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NYT Exposes the Identity of Fake Steve Jobs 166

Posted by Zonk
from the hard-to-be-anonymous-if-someone-is-determined dept.
mattatwork writes "NY Times writer Brad Stone figured out the real identity of Fake Steve Jobs. With classic nick names like 'freetards' and 'beastmaster' Fake Steve captured an audience of 700,000 visitors to the site and around 50 emails a day. According to Daniel Lyons, the senior editor at Forbes magazine who maintained the blog, there is no definite plan for the future of the site. 'Mr. Lyons said he invented the Fake Steve character last year, when a small group of chief executives turned bloggers attracted some media attention. He noticed that they rarely spoke candidly. "I thought, wouldn't it be funny if a C.E.O. kept a blog that really told you what he thought? That was the gist of it." Mr. Lyons says he recalled trying out the voices of several chief executives before settling on the colorful Apple co-founder. He twice tried to relinquish the blog, but started again after being deluged by fans e-mailing to ask why Fake Steve had disappeared.'"
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NYT Exposes the Identity of Fake Steve Jobs

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  • by Scoria (264473) <slashmail.initialized@org> on Sunday August 05, 2007 @08:52PM (#20126465) Homepage
    Now, if only we could get those investigative journalists of yours to apply their talent where it really makes a difference...
  • by twitter (104583) on Sunday August 05, 2007 @09:04PM (#20126533) Homepage Journal

    Now, if only we could get those investigative journalists of yours to apply their talent where it really makes a difference...

    Or if Daniel Lyons and Forbes could really understand technical issues and provide informed reporting instead of tired satire. Really, this guy's bad attitude comes across in his day job too.

  • Re:Darn. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 05, 2007 @09:40PM (#20126717)
    Forbes.com [forbes.com]:

    "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs," a satirical blog about Apple's iconic chief executive and purporting to be penned by him, will be published in association with Forbes.com starting Aug. 6.
    I'm not sure if this was as much an unmasking as it was a well-timed publicity stunt.
  • by jacoplane (78110) on Sunday August 05, 2007 @10:04PM (#20126829) Homepage Journal
    Seriously, hearing that the New York Times would actually allow their reporters to investigate this story makes me really sad. Is the Times turning into NBC Dateline?

    We have Pakistan (our ally) collaborating with the Taliban [indianexpress.com], there are Over 20 million displaced homeless [npr.org] due to floods in India, and let's not mention the hypocrisy of the government at home.

    If The New York Times feels that this is a worthy exercise for their investigative reporters.... what has the world come to. Rupert Murdoch owns the WSJ, and I think that everyone knows that Murdoch can't keep his fingers out of the editorial pages of any newspaper he runs. There is hope, however. There are still investigative journalists worth reading out there, here's one: Seymour Hersh [wikipedia.org]
  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday August 05, 2007 @10:07PM (#20126841)
    I suspect this was more an unveiling than a discovery. Notice in TFA:

    In October, Da Capo Press will publish his satirical novel written in the voice of the Fake Steve character, "Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, a Parody."
    He'll be actively courting publicity now.
  • by Wordsmith (183749) on Sunday August 05, 2007 @10:20PM (#20126901) Homepage
    Oh please. The NYT does a whole range of things, from fluff to hard-hitting international journalism - from book reviews to government exposes, from quirky coverage of Adult Swim's Star Wars Project to insider political reporting. The diversity of coverage is part of what makes it a strong paper.

    That its did this says nothing about the quality of its coverage of other items. You can't look at every use of a resource as wasteful just because it's not devoted to the single most important item of the day; the breadth of coverage is important too.
  • by KingSkippus (799657) * on Sunday August 05, 2007 @10:56PM (#20127041) Homepage Journal

    You do know that the New York Times has more than one reporter, right? And that it's possible for them to write stories on silly little things like this and still cover the Taliban, homeless, floods, and government? Oh, and even give us a nifty new crossword every day?

  • Re:Solved? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Sunday August 05, 2007 @11:19PM (#20127127) Journal
    Yeah, barring some miracle, it's over.

    I feel a bit pissed at the NYT for spoiling the party, but I guess it was going to get spoiled sooner or later, and if not the NYT, then some other rag. The race was on.

    I pretty much can't stand Mr. Lyons as a journalist, but as a parody SJ he was awesome. Thanks for the lulz, Dan. You'll always be FSJ in our hearts.
  • Dan Lyons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by snowwrestler (896305) on Sunday August 05, 2007 @11:19PM (#20127129)
    I wonder how many /. readers are going to look at the FSJ posts about "freetards" in a different light now that they know it was Dan Lyons behind the keyboard? This is not a guy who has been well-received on Slashdot in the past.
  • by dbIII (701233) on Monday August 06, 2007 @12:05AM (#20127285)
    Lyons did push a bit too far. For example his personal attack on PJ from Groklaw is overstepping the bounds, isn't relevant to the "character", most of his audience would have never heard of her previously and it was not remotely funny or on topic - just a rant. Since he's no longer anonymous he has to cop the criticism and loss of reputation like any other "satirist" paticularly if it is self serving - but would or should anybody really sue?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 06, 2007 @12:29AM (#20127343)
    Has anyone, like, emailed him to see what happens? asseen _at_ gmail _dot_ com
  • by vought (160908) on Monday August 06, 2007 @01:04AM (#20127473)
    We have Pakistan (our ally) collaborating with the Taliban [indianexpress.com], there are Over 20 million displaced homeless [npr.org] due to floods in India, and let's not mention the hypocrisy of the government at home.
    If The New York Times feels that this is a worthy exercise for their investigative reporters....


    Maybe it's the only kind of investigative reporting that they can do these days without being arrested.

    Don't scoff - Bush himself went on a rampage after the NYTimes outed his little "go around the courts" wiretapping program.
  • by foo fighter (151863) on Monday August 06, 2007 @01:35AM (#20127601) Homepage
    Please post some citations for your serious accusations.

    Your statements are as libelous as what you accuse Lyons of, if they are not true.

    Weaselly posts like this modded up to +5 are why I rarely read /. anymore.
  • by dbIII (701233) on Monday August 06, 2007 @01:47AM (#20127645)

    We have Pakistan (our ally) collaborating with the Taliban

    That was old news in 1999. The Taliban are what happens when the kids that grow up in brutal refugee camps back over the border from Pakistan and come home to turn the entire country into a brutal refugee camp. The links are very deep to different factions in Pakistan - but you can't blame the entire country for it. Other allies such as Algeria get up to far nastier things.

    When it comes down to it this article probably only needed a few hours of investigation - the guy went after PJ from Groklaw in a pretty obvious and nasty way which narrowed it down to him or the Amityville horror girl.

  • by 1u3hr (530656) on Monday August 06, 2007 @07:23AM (#20128835)
    Well, Bill Clinton has a much higher profile than Steve Jobs, outside the geek world. Publicity before a book comes out may be necessary to convince bookshops to order it in quantity.
  • by Rayonic (462789) on Monday August 06, 2007 @08:16AM (#20129197) Homepage Journal

    There are still investigative journalists worth reading out there, here's one: Seymour Hersh

    You've got to be kidding. Perhaps you can find some good journalism there, underneath all the bile, slant, and anonymous sources.

    He had one big story, and has been trying to recapture the magic ever since.
  • Re:Dan Lyons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Monday August 06, 2007 @10:40AM (#20130697) Journal
    You're not suggesting that The Secret Diary is professional journalism, are you? Or are you suggesting that a person can only do one job? Once you work as a journalist, you are not allowed to engage in any other sort of work? Help me out here. I want to assume that you're intelligent and not, uh, you know, free . . . =)

    And other than the abusive language, what fault do you find with his reasoning? Perhaps you find the name calling so offensive that you don't even want to try and decipher his point. Fair enough. Shall I put it into less offensive language? FSJ's contention is that it is whining to complain that MS is undercutting Linux by charging $3 for a copy of Windows and Office because Linux is free as in beer.

    [Steven J. Vaughan Nichols] says Microsoft is "dumping products on the market at far below cost." Um, is that not exactly what Linux vendors have been doing? Enabled by rich subsidies from IBM and other hardware players? And has it not occurred to you that the reason IBM pumped one billion dollars (visualize pinkie in corner of Palmisano's mouth) into Linux was precisely so that it could force Microsoft to cut prices on Windows and thereby choke off Microsoft's oxygen supply?
    Whether or not you agree with the argument, you should admit that it's at least a plausible line of thinking. I don't believe anyone thinks that IBM is supporting Linux and using Linux because they're really nice guys.

    I can understand being turned off by the name calling. If someone is engaging in personal attacks, likely as not, I'll ignore them. But I don't think you should take these attacks personally. I don't take it personally when he makes fun of Mac users, like when he pointed out that they're the sort of people who would pay an extra $500 for something shiny white. But whatever. It's not for me to say how you should feel about someone calling your tribe names.

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