status as a product reviewer is unchanged.

Regarding yours truly’s status on that same A-list, Schofield writes:

Someone with Apple Royalty status, such as The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg, might well be blasé about this level of attention, but it’s pretty unusual stuff for bloggerdom.

No, it’s not. Previously, it’s true that Apple PR’s “prerelease access to new stuff” A-list included only the major national newspapers and news weeklies: the NYT, WSJ, USA Today, Time, and Newsweek. Over the last few years, however, that list has expanded to include writers from several online-only publications: MG Siegler, Josh Topolsky/The Verge, Jim Dalrymple/The Loop, Engadget, Slashgear, and others.

This level of attention from Apple is no longer unusual for “bloggerdom” — at least for those denizens of “bloggerdom” who get things right and don’t publish fabricated scurrilous accusations that have already been publicly refuted.

(As regards Elmer-DeWitt’s aforelinked “pecking order” — any writer who published a review of Mountain Lion with pre-announcement access to the software surely received the same sort of one-on-one briefing I did. The briefing goes hand-in-hand with the access to the pre-release product.)

Monday, 20 February 2012