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.

Rainey writes:

    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.”

Bay Area Media News


  1. Apple's outsourcing of products to China and developing countries is a real problem–a problem I doubt Jobs' fans care about. Slave labor is slave labor, whether it's by a guy who like or by somebody you hate.

  2. Jobs was A RUDE, OFFENSIVE, paranoid egomaniac. He screamed at his employees, fired them during tirades, ignored legal agreements. He was the definition of the word BULLY. He wouldn't even acknowledge a child he had out of wedlock and wouldn't return a phone call to his bio-dad. Apple's products are built by Chinese who are paid a low wage in what are essentially sweatshops. I don't understand all the praise being heaped on this jerk by the technology media. He's dead. Big deal. MOVE ON!

  3. I agree with Rainey's points, but that shouldn't take away from Steve Jobs' considerable achievements, including providing platforms for journalists to report and cover the news. He will be greatly missed.

  4. I have no sympathy for the geeks at Gizmodo, buying a phone that they knew didn't belong to the seller. That kind of sleazy, checkbook journalism makes it easy for people like Jobs to criticize the media.

  5. You should also point out how Apple bans critical journalists from its media events. If you wanted to see Steve Jobs do one of his product introductions, you had to play along. As Apple starts feeling the heat of competition and falls behind in innovation, I wouldn't be surprised if they're begging journalists to cover their future launches in order to get the kind of buzz they got when Jobs was around.

  6. The "tech" reporters were, for the most part, lapdogs for Jobs. They kissed up to Apple hoping to get access or scoops, and in the process ignored the company's dark side. I'm glad to see Rainey write a column about this. I won't hold my breath waiting for the Mercury News or Chronicle to write the same thing.

  7. You're being kind to Jobs. He was vicious. Apple Security was oppressive, and he had the cops, prosecutors and judges on the take.

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