Bias Alert: Washington Post iTunes Music Store report shows anti-Mac slant

There’s not too much we need to write to setup to this Bias Alert. As usual, the reporter’s choice of words say it all. Frank Ahrens, Washington Post Staff Writer, obviously has an agenda of sorts. Some snippets:

“Apple Computer Inc. entered the Internet music business yesterday, striding into a tempest that could hardly be more turbulent and unpredictable. In high-’90s style — standing before a huge video screen displaying a cascade of Web pages — Apple chief executive Steve Jobs unveiled the iTunes Music Store…”

“For now, the service is available only to owners of Macs running recent versions of the company’s operating system, a tiny fraction of the personal computer market. By the end of the year, Jobs said, the service will be available to the far wider consumer market of Windows users.”

Oooooh, the dreaded “unpredictable tempest.” Nice one with that “high ’90’s-style,” it makes Apple seen dated; or was he remarking on the auditorium’s temperature or measuring Steve’s fastball? Already, we revel in the Bias as it begins to freely flow…

“Jobs’s theatrical rollout of iTunes ( appears to streamline the process, offering “one-click” download and payment via credit card.”

“The upside: ITunes could become a compellingly priced, easy-to-use Internet music-buying service that could put a dent in free song-sharing. The downside: Jobs could unwittingly become a Pied Piper of music piracy.”

“How? Every Apple user who buys and burns a song then turns around and re-rips it and floods Kazaa,” one of several free music-sharing sites, with unauthorized Internet versions of the song, warned Gartner Inc. analyst P.J. McNealy. Further, he said, Apple may encounter trouble moving iTunes onto Windows because Apple has less restrictive copyright protection software than Windows parent Microsoft Corp.”

“If iTunes works, it will be one of the few smooth marriages between creative content and technology in the ongoing fight against online piracy.”

appears to streamline the process…”
“Jobs could unwittingly become a Pied Piper of music piracy…”
“Apple may encounter trouble…”
If iTunes works…”

This guy’s a master, but not good enough to elude the MacDailyNews Bias Alert. And it gets even better. In describing last Friday’s ruling by a lower California federal court that said free song-sharing services called Grokster and Morpheus cannot be held liable for copyright infringements committed by its users, Ahrens writes:

“Some observers believe that Friday’s ruling will hurt Apple’s new service, because it may embolden pirates to continue using free services such as Kazaa and Morpheus and resist pay services, such as Apple’s. Or, Apple and Jobs could create their own problems: Mac users who wanted to use the brand-new iTunes service yesterday afternoon were reporting difficulty accessing the Web site.”

Full article here.


  1. Apple has always had their nay-sayers and they always will. But we must love them; who else would we have to laugh at when Wintel users are all using Apple’s “iTunes for Windows” in a few years to purchase and easily burn their CDs, and they think “Wouldn’t it be great if a whole computer were this easy to use?”

    I have no advice for Steve and company. They don’t need splashy used-car-dealer-like advertising, nor “must adopt Intel chips or die”, nor do they need to run Microsoft aps. This is what everyone does. This is the thinking of a follower, not a leader. Apple has never done what everyone does and they are a much more advanced system; not just in technology and GUI, but in terms of bringing users needs, artists rights, and the digital industry together where everyone wins. I like how Apple turns the impossible into the beautiful and simple in everything they touch!

    Let the Apple nay-sayers and doom-predictors ramble on. It’s great entertainment reading their articles on a computer that they said was dead 10 years ago.

  2. some observers believe… …
    may encounter trouble… …
    appears to streamline… …
    could become… snip … that could put a dent…

    A veritable compendium of liberal weasel-speak. Note the unattriputed negatives and the plethora of conditional phrases. The only liberal code word not used was ‘concern’ as in, “Some analysts are concerned … …” Those of us that have to pick up the Washington Post for the funnies know the drill by heart. We have been listening to it for years.

  3. Clueless journalists will always be clueless. Obviously this guy doesn’t know the difference a mac and a pc. A few points:

    1.) Of course people are going to have problems the VERY FIRST DAY of the service. Cos’ everyone and their mother is going to try it AT ONCE. After a few hours, I had NO PROBLEMS getting on. Shows what he knows.

    2.) DRM implemented on programs like Windows and Musicmatc/Pressplay is THE REASON people would go to Kazaa. Let’s think about this, when the companies treat you like criminals. (i.e. Windows XP ridiculously dumb activation garbage) people will simply go an easier route.

    3.) There’s really no reason to refute what this guy says. Smart people find things out on their own. Those who are not lemmings will take a look themselves and make a decision. As one person said in a review on the iPod, IT JUST WORKS.

    This is the difference between Mac and PC, the Mac works, as it should. Winblows on the otherhand, well, you know the answer.

  4. Don’t be paranoid, they’re not out to get you! Overall this is a pretty decent piece about a radical new technology; when was the last time Apple got this much positive press anywhere? The reality is that Apple is offering some sort of face-saving solution for the music industry; I’ll happily pay 99 cents for a super clean version of a song, that’s reasonable. The music companys get something, the artist gets something, we have an easy way to get clean tracks (this can be a real hassle on Kazaa Lite for those of you who use non-Apple boxes too). The article is pretty straight up, and as for a “liberal” slant, Joe Ballo probably believes in the grassy knoll, the secret group of Jewish bankers running the world and so on. Get a grip.

    The thing I find strange here is that Itunes for Windows is a long way off (they’re advertising for a windows developer on Apple’s site, ???), and already everybody is freaking out about how cool it will be for Windows users. I hate to say this, but Itunes isn’t any better than media player, and in fact lacks a lot of features I like in Media player. I have an Ipod and love it, but why limit this to just Mac hardware? This sort of hardware-centric thinking is why Apple’s market share continues to fall world-wide–people don’t want to pay top dollar for over-priced hardware(Just stack up the equivalent bits in a box, it’s clear that Apple charges a premium for the same parts). It’s about the software, stupid! At least Jobs is trying to move into the windows world with something other than Quicktime, he should do this with all the Apple programs or risk Apple becoming the company that time forgot.

    I’m a committed but not blind Apple user.

  5. Joe, you are dead on, except with the “liberal” part. More like “…compedium of PC-user weasel-speak.” It’s the “liberal” mags (ie. Time) that consistently support Apple…with exceptions, of course. I’m afraid your own bias is showing in this case ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” /> Besides, putting Apple into a “liberal/conservative” frame is not productive. The Post author is not speaking from a liberal stance, but from an anti-Mac stance. Let’s keep our eye on the ball…Macs are non-partisan!

  6. It just kills me to read these pieces by so-called journalists who just whip these stories up without doing any homework. First of all, with the DRM built into the AAC files, it’s not possible to share these songs over Kazaa. It wouldn’t have taken any time at all for him to find that out. Second, I don’t understand why all these journalists and analysts always remark about Apple’s market share. Yes, it was around 3% last year, but that’s just how many they sold last year. In a situation like this it’s a lot smarter to look at the installed base which is actually more like 35% to 40%. And even higher if you consider the fact that probably nearly half of the Wintel machines out there are owned by businesses that would never access an online music store anyway. It’s just sad that these people have any influence whatsoever.

  7. The writer of that whacked article in urban slang is nothing more than a Hater! He shouldn’t hate the Players (Apple), just hate the game!! Come over from the darkside and embrace the light.

    Computer Acronyms –

    IBM – Ignorant Business Machine
    Mac – Magnificant Applicable Computing

    Once he frees himself from the clutches of the Borg and joins the Starship he’ll be aigght!!

    ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  8. Oh Puhleeeze let’s not politicize this. Contrary to current talk radio belief, everything evil in this world does not come from those darn liberals. Remember, just a few years ago it was all the right wing extremists fault.

  9. This isn’t a biased article. It is absolutely true that Apple is “striding into a tempest that could hardly be more turbulent and unpredictable.”

    Even if that statement wasn’t true, it still wouldn’t follow that it was pejorative in nature.

    As for the rest of the article, it evidences little to no enthusiasm for the new service. That is called professional journalism. The Washington Post does not exist to validate our belief in the greatness of whatever Apple is currently doing.

  10. Ahrens is a running joke here in DC, and was in fact the butt of a week-long radio serial mocking him (Really funny, btw). He’s nothing but an entertainment writer with zero credibility…I’m not even sure why he was tasked with writing this article. I can’t say if he’s anti-Mac in particular, but he certainly has a historical preference for negative rather than postive spins in his articles.

  11. “As for the rest of the article, it evidences little to no enthusiasm for the new service. That is called professional journalism.”

    Honestly I don’t care if he loves Apple or not, but it is a journalist’s responsibility to get the facts straight before “informing” (or in this case misleading) the public. He did not do that. He was wrong about the AAC DRM, and he mislead the public by stated that Apple has 3% of the market share, when that was the share of sales LAST YEAR. The installed base is much much higher. Not a fact that should be ignored.

  12. “Every Apple user who buys and burns a song then turns around and re-rips it and floods Kazaa”

    This is a *good* thing, as downloaders will get very poor-sounding tracks (due to the decompression from AAC and recompression into MP3). The free music swapping community will get a bad name for distributing poor-sounding tracks, and they’ll flock to Apple to purchase a “pristine” copy.

    “Apple may encounter trouble moving iTunes onto Windows because Apple has less restrictive copyright protection software than Windows parent Microsoft Corp.”

    Windows has NOTHING to do with it. The DRM protection is built into iTunes and the AAC files themselves, not Windows.

    This guy IS a joke.

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