If you’re a fan of conspiracies about the Illuminati, the Stonecutters, and how George Lucas died in 1981 while shooting
Revenge of the Jedi
, then you’ll appreciate me blowing the lid off an even bigger cover-up that cuts closer to our technology-obsessed hearts: The media’s secret pro-Apple bias.
Don’t believe me? I’ve got proof.
In 2008, Apple held a press conference to announce its new unibody MacBook Pro. Now, in my 18 years as a journalist, I’ve been to plenty of press conferences. Technology press conferences (especially product launches) are generally snoozefests, and the only way to get reporters to even show up is to offer free food and booze. Apple’s press conference, however, had to be held in an auditorium that could accommodate 200 or so journalists from around the globe—journalists who had willingly, voluntarily gathered to see the new MacBook Pro.
Let’s repeat that: 200 reporters gathered to see a laptop. No, not a matter transporter or food replicator. This was a notebook computer built in the same Chinese factories that crank out everybody else’s notebooks. And whether those notebooks come from Apple or a PC maker, they all use the same CPUs, RAM, and hard drives.
The highlight of the press conference was the applause. It wasn’t polite applause of “Hey, maybe if I clap louder, the briefing will be over and I can get to the hors d’oeuvres and open bar.” It was legitimate sycophantic clapping.
Jobs the Magnificent has performed his mass hypnosis act twice yearly at the Yerba Buena theater in San Francisco.
Want more proof? Google the term “MacBook inventory running low.” In between all the Apple fanboy blogs celebrating the news of MacBook inventories running low (a sign that Apple could be emptying its supply line in anticipation of a new model), you’ll find mainstream media outlets writing about the possibility a new MacBook is coming out because, well, inventories are running low!
Now Google “HP Pavilion inventory running low,” or “Dell Inspiron inventory running low.” Be prepared to listen to crickets because you won’t ever see a news story about HP, Dell, Lenovo, or Acer running low on inventory. Even less likely would be a breathless report tying low PC notebook inventories to the possibility that maybe, just maybe, there’s a new notebook coming out. While I suspect that PC manufacturers are probably pretty good at managing inventory, even if they did cut inventory ahead of a new product launch, the media wouldn’t give two damns.
Why is that? Because of the media’s bias in favor of Apple.
Still don’t believe me? How about the regular quarterly rumors—unfailingly reported by the media—of an iPhone on Verizon’s network? You would think that after the first three or four rumors fell flat on their asses and no CDMA-equipped iPhones came out, the media would stop running with this hearsay. But no. Like hamsters pushing on that little Pavlov bar to get a treat, they keep running the damned rumors, truthful or not.
Not all Apple coverage is unwarranted. The iPad launch was newsworthy. But was it newsworthy enough to blot out reports of plane crashes, riots, financial collapse, and war? I’m not so sure, but hey, it’s an Apple product, so it deserves being blasted on the front page of newspapers and websites all around the world.
The single event that showed any media backbone was iPhone 4 Antenna-gate. In this case, journalists had no choice but to cover current events fairly. They had hyped the iPhone 4 as the second coming of the iPad, but it turned out that the phones could hang up on you if you held them with your left hand. The media had to go ballistic on that one or risk losing what little credibility it had left.
I could give you other examples, but you know I’m right. People say Apple’s brilliance is making consumers believe that a commodity product is the most unique thing in the world. I say that’s true. But Apple couldn’t do it without a complicit media happily stenographing everything Apple says.
Gordon Mah Ung is the senior editor and chief hardware guru of Maximum PC .