This story is kinda like those stories that your family saves until you’re 18. You know the ones … where they finally tell you where Weird Old Uncle Harold went for 5-to-10 years, and for what.
The columnist who wrote this, Michael Malone, has a sig that dubs him the "Boswell of Silicon Valley." It’s about how Apple is suing to get the names of the confidential sources that trash-talked the latest Cupertino brainstorm ("I know! Let’s make the iPods a different color!" – and BTW, does anyone else out there start to feel like Apple is into Act II of "The Hudsucker Proxy" where the nitwit’s one invention, the hula hoop, is starting to get a bit stale and he’s scrambling to find ways to make it look like he’s got other big ideas … ? Like extra-large hula hoops for fat people and noisy hula hoops for the blind, etc.).
Having been through this ugly, sordid process, I can say that I would not wish it on anyone. It sucks. Having rapacious opposing counsel not only grilling you (and they can ask pretty much anything they damn well please, and you have to answer) but then going on to dig up your sources and start to put them to the question … man, it is never a good thing. But as a blogger? Without a big corporation to foot the legal bills and stand behind you with the E&O insurance to pay the settlements …? It would be time to go to the Andes and take up flying the pig carcasses across the cordillera into La Paz on a rusting old DC-3.
So it was fun to read a piece from someone who has the perspective and the guts to call bullshit on Apple’s little holier-than-thou charade:
To get the most obvious out of the way first: I always find it risible that Apple Computer sues anyone. The company did, after all, start out as an essentially criminal enterprise â€” from Woz and Jobs’ shady past in the telephone hacker business to Steve Jobs’ rip-off of his partner’s payment for work at Atari to the sweatshops all over Silicon Valley that the young Apple used to stuff its early motherboards. And let’s not forget where the bit-mapping and windowing of Apple’s vaunted operating system came fromâ€¦ these days Apple produces some of the greatest consumer products on the planet, and bless them for it, but for the company to try to crush "pirates" of any sort is the height of hypocrisy.
The EFF has gotten into the act, and man, if there was ever an organization that I feel like throwing a few shekels at, it’s the EFF. More relevant than the ACLU, and their causes actually make more real-world sense to me.
At the risk of taking up too much space, I have to excerpt this, because I think that it’s genius. It states something that I myself feel/think, ever since I walked out of the newsroom and became a free lance.
So what made me a "real" journalist? That I had once been a reporter at a major daily? Well, so have a lot of today’s bloggers. Was it that I had my stories edited by newsroom professionals and published under famous mastheads? Yeah, well it’s not as if newspapers these days are showering themselves with glory over their accuracy. No, what made me a journalist was that I was working in a world where traditional media wasn’t being threatened by a whole new world of cable news, the Web and the blogosphere.
These days, the MSM is hurriedly trying to pull up the drawbridge to protect the "professionals" inside from the nonjournalists beyond the walls. But the public isn’t fooled. For all the sniffing by the MSM about bloggers in pajamas and amateur journalism, most readers have figured out they can trust the reporting of a lone blogger like Iraq the Model as much if not more than the entire news apparatus of Reuters.
The cynical lawyers at Apple are trying to capitalize on that dispute and use the ignorant courts as its weapon in the process. It is to the credit of those newspapers that they are backing O’Grady, though I suspect they’d take Apple’s side if only the threat to free speech were restricted to bloggers. As for me, I believe that Jason O’Grady is as much a real journalist as Bob Woodward or Seymour Hersh â€” though I hope he learns not to love and support any company ever again. Meanwhile, I’d say shame on Apple â€” if I thought it had any. Let’s hope the California Court of Appeals shows real wisdom next week.
Newspapers have always been fairly enlightened … Well, at least when it comes to issues of freedom of speech. They have long realized that the Biblical dictum â€˜That which you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.â€™ I am increasingly doubtful that Big Corporate, which owns the media these days, will have such an enlightened philosophy. Not that it may turn out to be a case of villany on the part of Knight-Ridder et al.; no, the shrinking budgets for papers and TV may make it so that they will be unable to mount a spirited defense against a giant. And if you still find it hard to be a hater on Apple, well, take a minute and realize that maybe next time itâ€™ll be Microsoft wanting to know who was your source on the fact that the latest version of Windows will include keyloggers and a special module that disables any machine running Firefox or Thunderbird.
So itâ€™s a big week for Apple in the courts. Theyâ€™ve got the suit against the Beatles on one hand, and this one to turn bloggers into an arm of corporate security on the other. It’s either a really good time, or a really bad time to buy their stock…