Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Businesses The Media Apple

Are Media Writers Biased Towards Apple? 747

Posted by Zonk
from the i-only-have-one-apple-computer dept.
Art Vanderlay writes "Readers should not be surprised by overcoverage of Apple Computers since the tech writers and columnists for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and Fortune are all Mac users. According to John Dvorak of PC Mag, no one seems to point out the connection between the skewed coverage and the existence of this peculiar conflict of interest based on the national writers' use of Macs. He feels the newsroom editors are generally so out of touch that they can't see this bias and are also Mac users." From the article: "This reality is not going to change. In fact it will only get worse as technology coverage is handed to newer, less-qualified observers who simply cannot use a Microsoft Windows computer. With no Microsoft-centric frame of reference, Microsoft cannot look good. The company essentially brought this on itself with various PR and marketing policies that discouraged knowledgeable coverage. I'll save those complaints for a future gripe session."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Are Media Writers Biased Towards Apple?

Comments Filter:
  • Ya think? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I think some of the same could be said for Slashdot too.

    Don't worry, I will post this anon.
    • Re:Ya think? (Score:3, Informative)

      by hpavc (129350)
      Hardly.

      Just because people use the products or are even advocates of it doesnt mean they are bias in their work.

      Likely DJ is upset at his major predictions being wrong and wants to blame someone besides himself. In the same way people blame the the liberal/conservative media when it suits them.
      • It Just Works (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Analogy Man (601298) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @01:56PM (#13837721)
        Shouldn't it be telling that people that use a product and "...it just works" and "I like it..." appears to be commonplace with respect to Mac and less common with windows.

        I have used both platforms and have thrown my mouse against the wall with a "Fuck You Bill Gates" more than once and have never been so provoked by frustration with Mac. Is this due to media spin or my user experience?...I think the later.

        • Re:It Just Works (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bloodstains (676306)
          I have used both platforms and have thrown my mouse against the wall with a "Fuck You Bill Gates" more than once and have never been so provoked by frustration with Mac. Is this due to media spin or my user experience?

          It's because Apple hardware is to expensive to treat like that.
  • Can the same be said for editors/readers of slashdot? .... broadcasting from an Apple Dual G5
  • Human Nature (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dsginter (104154) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:29AM (#13835071)
    Umm... Isn't it human nature to root for the underdog? Good vs. Evil? Et cetera?
    • Re:Human Nature (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac.cEINSTEINom minus physicist> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:37AM (#13835154) Journal
      More than that, writers need to sell stories, and Apple has interesting things to write about. How many people give a shit if Dell brings out a new product?

      -jcr
      • Re:Human Nature (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Iriel (810009) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @10:05AM (#13835431) Homepage
        Very true, but there's a little more to it than that. Apple has always been a sort of 'elite' kind of computer market. Maybe that's too strong of a word to use, but nobody can deny that Apple has always catered to having some form of a unique company identity which attracts that unique user-base. Of course, now that the unique and possibly 'hip computer company' is making new things, reporting it is great press for almost anybody (even if they have the technical acumen of Jack Thompson).
      • Re:Human Nature (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        How many people give a shit if Dell brings out a new product?

        The wording is off, there. Plenty of people are interested in Dell's product lines... I even keep an eye on their offerings. It's not that they don't care, it's that it's not exciting.

        When Dell comes out with a new product, it's just like everyone else's new product, only in Midnight Gray. When Apple comes out with a new product, it's exciting.

        What will it do? How much will it cost? Ooh, quad! Ooh, video.

        I don't deny the bias, certainly. Apple get
      • by hackstraw (262471) * on Thursday October 20, 2005 @10:10AM (#13835483)

        "10 percent of computer users are Mac users, but remember, we are the top 10 percent."

        - Douglas Adams

        And yes, I selected that quote free from any bias whatsoever.
    • by blitz487 (606553) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @11:09AM (#13836070)
      I've never understood the hype for the ipod either. I'm not paying $.99 for poor quality DRM'd music. I have 8000 songs on my home jukebox, legally purchased, some in the form of vinyl that I've enjoyed for 30 years. I have no faith that DRM'd music will be playable even 5 years from now. Ipods won't play .wma music; I'm not paying money for someone else's jihad. I don't wear 'ear buds' because they are a major cause of permanent hearing damage. I never carry a music player while jogging because I prefer to hear cars bearing down on me in time to jump out of the way. And those advertisements of dorks silently bee-bopping around with wires coming out of their ears leave me cold.
      • Re: Human Nature (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hondo77 (324058)
        I have over 22,000 songs in my home jukebox (iTunes), legally purchased (well, except for a dozen or so ;-), some in the form of vinyl that I've enjoyed for 30 years. I've never run into the DRM wall with my iTMS purchases. Who cares about WMA? Anybody? I don't wear earbuds because those nice Sennheisers sound so much better. And I usually never see those advertisements because Apple doesn't do a whole lot of advertising during "Good Eats". Hype? The oh-so-easy-to-use iPod let's me listen to my whole
      • by SuperKendall (25149) * on Thursday October 20, 2005 @03:09PM (#13838382)
        I can only think of you with pity for having encoded all 8000 songs in WMA, and then not being able to use them with a decent portable player.

        You can use the iPod and never once have a DRM song touch your player. I have hundreds of CD's and they ripped just fine to DRM free MP3's.

  • HA! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RedSteve (690399) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:30AM (#13835075)

    And HA!

    I am astounded that such an astute observer as Dvorak didn't seem to pick up on the fact that the virulent "Apple is Dying" meme in the 90s was perpetuated primarily by PC-using columnists...

    • Re:HA! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ScuzzMonkey (208981) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:55AM (#13835338) Homepage
      Pick up on it? He practically invented it. And still tries to spread it, in typical resolute but poorly considered Dvorak fashion.
    • Is this a campaign?? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BerntB (584621)
      He, how many dozens of times where Apple declared dead?

      What I find interesting is this story yesterday in the largest Swedish morning news paper and The Register. After a Dvorak column a few days earlier.

      Is Dvorak (of all nitwits!) so much copied!? Is this some sort of campaign?

      I remember reading at least a decade of rah rah articles about Microsoft, up to being declared guilty in their big trial. And quite a bit after.

      (-: I mean, it is a well known phenomenon that big advertisers get terrible press

    • Re:HA! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Eric Giguere (42863) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @10:15AM (#13835535) Homepage Journal

      You have to separate the writing of articles/columns/books from the editing and layout tasks. The latter are normally done on Macs, yes, and that was a very natural evolution. The non-techies (think English majors, graphic design artists, etc.) found the Mac systems easier and more intuitive to use, so of course the software developers took note and developed software for that market. Seems like a perfect example of one company managing to dominate a vertical market. Kudos to Apple for that.

      But how much of the writing is actually done on a Mac? Now, it may be that conventional journalists may use Macs more often than not, but I suspect most freelancers are using Windows systems. Or even Linux. And producing Microsoft Word documents more than likely. Almost everyone I've written for accepts Word documents, for many it's the preferred (often the only) format. (IBM being one exception, they want you to write it using XML, which actually can be more of a pain.)

      Yes, it's ironic that most of the pro-Windows books out there today end up being edited and composited on Macs. But that's just the way the industry works today. I think calling it a bias is an exaggeration.

      Eric
      How I keep my dogs safe in my yard [ericgiguere.com]
      • Re:HA! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by orac2 (88688) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @10:29AM (#13835658)
        But how much of the writing is actually done on a Mac? Now, it may be that conventional journalists may use Macs more often than not, but I suspect most freelancers are using Windows systems. Or even Linux. And producing Microsoft Word documents more than likely. Almost everyone I've written for accepts Word documents, for many it's the preferred (often the only) format.

        a) You can get Word (and nearly the entire Office suite) as an OS X application. Microsoft has, after all, been writing software for Apple longer than its been writing software for MS Windows.

        b) As a journalist, I can tell you anecdotely that the proportion of reporters I see at conferences, etc., who use Macs versus those on PCs is much higher than in the general population.

        c) In a lot of places the layout/design production end is at least partially integrated with the editorial end, so that articles can go into a system as manuscripts (i.e. Word documents), have a few rounds of edits and get laid out all in one tracking system. This also allows editors to do screen edits: i.e. we can't change any of the graphical elements, but we can still edit text ourselves even after its been laid out in something like Quark. This is great when you have to do someting like shorten an article by 5 lines to make it fit the available space: it's something only an editor can do, and it saves having to have us stand over the shoulder of a layour person.
  • by pohl (872) * on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:30AM (#13835080) Homepage
    After living through the 1988-2003 years where the media bias was pro-Microsoft, it's nice to have a new media darling. I'm sure it as more to do with the profit potential for investors than anything else, of course.
  • by MosesJones (55544) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:30AM (#13835081) Homepage

    Decides that writers are all using Macs, are biased and of course must be wrong.... because they have no frame of reference unlike himself who works for a magazine that talks of Windows Vista as being the second coming.

    Hello Pot... have you met kettle?
  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:31AM (#13835087) Homepage Journal

    This reality is not going to change. In fact it will only get worse as technology coverage is handed to newer, less-qualified observers who simply cannot use a Microsoft Windows computer.

    Perhaps these happy Mac users are former Windows users? Dvorak is going on a limb by assuming they're techo-illiterates who haven't used Windows.
    • by Boone^ (151057) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:50AM (#13835281)
      I'd like to consider myself very technically astute given my educational background and career as an electrical engineer, and after buying an iMac G5 (first mac unless you count my folks' IIe clone back in the Elementary school days) I loved it so much I replaced my Compaq notebook with a Powerbook a few months later. Let's not confuse ease of use with power, especially considering under Apple's pretty face lies a powerful Unix subsystem. I'll say it again: OS X is what Linux on the Desktop aspires to be.
    • by angusmci (850386) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @10:45AM (#13835825) Homepage

      Dvorak has always been a fairly clueless commentator, but lately he seems to have been exceeding his previous best efforts. This is in line with his recent 'misses the point entirely' would-be hatchet-job on Creative Commons.

      Dvorak is too old an industry hand not to know how things work. Quite aside from whatever Apple's doing behind the scenes to encourage people to write about them (or encourage editors to demand stories on Apple), there's the fact that Apple is currently The Story. They've turned their business and their stock price around, they have a charismatic leader (Jobs) and a charismatic product (iPod), and they're aggressively rolling out new products which can be expected to sell well. Whether you want to write an "It can't last" or a "Apple is unstoppable" story, there's lots of material for even the laziest journo to work with. Whereas most journalists realize that writing a "Vista still isn't close to being ready, but it'll be really wonderful when it is." story looks a little ridiculous. ("Still not king. [livejournal.com]")

      It's worth remembering that not so long ago, Apple was getting a lot of coverage and none of it was good. I've always wondered how much of the Apple crisis of the '90s that nearly sunk the company before His Steveness came riding to the rescue was actually caused by the negative coverage they got, and how much of that negative coverage was 'encouraged' by certain interested parties (no names, no pack drill). If I'm right that a certain amount of that coverage was the product of someone whispering in the shell-like ears of the industry editors that they might like to run a few more "Apple is doomed" stories, then presumably those same someones will be back when Vista is good and ready, and we'll see nothing but "Microsoft triumphant" and "Vista changes the future of humanity" stories for six solid months.

      Coverage has everything to do with what the editors decide is The Story this week. It has nothing to do with today's journalists being Apple-centric because (unlike John "Manly Man" Dvorak) they're too wimpish to go mano-a-mano with a balky Windows box and don't know what real computing is. Nice try, John, but you're still talking rubbish.

    • In fact it will only get worse as technology coverage is handed to newer, less-qualified observers who simply cannot use a Microsoft Windows computer.

      Heh. Now there's an argument the WinMedia didn't use against Linux. I'm not sure it speaks well of Windows though.

      Meanwhile, some of the Unix sysadmins I know have recently switched to a Mac.

      Therefore, if the non-technological end of the market goes to Apple because they 'simply cannot use a Microsoft Windows computer' and the tech-savvy are running Linux
  • Bias (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Minupla (62455) <minupla@gmailNETBSD.com minus bsd> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:31AM (#13835088) Homepage Journal
    Let's see, the author uses windows and is therefore microsoft biased. Should he declare this inbuilt bias in every column?

    The vast majority of the world has a Microsoft bias (myself included, sadly, tho I have an offsetting Unix bias as well :))

    Since MS users are trained to handle an overly obtuse interface, we find Apple interfaces simplistic and limiting.

    Min
  • by rlthomps-1 (545290) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:32AM (#13835099) Homepage
    Not meant to be a troll, but what splashy and cool stuff that's appealing to the public has Microsoft done lately outside of the XBOX 360 that might merit some coverage?
  • by ravenspear (756059) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:33AM (#13835110)
    Several analysts pointed out that John C Dvorak might not be fully qualified to analyze Apple either due to his prolific tendency to spew forth useless garbage completely devoid of any logic or insightful content.
  • I'm not trying to be a troll or flamebait at all, but it seems to me that Apple is guilty of a lot of the same stuff Microsoft is, but gets away with it because they're the underdog (or the Apple-cult phenomenon). I mean, how many non-techie Mac users have anything except Adobe or Apple software on their systems? iTunes, iChat, iPhoto, Safari? Microsoft's got a horizontal monopoly, but it looks like Apple's going for the vertical monopoly.
    • Re:Mac bashing? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by I confirm I'm not a (720413) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:48AM (#13835255) Journal

      Microsoft's got a horizontal monopoly, but it looks like Apple's going for the vertical monopoly.

      There's nothing wrong with operating a monopoly per se - and in the Microsoft case the problem was never with Microsoft being a monopoly - the DoJ case was brought because it was alleged that Microsoft had abused its monolpoly position.

      In other words, wake me up not when Apple have a monolpoly, but when they start abusing their monolpoly position.

      • by daBass (56811) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @10:36AM (#13835737)
        They already seem to be doing that. They are abusing their near-monopoly position in the online music market and the victims of that are the poor record company executives and share holders.

        By refusing to increase the price of songs and albums on the iTunes Music Store, these people now have a hard time scraping a living and feeding their children.

        I think it is time for the DoJ to step in and end this unfair business practice.
    • Re:Mac bashing? (Score:3, Interesting)

      I do; I use Firefox, Thunderbird, NeoOffice, Adium and Colloquy, and a big-ass pile of command-line apps courtesey of Fink (which has the Debian nature). Of course, I'm also a long-time Linux and *BSD user.

      I also use iTunes, becuase honestly, it does two things that I want -- plays MP3s and keeps my iPod synced, and otherwise doesn't irritate me or inundate me with ads.

      I'll probably choose to use Photoshop, because Gimp (and MacGimp) are limited to 8-bits-per-pixel and have crap for color management.

      Why ar
  • Ugh. Of course MS won't get coverage if it doesn't do anything actually newsworthy -- but if it does, it will. Note how long it's been since XP came out (the service packs in fact get -much- more coverage than the free updates to OS X) and how much buzz there's been recently over Vista.

    Also behold E3, one of MS' few opportunities to introduce cool new hardware like Apple does every five minutes.
  • John Dvorak Filter (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tassleman (66753) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:34AM (#13835124) Homepage
    I would like to use this opportunity to humbly request a new Article filter - a John Dvorak Filter. There's no reason to give this hack a moment of my time.
    • instead... (Score:3, Funny)

      by SuperBanana (662181)
      I would like to use this opportunity to humbly request a new Article filter - a John Dvorak Filter.

      Eh, just read a different columnist. I'm a big fan of Bob Qwerty, he seems to have his head screwed on right.

      *runs for cover*

  • Oh, please. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sg3000 (87992) * <[moc.cam] [ta] [cilbup_gs]> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:34AM (#13835126)
    > According to John Dvorak of PC Mag, no one seems to point out the
    > connection between the skewed coverage and the existence of this peculiar
    >conflict of interest based on the national writers' use of Macs.

    So Mac users are biased and have a conflict of interest, while Microsoft users don't? That's ridiculous to suggest that someone can't be objective if they use a particular platform.

    I knew that person who used to accuse me of being platform-biased since I use a Mac. I ignored it until once I responded to him, "Look, I purchased Microsoft Office, I purchased Microsoft Windows to work with Virtual PC. I have no problems using Windows, Linux, or whatever. I even own Microsoft stock. How much Microsoft stuff do I have to own for you to considered me unbiased?"

    > From the article: "This reality is not going to change. In fact it will only get
    > worse as technology coverage is handed to newer, less-qualified observers
    > who simply cannot use a Microsoft Windows computer.

    Dvorak's just trying to troll. Dvorak admitted years ago that he trolled for responses: calling the iBook a makeup case (1999), writing articles about fake dreams ("In my dream, Jobs was in line at a movie theater with Bill Gates..." from 1998), and my favorite,
    Folks, the Mac platform is through--totally--and this may be the last, if not the next to last, Mac show. (January 1, 1998)

    He's just doing it again. Moreover, he's claiming "bias" without suitable proof -- and the burden of proof on Dvorak is a lot greater than "I could list 50". Hey, John, if you really think your fellow columns and analysts are biased, then name names. But waving around your secret list in order to troll is silly.

    Crying bias! is just Dvorak's way of crying for help.
  • Perhaps... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SpasticThinker (892651) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:35AM (#13835129)
    The article does go on to say that many editors use macs, which would be one good reason why coverage would be a little more pronounced. But the fact that Apple makes a few products (their own) for a few systems (their own, for the most part) helps some too, I think. People are used to seeing innovation from Apple - products that at the very least look sleek and stylish, and in the best cases do amazing things as well.

    The "press" is human as well, and I would find it hard to fault them for acting that way. To sum it up - a company that generally has interesting media events has another coming up. Wouldn't you be inclined to pay attention?
  • MS Day ???? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MajorDick (735308) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:35AM (#13835131)
    Is this Bill's Birthday or something ?
    5 MS Stories on Slashdot homepage, many looking like marketing speak

    Slashdot hire a MS PR Guy as of late ?
  • Of course... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pubjames (468013) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:35AM (#13835132)

    This says a lot.

    People who write about technology are going to know a lot about it, and so they are going to be in a better informed position to choose what is best because they have both seen a lot of technology and thought about it a lot. They choose Macs.

    Dvorak writes for a Windows magazine...
  • I'll save those complaints for a future gripe session.

    Good indications that a story is not worth your time:
    1. It ends with the above quote

    Is it just not possible to post a story without invective? Can we not have stories that are not "gripe sessions" or full of "complaints"? What happened to "news for nerds, stuff that matters"? Gripe sessions and complaints are not news. This story had so much potential to be good, but, like so much in the media (especially sports reporting), a good story is rui
  • Unsurprising (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gooru (592512) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:37AM (#13835157)
    The bias for Apple is clearly obvious (full disclosure: I'm a Machead). However, look back at the early 90s when Apple was clearly not doing as well. It's not like media coverage was overwhelmingly in favor of Apple then. Was it that Apple made interesting products that caused media coverage or media coverage that caused Apple to make interesting products? I think it's the former. I remember reading/seeing good coverage in favor of Microsoft when it came out with Windows 95, Internet Explorer, and the XBox. What have they done since then that's all that interesting or even good? Until they come out with products that are as interesting as their milestones in the past, they're not going to get good media coverage. My point is that you're essentially missing what the cause is and what the effect is. No matter what, there will be bias, but look beyond that, and you'll see that the coverage itself has merit.
  • by stelmach (894192) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:38AM (#13835164) Homepage
    Dvorak's 1984 view of the Mac

    "The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a 'mouse'. There is no evidence that people want to use these things."

    enough said
    • I kind of like this one
      Once in a while the system will go into an idle mode, requiring from five minutes to half an hour to unwind. It's weird, and I almost always have to reboot. When I hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete, I see that the System Idle Process is hogging all the resources and chewing up 95 percent of the processor's cycles.
    • But everyone uses the Dvorak keyboard...

      I seem to remember the top letters being S T F U N E W B... Dvorak was ahead of his time.
      • Actually, it's a common misconception that John C. Dvorak was the creator of the Dvorak keyboard. The Dvorak keyboard layout was actually invented in the 1930s by August Dvorak, an educational psychologist and distant relation to the composer Antonin Dvorak.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:39AM (#13835175) Homepage
    According to John Dvorak of PC Mag, no one seems to point out the connection between the skewed coverage and the existence of this peculiar conflict of interest based on the national writers' use of Macs.

    Hmmm.... so people who like Macintoshes enough to use them should be disqualified from voicing their opinions because they've demonstrated a preference for Macs? Any possibility that, you know, they use Macs for good reason?

    This reality is not going to change. In fact it will only get worse as technology coverage is handed to newer, less-qualified observers who simply cannot use a Microsoft Windows computer. With no Microsoft-centric frame of reference, Microsoft cannot look good.

    Ok, so, I think I'm beginning to understand. You need some genius-level technical prowess to get a Windows computer to work, so as coverage is turned over to normal people, they're bound to prefer Macintoshes. Without being Microsoft-biased, Microsoft cannot look good.

    The company essentially brought this on itself with various PR and marketing policies that discouraged knowledgeable coverage.

    Huh? Which company? Apple? So Apple "brought this on themselves", the 'this' being good press, by various marketing/PR policies? In other words, their marketing/PR is effective? Is that a criticism?

    Or does he mean Microsoft brought it on themselves by marketing with FUD? And finally...

    He feels the newsroom editors are generally so out of touch that they can't see this bias and are also Mac users.

    From the news I see, I'd say editors are generally so out of touch that they can't see any of their biases. Or else they're paid off by their advertisers, as PC Magazine seems to be.

    • I RTFA (Score:5, Funny)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @10:11AM (#13835494) Homepage
      There are entire newsrooms, such as the one at Forbes, that consist entirely of Macintoshes. Apparently nobody but me finds this weird.

      Why would that be weird? Is it weird if the entire newsroom were Microsoft Machines? Would it be weird if they were all Dells?

      I often confront these guys with this assertion, and they, to a man (I've never confronted a female reporter about this),

      Wait... I just need to stop here. Why do we care if he's ever asked a woman? Ok, forget it, let's go back...

      I often confront these guys with this assertion, and they, to a man (I've never confronted a female reporter about this), all say that they use a Mac "because it is better." Right. And that attitude doesn't affect coverage now, does it?

      Yeah, so when a tech columnist sits down to write an article about new/cool technology (sort of their job), they choose to write about the technology that they, as professionals, believe to be "better". Yeah, I'm still completely failing to see the problem here.

      Microsoft should make some headway with this biased crowd once the fanciful Xbox 360 arrives. It's got a creative GUI, is easy to use and navigate, and kind of has a Mac look to it. It also interfaces perfectly with the iPod. "Oh golly gee whiz wow!" And that feature alone will be the clincher.

      If he's so utterly unbiased, why does he care so much when Microsoft will 'get their due'. And, well, yes, it's been a while since a release of Windows or Office, so releasing their first major product in several years will probably get them into tech columns. Having a great GUI and the ability to interface with the most popular MP3 player around certainly won't hurt. So... what's all the whining about?

      Go off-topic with John C. Dvorak

      Oh, he's not just off-topic, he's irrelevant, and apparently a bit out of his mind as well.

  • by geddes (533463) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:40AM (#13835179)
    Whenever Steve Jobs shows all those media quotes at his keynotes praising apple products, there is always one from the new york times, and the writer is always David Pouge. He is highly qualified to write articles on the Mac beat, he used to edit macworld (I think, or was it macuser) and he wrote Macs for Dummies and many other books. He is probably the most extreme example of what DVORAK is talking about. But, his articles are generally good, they aren't fan-boy by any strech, he explains why the apple experience is better for the end user, but he does often have a lot of complaints about apple products. Now, I work in a newsroom myself, for a very small newspaper, we are mac based. Every time somebody new comes on they are like "Oh, I don't get macs" and spend the first couple weeks complaining about them, but within a year, 90% of them have bought Macs for themselves, after experiencing OS X, they want it for themselves. It makes sense to me that editors would have no problem with pro-apple articles, nor should they. Yes, they use macs, but they use them for a reason: they are better.
  • Ease of use? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:40AM (#13835183) Homepage Journal
    In fact it will only get worse as technology coverage is handed to newer, less-qualified observers who simply cannot use a Microsoft Windows computer.

    But I thought Windows was supposed to be easy to use... Perhaps Dvorak is right, and everyone who isn't a CS major should give up Windows and switch to Macs.
    Good idea, John!

  • by WombatControl (74685) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:44AM (#13835215)

    Dvorak didn't just jump the shark with this one, he did a backflip, danced on its snout, and drank a tall glass of Microsoft Kool-Aid while doing it...

    First of all, "it will only get worse as technology coverage is handed to newer, less-qualified observers who simply cannot use a Microsoft Windows computer"? Is Dvorak really insinuating that only the elite use Windows these days? I mean, c'mon, by virtual of nothing less than market share Windows is used by the vast majority of people who still wonder what that cup holder thingy is supposed to do. Mac users by and large tend to be infinitely more technically astute than Windows users. His argument as as asinine as it comes here.

    The fact is that Macintosh has undoubtedly attracted a large following with members of the media. Dvorak's essential thesis is right on the money. Time might as well be a division of Apple's PR department. Walter Mossberg gives glowing reviews to anything Apple. David Pogue at The New York Times tends to be a big Apple booster as well. Apple users are known for their fanatical devotion to the brand, and Apple has a lot more mindshare in the media industry than Microsoft.

    The problem with Dvorak's article is that it takes a good argument and turns it into a piece with all the coherency and logic of a USENET troll. Let's face it, at least Apple boosters are part of the in crowd. People who continually make such ad hominem excuses for the fact that Microsoft is losing mindshare at a massive rate end up looking like a bunch of crochety Kool-Aid guzzlers. Yes, Apple has a disproportionate influence in the media, but its hard to argue with the fact that much of it is due to the fact that they make a better set of products and they work harder to ensure customer loyalty than Microsoft.

  • by myspys (204685) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:44AM (#13835219) Homepage
    "This reality is not going to change. In fact it will only get worse as technology coverage is handed to newer, less-qualified observers who simply cannot use a Microsoft Windows computer."

    doesn't that, sort of, imply that windows is too difficult to, you know, use?
  • by dlefavor (725930) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:45AM (#13835228)
    I think it was Wilt Chamberlain who said, "Nobody roots for Goliath".
  • Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Erwos (553607) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:46AM (#13835234)
    Someone (here?) recently made a very convincing argument that journalists consistently give light-and-thin laptops much better ratings (on average) than heavier notebooks, even though the two are really for two different things. Why? Because all journalists seem to have roughly the same usage pattern - cart laptop around on plane, use it to take notes at the conference, post stories from hotel room using WiFi, and so forth. Thus, journalists need a smaller laptop, and thus give them better reviews, but unfairly bash larger ones as being inadequate. They are - but only if you're a journalist who's running around all the time. A college student who just wants something he can leave on his dorm room desk, but easily take home on break, is probably going to prefer a larger, more powerful notebook or DTR.

    I'm not sure if this is as true for Macs, but it probably enters the equation somehow. If the writer says "I would never give up my Mac for anything, and I hate Microsoft and Linux even if they were better, yada yada", there's certainly some emotional bias involved, and they should probably think twice about their journalistic integrity before submitting the review for publication. Certainly the _editors_ should be concerned about the reputation of their publication.

    Ideally, a computer review shouldn't be just one person's thoughts on it - they would have a team of three or four people (the gamer, the journalist, the businessman, the IT guy) that each post their own thoughts on how the computer performs for them, and how well it meets their expectations given cost. They should be reasonably open-minded about different operating systems, and also be skilled with all of them (not as hard as it sounds, really).

    -Erwos
    • Re:Maybe (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)
      Someone (here?) recently made a very convincing argument that journalists consistently give light-and-thin laptops much better ratings (on average) than heavier notebooks, even though the two are really for two different things. Why? Because all journalists seem to have roughly the same usage pattern - cart laptop around on plane, use it to take notes at the conference, post stories from hotel room using WiFi, and so forth. Thus, journalists need a smaller laptop, and thus give them better reviews, but unfa
  • by gordguide (307383) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:47AM (#13835247)
    Good one. I'm still ROTFL. Made my day. Hey, that's a good one. Gotta love it. Good going. A winner.

    Umm, all the PC Magazines are published and printed with Macs, and always have been. Doesn't stop them from writing about Microsoft, the x86PC, or any of that stuff. A lot of ads for PCs, PC gear, PC software, etc are laid up on Macs. Doesn't stop them from selling PC gear.

    What's changed is the company and it's products (Apple); in particular the iPod. In fact, the player is really the one responsible; everyone, including PC users, seems to have bought one and that's what's creating the buzz. Before the iPod, people kind-of-sort-of knew there was probably a difference but didn't really pay attention. Now, they are curious and the media simply reflects that by talking about it more (a lot more).

    Is it only me who noticed that Dvorak is writing about Macs in an article about too much Mac coverage?
  • by frankie (91710) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:53AM (#13835307) Journal
    ...in the /. homepage preferences [slashdot.org] so we can turn it OFF and never hear from that senile troll [pcmag.com] again.

    It has been patently obvious for years now that Dvorak [google.com] is intentionally caustic to generate banner ad impressions on his web column. DON'T FEED THE TROLLS.

  • by Enahs (1606) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:54AM (#13835322) Journal
    When the Dvorak Reality Distortion Field is fully engaged, it's possible to rail on other members of the press for bias while ignoring your own.
  • by Vo0k (760020) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @09:56AM (#13835342) Journal
    It's a natural bias. Media Writers use apple. And Media Writers are biased towards Media Writers. Just as there are so many movies about movies, how the content of the Internet is biased towards computers, how so much Hip-Hop is about making Hip-Hop, how journalists make a sensational news from a journalist being assaulted. Just see such rage from journalists if, say, laws of a farmer get broken that way!

    It's a natural bias, that authors of given media are creating works about their media. And since media writers use macs, they write about macs. Nothing strange here.
  • Give me a break (Score:5, Insightful)

    by snowwrestler (896305) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @10:02AM (#13835405)
    Maybe tech writers use Macs because they are attuned to the details of technology, and they have a budget to buy them.

    Apple gets a lot of coverage right now because a) they have new products to cover right now, b) they have a history of important innovation, c) they are one of the largest computer makers in the world, and d) they are succeeding at a strategy that all computer makers are trying--transitioning to a large consumer electronics company.
  • by demonlapin (527802) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @10:03AM (#13835417) Homepage Journal
    So, if you're a big-name tech reviewer - i.e., you pay for none of your own gear - you have a preference for stylishly designed, high-end equipment? Who woulda thunk it?
  • Am I the only guy who remembers the time period when you were hard pressed to find an Apple-related article that didn't include the word "beleaguered" to describe the company? The same time period when (IIRC) a MacWorld columnist named John Dvorak pronounced the platform dead and went over to the other side?

    Journalists prefer Macs now because Apple has gotten their shit together since the advent of OS X and the iPod, and has been putting out good stuff. The journalists have found modern Macs usable enough to try them out for longer periods of time, and have found that they like what they're seeing. Historically, people who have a decent amount of experience* with both platforms overwhelmingly prefer Macs.

    ~Philly

    * "Decent amount of experience" = Having done actual work on a Mac, not spent 5 minutes playing around with a one in an Apple Store before prnouncing it 'lame' or 'stupid' and going home to their 'leet gaming rig.
  • Makes sense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by katorga (623930) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @10:24AM (#13835608)
    Dvorak's comments make sense to me. Apple is the flashy, style, radical, celebrity, hype, media focus's tech company, and the meticulously cultivate that image. Microsoft is the grey cubicle, work 60 hours a week, flyover country tech company. I associate Apple with "looking cool", and the PC world with "work". Its probably because I have had PC's at almost every job I've hard. We've all had jobs with aging, nasty, dustbunny PCs performing some menial function. You rarely if ever see Mac's in that role unless you are in the publishing/marketing world.

  • by anothy (83176) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @10:25AM (#13835622) Homepage
    Am i the only one who thought this was totally backwards? I no longer pay much attention to mainstream news, but i've seen countless stories about viruses, trojans, system failures stranding US Navy ships, and so on, never with any mention of the fact that these problems are specific to Microsoft platforms. I can see some argument that in the case of things like ship navigation computers failing, the general public doesn't really care what OS the thing was running (i don't really believe that argument, but i think it could be made with a straight face). But the fact that end users could protect their home computer from the very threat that stories about viruses and the like are reporting on is directly relevant to the story at hand for the general public. The fact that i've never heard this mentioned at least suggests the existence of a pro-Microsoft bias in the stories.
  • by catdevnull (531283) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @10:31AM (#13835692)
    Considering the source, so what? Dvorak does nothing but trash Apple. Everyone of his articles is Microsoft slanted. He's basically a MS Fanboy who probably gets paid well on the side by MS to say nice things.

    After years of Dvorak's predictions of doom and gloom about the demise of beleagured Apple, he's probably just pissed that his predictions weren't only wrong, but that Apple's enjoying some success. So he does what everyone else does--blame it on the media.

    go Astros!
  • Some corollaries (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brunellus (875635) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @10:33AM (#13835702) Homepage

    If one's choice of hardware and operating system play such a key role in determining their journalistic bias, then it might usefully be argued that journalists and newsrooms that use Microsoft software running on Intel hardware would find it impossible to view Apple software & hardware in a positive light.

    If this is so, then it might also explain the second-banannadom that Apple has suffered over the years. Mod me down if you like, O Macolytes, but part of the fervency of your devotion is that, for many years, you have gotten short shrift in the press, in the form of constant ruminations of Apple's imminent collapse. At best, Apple was damned with faint praise.

    Personally, I think the present fuss has more to do with Apple's absolutely killer marketing and branding, which far surpass anything that the competition has yet been able to muster up. Their Stalinist level of control over everything--software, hardware, accessories, look, feel, heft, etc--has given their products a very consistent look across all lines. Even the name "Apple," is technical, nonthreatening, and cuddly.

  • by Dracolytch (714699) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @10:43AM (#13835805) Homepage
    Ok, I'm a PC user, always have been. I like the idea of Macs, but I'm a gamer, so I have PCs. With that in mind...

    So what he's saying is that mac writers are biased towards the benefit of Apple... They have Apple computers, they use Apple computers, they like Apple computers, and so they write about Apple in a positive way.

    Now, think about the bias of windows users. They have Windows, they use Windows, they hate Windows, they write about Microsoft in a negative way (or not at all).

    This is not just about bias because Apple computers are what people happen to use at the time. This is bias because Apple has created a product that its users appreciate. This is why Apple is in a position right now where its products are almost universally lauded, while Microsoft's are often reviled. The media reflects this.

    It's Microsoft not living up to peoples' expectations, while Apple gives them a superior experience (and the people are glad for it). So yes, I guess you could say that people are biased towards getting what they want.

    As far as I'm concerned it's not bias, it's karma.

    ~D
  • by tm2b (42473) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @11:05AM (#13836036) Journal
    It's good to see that he's keeping with the times. This is the same argument that the neocons use to galvinize their base.

    Just like the oh-so-threatened christians out there, the PC users are being oppressed by the nasty minority! Woe is them! Oh, the humanity! The unjustness of it all!

    How dare this minority continue to exist and, worse, be noticed!
  • by nekoniku (183821) <justicek&comcast,net> on Thursday October 20, 2005 @11:27AM (#13836258) Homepage
    ...just makes me want to THROW A CHAIR!!!
  • by Warlock7 (531656) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @12:08PM (#13836736)
    I'd like to see some hard evidence that supports his claims. He says: "...today's newspaper and magazine tech writers know little about computers and are all Mac users. It's a fact."

    But in typical Dvorak fashion, provides no evidence to support his positions. Where are the hard numbers that he based his conclusions on? There aren't any, because he pulls his supposed "facts" out his ass and presents them to the world. Typical Dvorak BS.

    "...90 percent of the mainstream writers being Mac users..." --- Support your facts John. Where'd you get your numbers?

    "I could list 50." -- So, then there's only 55 newspaper and magazine tech writers in the media? What a load of crap.
  • Beleaguered No More. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bug-Y2K (126658) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @02:38PM (#13838113) Homepage
    Journalists are just sheep. They behave as a herd, but there are always a few black ones.

    A decade ago, about one decade after the launch of the Macintosh, virtually EVERY mention of Apple by the press attached the adjective "beleaguered" to the word "Apple." It was as if the press had universally decided to change the name of the company to "Beleaguered Apple Computer Inc." They spoke in glowing terms about such industry darlings as Gateway and Compaq. (heh) Mr. Dvorak, who spent a stint as a columnist at MacUser magazine in the Mac's first peak years ('88-'94), followed the herd and became the tech journalism's leading Apple-basher. He, more than any other industry pundit took it to the logical extreme and repeatedly pronounced Apple dead. Or near dead. Or almost nearly kind of dead. Over, and over and over again.

    Now, Jobs has managed to turn Apple around, and make it into an industry leader once again. Mr. Dvorak's favorite monopolists have become the General Motors of the tech industry (read: bland, predictable, flawed, and boring - producing pablum with zero innovation or appeal.) The herd is all flocking to Apple now. Big deal.

    Now Dvorak has stopped writing anything particularly useful, and his just become a industry gadfly; saying stupid things to piss people off. He hasn't stopped beating this anti-Apple drum for the past 10 years. Why? It gets him attention. That is all. He has decided to just be a black sheep. Same herd, just a different coat. Just because.

    The thing that is odd, is that in some ways he was right. Apple is dead. The old, Performa/Quadra/Michael Spindler/John Sculley/Pink/Taligent/Copland Apple is dead. The Apple of today is nothing like the Apple of a decade ago. Nothing. Thank Jobs.

    The technology journalists aren't "biased" they are just praising a set of quality products from a quality company. The fact that they actually USE the products isn't a bias, it just is.

    --chuck

  • Apple's Back! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pistis (772065) on Thursday October 20, 2005 @03:31PM (#13838560)
    This article by Dvorak represents something of a huge milestone for Apple. It was just a few years ago that the media was all over Apple - in a bad way! Everything that you read about Apple indicated that it was a sinking ship (or already sunk). I was at Apple's World Wide Developer's Conf. just after Jobs came back to Apple, and he said that step #1 for Apple was to stop the bad press (which he admitted was well deserved). Step #2 to empower developers (gotta say that at a WWDC), and step #3 was to produce great products. He's been sticking to the plan. The bad press slowed down, then for a couple of years you didn't hear anything about Apple in the press (most thought they had gone away). Now Dvorak has confirmed that they're back - in a big way. It's been an amazing turnaround!! If I recall, Dvorak was one of the ones in the media leading the charge in smearing the Apple - only difference between now and then is that back then he had lots of company and he was lov'n it. Now he's pretty much alone, so all he can do is whine.

What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite. -- Bertrand Russell, "Skeptical Essays", 1928

Working...