In all of the glowing tributes to Steve Jobs, what has been missed is his antagonistic and often angry attitude toward the press.
LA Times columnist James Rainey points out that Apple was a company that “shut down a youthful fanboy blogger, punished a publisher [who] dared to print an authorized Jobs biography and repeatedly ran afoul of the most basic tenants of a free press.”
And veteran Silicon Valley journalist Dan Gillmor told Rainey that Apple did a good job of manipulating journalists.
“Not only did [Apple] introduce actually innovative products but it had the uncanny ability to get normally skeptical journalists to sit up and beg like a bunch of pet beagles,” Gillmor said.
- One of the ironies of the digital communications age is that some of the greatest revolutionaries for transparency and human connectedness prefer to apply those principles to everyone else. (Google and Facebook are among the other tech giants that have made the Pentagon look pliant in comparison.) …
Rainey recalled how in 2006 Apple convinced Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg to force small-fry bloggers to reveal their sources about upcoming Apple products, a case that raised questions about whether new media were entitled to the same First Amendment protections as traditional media. An appeal’s court reversed Kleinberg and preserved reporters’ independence.
The column also mentions how Apple got cops to search the home of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen for a prototype iPhone that had been lost at a bar in Redwood City by an Apple employee.
Rainey concludes, “Steve Jobs appreciated many things, big and small. But a vigorous, unbridled media was not one of them.”