Will editorial bias ruin Apple’s curated News app?

“Apple would probably like us to focus on the likes of the Apple Music and Beats One [sic] launches, but really it’s another announcement that should be foremost in our minds: Apple News,” Mark Wilson writes for BetaNews. “Content will not only come from media partners, but will also be curated. Apple is now a news editor, and that’s extremely dangerous.”

“Perhaps the most worrying feature of Apple News is that the stories will be handpicked and curated,” Wilson writes. “The aim is to ‘surface great content from a range of high-quality publishers,’ but what happens when there’s a big story that is critical of Apple? Will it be buried? Ignored? Tweaked?”

“What editor is going to be willing to surface stories that lay into his or her employer simply because the story is compelling? This is the danger of curated news. Bias, opinion, and politics start to creep in,” Wilson writes. “Of course, controlling the news need not be quite as simple as promoting stories that praise the company and ignoring those that are critical. Apple is a business, and it has interests. As a company it cares who is in government. It cares about the outcome of elections.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As always, readers of “news” need to consider the sources and interpret what they are are being told accordingly. The more disparate sources you can find, the better. And we don’t mean different newspaper, network, website brands that are all owned by the same conglomerate. Determining the actual ownership of your “news” sources is an investment that requires a bit of time, but it is very enlightening.

SEE ALSO:

Apple’s ambitious News app to rely on humans over algorithms for curation – June 16, 2015
Apple hiring team of journalists for News app; a ‘jaw-dropping’ development says publisher – June 15, 2015
Apple News to have human curation – and that raises issues – June 15, 2015
Flipboard CEO blasts Apple’s News app as ‘something that we actually shipped five years ago’ – June 12, 2015
Apple dumps Newsstand, takes on Facebook with Flipboard-like ‘News’ app – June 9, 2015

68 Comments

  1. Mark Wilson seems to imply that news is not commonly curated.

    Mr. Wilson, we are human. All news is curated. As the MDN Take says, the more news sources, the better.

  2. The only way for Apple to do this right is to issue the formatting and style standards to a cross section of news outlets across the political spectrum, and allow the user to choose which sources they prefer in their feed.

    Treat it like a library of news. No judgement calls. Judgement calls should be up to the individual. It’s okay to let people be intellectually curious.

          1. And this is coming from the side of the isle who responds to everything with ‘Noboma!’, ‘hopey-changey’, or ‘lamestream media!!’??

            Please. Your side managed to turn all discourse on its head starting with pictures of Bill Clinton as a gay man with a whistle, and a ‘clinton queer three dollar bill’ with every issue at the newsstands.

            You’re just pouting because we’ve decided to play the same game as your fox phonies. ‘We’re all independents who has never pulled a lever for anyone without a republican behind their name!’, says faux.

    1. The problem with that is that all “news” sites are not equal.

      Some, like Fox ‘News’ are brands- not statements of fact. Murdochvision is opinion radio with pictures masquerading as news. It’s MO is scare the old white people all the time.

      BTW Fox viewers, Obama is coming to get your guns today. Not sure why he waited 7 years to do it, but maybe it is because ISIS/ISIL is camped just below the Texas border awaiting the signal.

      1. I sure hope that Trump gets elected and builds that Great Wall on the southern border before they get the signal.

        (Unfortunately I have to actually point out that this is sarcasm before the angry replies start coming in)

          1. As opposed to the backward, illiterate, uncouth, uncultured, faux Christian and Sunshine Patriot Amurriikins we got in the Red States? The ones who live off of the government tit and then harp about socialism?

    2. Based on what I saw in the WWDC presentation, this is exactly what Apple has done. I have a feeling that this human curation is merely a subset of a broader content gathering scheme from Apple, and probably not its most important.

    3. I have been using this app for quite some time and it has become clear to me that there is an significant editorial bias. I have found it difficult tonnavigate to diverse news sources and the is an overt effort to guide the participant toward a generally liberal or extreme viewpoint. I have tried to use it to curate my interest but have been consistently “steered” in another direction. This is quite concerning and leaves skeptical of the entire app. This is not news. It is propaganda masquerading as news.

  3. MSNBC, CBS, ABC, the Washington Post, NPR, NYT, Comedy Central are all “curated” by leftists. They are all boring and shrinking because leftists deny reality and present “news” like TASS or Pravda.

    1. Kent, I think the leftists in these parts intend for you to equate those down votes with actual refutation. It goes something like this:

      “Hoo boy! I gave him one star! Showed him! Those rightwing bastards will think twice before they say something I don’t like! I win!”

        1. You’re not terribly bright, are you?

          My point – since it has to be explained – is that you leftwing scum are incapable of mustering ANYTHING BESIDES the infantile down vote. In other words, you’re INCAPABLE of actual refutation.

          What this means is that you’re standing on shaky ground and you damn well, deep down know it, but you haven’t a clue nor the intellectual rigor, much less honesty, what to do about it.

          And yes, I realize I’m wasting my time by supposing that there’s a snowball’s chance in hell you’ll be able to comprehend the substance of what I’m saying. So be it.

          In summation: Stars don’t matter. It’s infantile, and I’m not the one that uses them in lieu of actual argumentation. LIBERALS DO THAT.

          Understand?

          Of course you don’t!

          1. No, we just view engaging with you as a waste of time. You are a bigoted blowhard with too much time on your hands. Or you are paid to write you BS, either way, I personally down vote every post that I see from you and usually don’t even read it first. You offer nothing insightful or even coherent.

            A smart guy once told me “Never try to teach a pig to sing. You’ll waste your time and you’ll annoy the pig.” No singing lessons for you, Bob.

            1. I post less than you do, you hypocrite.

              The “unless you are paid” thing is interesting…and paranoid. I must be unaware of writing the occasional comment as an actual profession.

              The part where you pretend that you COULD refute me if you wanted, it’s just that you don’t want to, is par for the course for the cowardly liberal who couldn’t formulate an argument if his life depended on it.

              The part with the pig thing is actually a quite well known cliché. For you to pretend that the rest of us are just now encountering this chestnut of a cowardice-excusing trope is silly.

            2. Unfortunately, this counterpoint only bolsters his point that there is not a thoughtful counterpoint but rather just a criticism filled with diatribe and negative labels. I would recommend trying thoughtful discourse and sincere consideration for another point of view as an avenue toward personal growth and/or persuasion.

          2. Nicely said, quiviran.

            And you, hateybob,

            Most of what you say is just insults and obscenity. There is nothing to engage.

            But most of all THIS IS A MAC NEWS SITE. Just fuck off with the right-wing ravings. I can give you the urls of plenty of political discussion sites, if you like.

            1. More excuse making from another liberal coward. I have presented arguments primarily, and I stand by my assessments of you here who are liberals and liars (one and the same).

              As for the sudden insistence that “we keep politics out of it,” NO!

              Tim Cook goes first. And the rest of you liberal cretins, too, since I sat silently for a good long while, watching you leftwing creeps insert your godless poison where it did not belong.

              You reap what you sow!

              DO…YOU…GET…IT…YET?

            2. You’re nothing but a belligerent ass-wipe, excusing your fucked up nastiness with a cloak of supposedly religious thinking and supposedly political views.

            3. “I have presented arguments primarily”
              No. You have primarily engaged in name calling and insult.

              “insert your godless poison where it did not belong.”
              Ohh, give it up with you fairy stories of a psychopathic sky monster.

              “You reap what you sow!”
              I imagine, then, that you are reaping a pretty nasty, negative, hate-filled life.

    2. No. The New York Times, except for its editorial pages, is strictly center,and center-right at that. No paper did more cheering in the run-up to the war against Iraq. Similar, the Wall Street Journal, except in its editorial pages, was similarly centrist. At least in the days before it was bought by Murdoch. Even now, it’s less biased than most news blogs on the web.

      You want “progressive” news sources (there aren’t any real “leftists” news outlets in America)? Sure: Comedy Central, Daily Beast, Huffington Post, Media Matters, etc. But all the networks, major newspapers and newsweeklies are all centrist (ranging from center to center-right).

          1. Let’s look at the NYT’s record in their news stories as regards freedom – freedom of speech, freedom of self-defense, America as a free country, and so on. The NYT has a pretty awful record there, and once you throw in Israel, it gets much, much worse. Then there’s the lies by omission. Fast and Furious scandal – where? IRS scandal – where? Illegals being released to rape, rob, and murder – where? Susan Rice’s lies – where? No paper has been more fawning over Obama and all his policies than the NYT. The NYT and it’s insufferable psuedo-intellectual Upper West Side elitism is the cheerleader of establishment liberalism. It is only centrist if you are a Marxist.

            1. Being a “center right” paper how many news stories did the NYT do about Obama using the NSA to attack Sheryl Atkinson? How many front page stories about how Obama used the IRS to attack political opponents – and this is still going on? How many front page stories about how Obama and Clinton lied about the Benghazi deaths – blaming an innocent man for over a year and imprisoning him?

            2. I must agree that the NYT is now a propaganda arm of its owners. This is a more traditional status as Newspapers have historically been political mouthpieces but I think that the NYT tries to delude the populous by self righteously claiming otherwise. When decrying the criticism directed toward the press “Me thinks thow doest protest too much…:”

          2. My personal observation has been that the NYT has been very left leaning and recently inclined to place front page articles diguised as news that are obviously opinion articles. I am disappoint to discover that the once respected NYT now confused opinion with fact

    3. They all seem enameled of Republicans to me.

      Want to see what left wing looks like? Read The Nation or Mother Jones.

      The MSM- especially the DC bureaux- are so Republican they should all wear Elephant pins.

  4. One need only look at the comments section of this website to see how unhinged people become once politics is involved.

    There is no such thing as “unbiased news”. Apple should stay out of the “news” business. No way they can avoid inflaming the anger of consumers.

    Apple, just stick to computer technology. Don’t fall in the trap of alienating consumers due to the inevitable introduction of bias.

    1. Regarding Apple in or out of the news business, let us compare other companies.

      Tech companies
      1. Google has news service plus a search engine.
      2. Amazon books and news apps.
      3. Facebook.
      4. Comcast
      5. Disney (ABC), etc etc

      If Apple thinks they can do a better job, let them try.

      1. Justifying actions just because other people do it too probably is not a very good way to go.

        All those organizations have been caught or accused at one time or another of choosing information to disseminate with the purpose of influencing the opinion of their customers.

        Apple, please don’t go down this route. Stay out of the madness.

  5. Kent’s slam on “leftists” shows a view that is contrary to MDM’s take that “Determining the actual ownership of your “news” sources is an investment that requires a bit of time, but it is very enlightening”.

    Though I’m one of those “liberals”, I make an effort to read views that are contrary to my views (like MDM reader responses). For instance, I joined the NRA to better understand their beliefs; I still don’t agree with much of their goals, but at least I’m better informed.

    If everybody would quit attacking each other for their political views and look for common ground, we’d find that we all want the same things: safety, health, and enjoyment of life.

    1. I do the same. I read Huffington Post AND Drudge every morning. I listen to Thom Hartman and Stephanie Miller AND right-wing talk radio. You want to have an intelligent discussion? You need to hear both arguments and decide for yourself what’s real and what’s not.

      1. Are those the same people cheering on Trumps demand for increased military spending and antitrade policies? If you can take care of yourselves and don’t want any human migration to occur, why are you bankrupting yourselves with the worlds most obscene amount of military spending?

        1. LOL. Human migration? It’s not migration. It’s not some natural event that happens every summer. It’s called ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION and every country in the world has rules for who is allowed in and who is not. The USA is no different. But you’re ignorant of other countries, so you wouldn’t know.

          You are wrong about where the US debt comes from, too. It’s not military spending. The reasons for the debt are person-to-person transfers, i.e. the welfare state. So the US doesn’t spend obscene amounts on the military, but even if it did (who determines what is obscenity, anyways?), defense is necessary to preserve a nation..

          By the way, the people whom I’m speaking about didn’t vote for Trump, and that includes me.

          You lose. Care to play again?

  6. It’s rather strange. News has been ‘curated’, ever since news was first distributed and it wasn’t regarded as a problem until Apple proposed to do it.

    When the proprietors of a given newspaper attract unflattering publicity, you can be pretty sure it won’t be mentioned prominently in their newspapers. When there is a news story concerning another business owned by the conglomerate that owns the newspaper, you can be pretty sure that a very favourable version of the story will be published. When a newspaper holds strong political views, you know what to expect when they write about those they support and those who oppose them.

    All of a sudden, now that Apple is proposing to curate news too, the very act of curating news has become an issue, but only with respect to Apple doing it.

  7. A fairly ridiculous article and proposition considering all news outlets have some bias.

    I noticed a lot of the articles written on this subject have a “fascist censorship” aspect to them as if iOS users are only going to be able to get their news from this one single source (Apple) and nowhere else.

    Apple News is just an aggregate based of the individual’s preferences. Apple is not going to determine what you read. Human curation comes into play when making suggestions on articles you might find interesting based on previous interests.

    Furthermore, if you do use Apple’s News app and find you’re not getting many articles to your tastes, you’re always free to go elsewhere for your news.

    1. Agreed. It did seem unnecessarily alarmist to me, but I think the spectre of allowing Apple to control more and more of your life (as opposed to creating products that allow you to create – big difference) is worth mentioning, if only in passing.

      1. I don’t understand how exactly Apple is controlling more and more of anyone’s life? These are just devices and services that you’re supposed to use to make your life a little easier, maybe more organized. They’re meant to provide ASSISTANCE. If anyone considers it to be controlling, then they need to rethink how they’re using these products. Apple doesn’t control you or what you do, they control their own products and services, use them as you will.

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