Do Apple fans hate tech reporters?

“In the fall of 2004, Walt Mossberg, the Wall Street Journal’s influential tech columnist, reviewed Apple’s latest desktop computer, the iMac G5. He absolutely loved the thing… Mossberg’s column ran for about 900 words; just 70 of them, or 8 percent, by my count, suggested anything even approaching negative criticism. Apple loved the review so much that it excerpted it in advertisements. Apple CEO Steve Jobs quoted it in his speeches. But Mossberg says that his mailbox told a different story. Several Apple fans felt slighted. What did he have against Apple? they wanted to know,” Farhad Manjoo writes for Salon’s Machinist column.

“There are many tribes in the tech world: TiVo lovers, Blackberry addicts, Palm Treo fanatics, and people who exhibit unhealthy affection for their Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners. But there is no bigger tribe, and none more zealous, than fans of Apple, who are infamous for their sensitivity to slams, real or imagined, against the beloved company,” Manjoo writes. “‘It’s funny — even if I write a generally positive piece about Apple, I still get more complaints from Apple partisans’ than from opponents, Mossberg says. He has even coined a term for the effect. ‘I call it the Doctrine of Insufficient Adulation.'”

Manjoo writes, “In my years as a tech reporter, I’ve dealt first-hand with Mossberg’s doctrine — as well as its opposite, the PC fans who see a pro-Apple press bias in my work (a few years ago, Salon’s customer service department informed me that a reader called to cancel a subscription in response to my piece, ‘Hallelujah, the Mac Is Back.’)”

Manjoo writes, “Last year, I praised the iPhone in something of the way Romeo once praised Juliet… but because I’d concluded that the phone was, at the time, too expensive to keep (this was before Apple cut the price), several readers alleged that I was an Apple hater. For instance: ‘Does Salon actually pay you or are you being paid under the table by rival companies?'”

“David Pogue, the New York Times’ tech critic, gets much the same response[ from Apple fans]. In 2005, he wrote a quite positive review of Apple’s iPod Nano. His only problem with the music player was that, per gigabyte of music-storage space, the Nano was more expensive than the iPod Mini it replaced. Also, at the time, it wasn’t available in multiple colors. These small slights prompted Apple fans to ask Pogue, among other things, whether he was happy ‘licking Bill Gates’ balls,'” Manjoo writes.

Manjoo writes, “Why are Mac fans so quick to see bias everywhere? To understand the phenomenon, consider a study that Robert Vallone, Lee Ross and Mark Lepper, psychologists at Stanford University, conducted in the aftermath of another issue that provokes many accusations of press bias, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

According to Manjoo, Apple fans “care little for honest opinion. They want to pick up the paper and see in it a reflection of their own nearly religious zeal for the thing they love. They don’t want a review. They want a hagiography.”

Full article here.

There are extremists in every group and those who make up that small-yet-vociferous group seem to be the focus of Manjoo’s article.

As for us and, as we’ve found over the years, the vast majority of our readers, all we care about is honest opinion. It’s the dishonest FUD masquerading as “opinion” that’s often accompanied with some measure of “damning with faint praise” that draws our ire.

We know the subject we cover intimately and we can clearly see when certain pundits, analysts, and tech writers are trying to pull the wool over their readers’ eyes. When we see this, we call out the wool-pullers and we will continue to do so. And if you think certain tech analysts/writers/reporters or whatever you want to call them don’t receive receive hidden payments to talk up certain tech products and companies and/or talk down others, then you don’t read the news.

About the only accountability these sleazy FUDmeisters have are those who recognize what they’re trying to do and point it out by shining as bright a spotlight on their lies as possible.

We love good, honest, ethical tech reporters, analysts, and pundits and they should be thanking, not criticizing, those Apple fans who try to hold the compromised tech FUDsters to some degree of accountability.

76 Comments

  1. Ok, Mossberg etc are not dissing Mac users. The technical writers featured in this article are generally pro-Apple for all the right reasons, becauses its products are never perfect but put the competition to shame.

    If these writers routinely get slammed for not being pro-Apple enough then a lot of Mac fans are going overboard. What percentage? I have no idea, it would take a good study to know. But you idiots probably know who you are.

    It wouldn’t hurt MDN to suggest that its own readers keep things in perspective. One reason many of us love Apple is that they get it right amazingly often *despite* being real people who have to try things, *sometimes getting it wrong temporarily*.

    Apple products almost all have tradeoffs. Apple’s success is because they realize this more than most companies and sell products that do not include the kitchen sink. Its only common sense to grasp the short comings of Apple products before purchasing them. It doesn’t mean they are not stellar.

    Besides even Apple has had the occasional lemon. Kudos to Apple for pulling or revamping the occasional product instead of letting it limp along like many companies do.

    Kudos to reviewers who are unafraid to give Apple a rare luke warm review when its deserved and for pointing out shortcomings in even stellar products. If you love Apple then support even handed reviews.

  2. There is pro-Apple FUD and there is anti-Apple FUD.

    If reading an article about Mossberg, a very pro-Apple guy, experiencing pro-Apple FUD only prompts you to defend Apple lovers and bash anti-Apple FUD you might be one of those people that are incapable of wrapping your mind around the balanced view that all FUD is lame and harmful. If you post that one sided you view you are one of those pro-Apple FUD people.

    Take a stand against all FUD.

  3. Mossberg does a pretty good job of both pointing out when something is good, AND what it could do better.

    Manjoo is just a putz. seriously, i read that article on the iPhone. he makes it sound like it will end 95% of the worlds problems, BUT it costs too much to keep.

    first of all, if it is that great, too much to keep is about 4 billion dollars. second, it costs less than many phones that do less once you look at the complete cost of the phone.

    third, it hasn’t been out long enough to say for sure, but i bet like my Macs and iPods, rather than getting thrown out in a year or two it gets passed on as people upgrade. in a throw away society, that fact alone makes it too valuable to not own.

    are there legitimate complaints about the iPhone? hell yes. price? are you stupid?

    that is like saying that you love everything about your hybrid car EXCEPT the mileage. total cost of ownership matters. learn to think about holistic systems FTW……

    the man is a moron.

  4. Nevermark66 is right on the money.

    While they at least they didn’t use their pseudo-trademarked “Think Before You Click” advice for the full article, MDN seemed overly defensive.

    Along with MacUser, MacNN and Appleinsider (all of which have their own strengths) I find MDN generally a great place to keep up-to-date. That said, too often their editorializing stakes out an extreme position (like their politics) which seem to enforce the Mac zealot stereotype. This site’s vitriol towards Microsoft and other Apple rivals would seem to back this up.

    Tech reporters by definition are supposed to be objective; otherwise they’re lobbyists. If a reporter offers an honest personal opinion which is critical of an Apple decision, (such as Pogue’s take on iMovie ’08) MDN’s take is always defensive.

    Nevermark66 is dead on..Apple’s tradeoffs on their products are not always perfect; depending on an individual’s needs, they can be extremely frustrating. Likewise, pointing out positive things about the competition could be handled more thoughtfully. Some features of MS Office run circles around the more simple iWork. Offering an honest opinion about that doesn’t make anyone a playa-hater. It would be nice if MDN would recognize that from time to time.

  5. Man- replace “mac/Apple fans” with the word ‘liberals” and you get the same effect –

    “Why are Mac fans so quick to see bias everywhere? “

    Apple fans “care little for honest opinion. They want to pick up the paper and see in it a reflection of their own nearly religious zeal for the thing they love. They don’t want a review. They want a hagiography.”

  6. Not all tech writers are created equally. Some do receive consideration from certain entities for favorable opinions.

    Let’s face it, anyone talking up Vista has to have a financial stake in the outcome.

    We all know there are Paid Microsoft Bloggers® working hard for their masters everywhere there are pro and con discussions on Microsoft’s products or Microsoft’s oppositions’ products.

    It’s not too much of a stretch to see these Paid Microsoft Bloggers® acting like rabid, over the top Mac Fanatics just to help dull the attack of legitimate Mac fans pointing out obvious mistakes in a reviewer’s conclusions or obvious FUD statements.

    From now on, when a Mac fan loses it and acts like an ass in a blogged comment, we must all say that it is probably just Paid Microsoft Bloggers® trying to make Mac users look bad.

  7. I don’t think of myself as an Apple extremist. However, my eyelids narrow and I get very irritated every time I read the phrase “Macs are LESS PRONE to viruses than Windows…” Why do they always say that when it is patently untrue? Macs are not prone to viruses at all, but journalists think they have to say that to cover their asses, and so the general public believes that Macs get viruses just like Windows, only fewer of them.

    Then there’s Enderle. And Ina Fried. Not to mention Dvorak who throws out a whopper of a lie every now and then just to piss us off. Some of these “journalists” deserve every bit of hate mail they get. But I do wish the more zealous amongst us would lay off our allies like Mossberg and Pogue. We know they are not the true MS shills, even if they say something we don’t 100% agree with.

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