The Macalope: Demi-Godwin


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You know what’s yesterday? Invoking Hitler. It’s sooo early 2000s. What’s hot right now is working down the scale to something more reasonable: Your Khans, your Medicis, your … McCarthys.

“How Apple’s ‘Blacklist’ Manipulates the Press” (no link but tip o’ the antlers to Dirk Karell).


In the 1930s and 1940s, a wave of “red scare” anti-Communism hysteria swept America.

At long last, have you no decency, Cult of Mac’s Mike Elgan? (Spoiler alert: No.)

What happened to people who were put on the famous Blacklist of the McCarthy era, Mike?

They were not allowed to work and their careers were ruined.

Just like product reviewers who have to wait like a whole week to get the products!

The ultimate goal is not to silence people known to be critical of the government, but to control those assumed to be objective or neutral.

And that’s the ultimate goal of any blacklist—McCarthy’s, China[‘]s or Apple’s: …


… to make honest people lie.

Wrong! The ultimate goal is to manipulate public perception. Oh, surprise, the Macalope’s not naive. He knows that Apple gives access to people who write favorable or at least reasonable reviews and people who write for major publications.

As far as mustache-twirling schemes go, this is a whole volcanic island short of “evil masterminds.”

It needs to be said, of course, that comparisons between, say, McCarthyism and Apple’s PR strategy are absurd.

Ah! Well, glad you … made them, then?

Pro tip, Mike: That feeling of the absurd is what other, more reasonable writers listen to and let stop them before they look like overblown, histrionic ninnies.

There’s also an ethical dimension—some stories about Apple involve human rights, environmental problems and other truly serious issues that some people may want to know about. And, indeed, accusations against Apple in these areas are the surest ways to get on the “blacklist.”

Because, as we all know, the New York Times is not allowed to review Apple products. The End.

I personally know very fair journalists who criticize Apple or who are publicly open-minded about the costs and benefits of Apple vs Android phones, for example, and who are still invited to their events.

But, still … BLACKLIST! Look out!

You know, Mike, has it occurred to you that your slaphappy journalistic approach has more to do with Apple’s attitude toward you than your opinion of their products?

The existence of Apple’s “blacklist” should not add to your skepticism about media and reporting.

Why, because members of the media are holy, incorruptible souls who bear no blame for either writing glowing reviews of crappy products or bad reviews of good ones?

Ultimately, it’s not that big of a deal.

Which explains why Elgan devoted 500 words at the beginning of this piece to the history of blacklisting as practiced by Joseph McCarthy and the Communist Chinese.

In technology, I would rank Apple the worst exploiter of a blacklist mentality and Google the best.

Wait, from who’s perspective? The perspective of the companies, or the perspective of the bruised-ego members of the technology press?

This all means so much coming from the guy who said the Zune scared Apple to its core. Yes, it’s a wonder Apple doesn’t shower him with pre-released products.

If wasn’t [sic] on Apple’s “blacklist” already, this post would surely get me on it.

Have you considered that maybe there’s another list, Mike? The list of technology’s pearl-clutching fainting-couch owners. Apple doesn’t give access to those people, either, but for different reasons.

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