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Apple Shuns The New York Times in OS X Mountain Lion Coverage Over Foxconn Reporting

With yesterday's announcements from Apple regarding its forthcoming OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion operating system, a number of media outlets had been provided with advance briefings and early copies of the software for the purposes of having reviews prepared and ready to go. When Apple published its press release and went live with OS X Mountain Lion information at 8:30 AM Eastern yesterday, the embargo was lifted and all of the pre-briefed publications immediately posted their stories on the topic.

But one publication with a long track record of receiving favored access from Apple was missing from that group: The New York Times. An article from the Times' David Pogue was published about five hours after Apple's announcement, and it did not appear to include any specific details suggesting that he had received advance notice of the release.


As reported by The Washington Post, Apple apparently shunned The New York Times over the newspaper's "iEconomy" series of articles that has focused in large part on working conditions in Foxconn's manufacturing plants in China.
Says a source at the Times: “They are playing access journalism...I’ve heard it from people inside Apple: They said, look, you guys are going to get less access based on the iEconomy series.”

The on-the-record word from the New York Times differs only slightly from the not-for-attribution word: “We’re never happy with our access to Apple. We never have been. Apple is a difficult company to report on,” says Damon Darlin, the paper’s tech editor.
A decision by Apple to cut off access for a publication presenting the company in a less-than-favorable light should certainly be no surprise to longtime Apple watchers, and the technique is not an unusual one in business as companies constantly seek to ensure the most positive coverage possible. But as The Washington Post notes, the Times may be more than happy to lose some access to Apple in exchange for its ability to publish high-profile investigative reports such as its iEconomy series.

Update: David Pogue did report on Twitter yesterday that he had been "running Mac OS X Mountain Lion for a week", so it is unclear exactly why his report was not ready to go when the embargo lifted and why his article did not offer any mention of a pre-briefing session as a number of the articles from other publications did.

Update 2: John Gruber reports that David Pogue was indeed present for a pre-briefing with Apple.
When I left my briefing with Schiller last Wednesday in New York, waiting in the hallway for the next briefing was: David Pogue.

Top Rated Comments

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35 months ago
I would expect (or at least hope) that the NY Times is utterly unphased by this.

Covering tech products like Apple's is ultimately fluff. It's fun to cover and reader enjoys it, but ultimately you're just one of thousands of publications helping to sell gadgets to people who like gadgets.

Covering working conditions in the developing world, on the other hand, is important stuff. If the big guys like the NY Times don't cover it, hardly anyone will know about it. (And in a democratic socierty, it's only when hidden under the veil of ignorance that inhumane practices can continue.)
Rating: 22 Votes
35 months ago
Of course David Pogue tweeted that he had been running it for over a week which makes this whole article moot.
Rating: 20 Votes
35 months ago
NYT is playing sensationalist reporting, making Foxconn problem appear to be an Apple exclusive problem.

The NYT article title "In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad" says it all.
Rating: 18 Votes
35 months ago
Unfortunately that access tactic is pretty standard. It's like if your friends say bad things about you - you aren't exactly going to be friends anymore.
Rating: 14 Votes
35 months ago

NYT is playing sensationalist reporting, making Foxconn problem appear to be an Apple exclusive problem.


My feelings exactly.
Rating: 13 Votes
35 months ago

Someone still reads the NYT?

No worry. It won't be around much longer by the graph of sales and readership.


Are you kidding? The NYT is one of the finest English language papers in the world. Any suggestion they won't be around for much longer is nothing short of ludicrous.

Out of curiosity, what paper (or similar source of news) would you suggest rivals the Times? While there's plenty of other solid papers in terms of reporting, I have yet to find one that matches or rivals the quality of the writing in the Times.

And while the article on Foxconn may have taken some things out of context, I found that their previous article on why Apple can't/doesn't manufacture in the US incredibly enlightening.
Rating: 11 Votes
35 months ago



More importantly, do you only get special access if you print only positive stories? Sounds like pure advertising to me at that point.


everyone pays chinese workers very little but the NY Times seemed to only talk about Apple

i work 5 minutes away from their building in NYC and i bet if i hung around with my iphone i would see plenty of low paid people in worse working conditions than the people that build iphone. and they would be working for the NY Times in some capacity
Rating: 9 Votes
35 months ago

The NYT has a decidedly anti-capitalist bias in its business reporting. Time and time again they spew forth stories about how horrible being one of Apple's vendors is with at-best spotty research (when they do research). The NYT likes to think it has the ability to change the world to suit its own warped ideology. Hell, they publish Paul Krugman's delusional ravings. The mainstream media doesn't give a damn about publishing positive stories. They prefer to publish doom and gloom and if they can't find doom and gloom, they will invent doom and gloom.

Apple long ago abandoned traditional outlets to inform the public about their products because they didn't want the media to control the message. Macworld was the most prominent example. Why should Apple wait an entire year to announce a new product? Now they can do it whenever they want. Apple realized that they couldn't leave product promotion in the hands of Joe Blow's computer store because Joe Blow either didn't care or was a Microsoft disciple. Now, Apple stores are constantly packed with people.

This is nothing more than sour grapes for the NYT.


Then why did Jobs regularly chat with Pogue?

And if the NYT is as biased as you say it is, why do they also publish David Brooks?

And why if there were/are no problems at Apple's suppliers did Apple launch an extensive program to deal with exactly those problems?

The world is a bit more gray than your black-and-white understanding of it.
Rating: 9 Votes
35 months ago
I never bother reading articles on Apple products because of the way that they control the content. That's why every tech blog and news site defaults to praise of any new software or hardware changes that Apple releases. The only truly credible reviews of Apple products are found on forums where people complain about issues they are having.

I'm saddened by the opinion of many posters here that seem to believe that any negative story about Apple should be censored.
Rating: 8 Votes
35 months ago

The NYT has always had an agenda. And not always that pure. They were an apologist for Stalin in the past and covered up the Ukrainian genocide. I do not trust them. And anyone who does trust them because they were considered "the paper of record" is is being foolish. In the past, they could get away with it. In today's world, they can't.


History aside, I always find it funny when people blame another organization for having an agenda. Everyone has an agenda...Apple has one, Google has one, and the Times has one. It just so happens that the Times' agenda includes reporting on things people don't want to hear, and so it upsets Apple's, or maybe it will upset another company's agenda. And I think it's pretty obvious that corporate agendas, like Apple's, are treated fairly well in this country and elsewhere.

We can't dismiss the whistleblower just because we don't like what they say...
Rating: 8 Votes

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