Fake Steve Jobs Rips Apple’s Media ‘Lapdogs’

    January 15, 2009
    WebProNews Staff

First Ann Coulter, now Newsweek’s Dan Lyons, otherwise known as Fake Steve Jobs. The former cried banishment from NBC before clawing her way back onto the Today show. The latter confirmed to WebProNews he was banned from CNBC after a fiery tirade against Silicon Valley Bureau Chief Jim Goldman for getting “bullied,” “played and punked” by Apple about CEO Steve Jobs’ health.

“It’s true I’m banned,” Lyons said via email.

CNBC denied banning Lyons, and laid blame on an assistant producer, who, reflecting the anger of other CNBC producers, said Lyons would never be on CNBC again.

When told about CNBC’s denial, Lyons responded, “If they say I’m not banned, great.”

The rest is a lot more he-said, she-said, but the bigger issue is similar to the one that plagued the Bush Administration as Congress grandstanded about faulty intelligence: Who knew what and when?

Fake Steve Jobs Rips Apple's Media 'Lapdogs'
Dan Lyons

Other questions: If it weren’t for bloggers and the Apple faithful continually expressing their skepticism about Jobs’ health, would the news have ever come out? Could this have happened in the blogless world of 20 years ago? 

Lyons, earliest and chief among the skeptics, credits the blogosphere. “Blogs kept this story alive and wouldn’t let it die. Mainstream media for the most part were acting as Apple’s lapdogs (eg, Goldman at CNBC) and not only refusing to report the story but actually covering up when bloggers did report the story and get nuggets of truth.

“In other words, CNBC and its ilk were acting as extension of Apple’s PR operation, helping Apple kill a story that Apple didn’t want out. I’d lump in that category the guys at New York Times who got played by Apple PR too—[John] Markoff who wrote about Jobs having surgery earlier this year, based on ‘sources’ (read: [Apple Communications VP] Katie Cotton) and positioned the story that Jobs was fine, he’d just had some surgery, but he wasn’t seriously ill. Ditto for Joe Nocera of the Times who did his ‘off record’ convo with Jobs and then reported that Jobs was fine. They got played. They helped Apple kill a story instead of actually reporting the story.”

That’s a bit more specific than Lyons got back in July on his blog, but he made it clear then he felt Apple was bluffing. That gives him at least six months worth of I-told-you-so’s to dole out to his counterparts in the media, which he has been unleashing with significant (public) fervor.

Fake Steve Jobs Rips Apple's Media 'Lapdogs'
Steve Jobs
Apple CEO

Goldman denied covering up anything on Apple’s behalf and said he reported only what he had solid evidence for. The root of the scuffle between Lyons and Goldman is Goldman’s proclamation that Jobs was in good health and his subsequent mocking of Gizmodo, a popular gadget blog, just two weeks ago. While live-blogging at Macworld week later, Goldman again went after speculation and cautioned investors to “tread lightly when considering speculation from a doctor not directly connected Jobs’ treatment.” Said doctor was quoted in the Wall Street Journal.

Yesterday, Goldman blogged that he stood by his reporting because he relied on a source he’d “known for years” who assured him Jobs was fine. “All this company had to do was be upfront with everyone from the beginning,” he wrote. “Not telling us what we all wanted to know. But what we needed to know. Apple could have broken new ground on this front, ignited a new realm of transparency. Instead, it chose a different path. And shareholders, fans, and the Apple community are paying the price."

On the air, Lyons told Goldman he should apologize to his viewers “for having gotten it so wrong.”

Apple, Cotton, and Markoff did not return requests for comment. Nocera and Goldman could not be reached.