Op-Ed
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Common sense, journalism, and thinking for yourself.

Let's see: how is the main stream press doing vis-a-vis Apple and the Mac?

Last year, Apple was going to be history. Hasta la vista, baby. The press was advising everyone to bail out.

Um: wrong. (I, on the other hand, was encouraging my readers to hang in there; to even take advantage of the supposed down-turn. You could have bought Apple at 13 and sold at 38, as I did, following my own advice. OK, I'm done patting myself on the back now.)

Apple is still in the top half of the Fortune 500. Never left it. What? Did you -really- think an $8 to $16 billion a year company was just going to dry up and blow away?

And the "reporters" who write about the Mac! Jeeze: they are so incredibly wrong 90% of the time, that it amazes me they still have jobs (no pun.)

I've seen 'em swear that the Mac can't run two programs at once. That you use the Control key for short-cuts. A 1998 article that Apple was falling behind because it couldn't deliver Copland (which was canceled in 1996.)

That the Macintosh has been discontinued! (Really!) That Apple was being purchased by Sun, IBM, Oracle, Disney, et al. That Apple will sell QuickTime to Microsoft. That Microsoft's $150 million investment "saved" the company (yeah: like a compay with $1.6 Billion needs $150 million...)

That "Columbus" (the iMac, the world's fastest selling computer) will be a television set-top box for playing games.

That you can add new instructions to the ROM chip "if you do it just right." (I'm not making this up!)

That Apple is building Pentium-based compters. Apple should abandon the Mac OS and buy up Be, Inc. It's the only chance they have of surviving.

And on and on. Who's doing it? The Wall Street Journal; Fortune Magazine; The Boston Globe; The San Jose Mercury News. Really. Every one of the wrong assertions above came from one of these 'reputable' sources.

What's more, the authors of some of these pieces have vested financial interests in seeing Apple fail! Stewart Alsop owns part of the Be Corp.; Jim Carlton wrote a book concluding that Apple would fail (which won't be selling well if he publishes the truth about how the company is succeeding.)

But here's the real rub: these folks aren't journalists.

I was raised by a father who was. A journalist; a professor of journalism. A man of the Ed Murrow get-it-right school. Check the facts. Research. Be as objective as possible.

You know: a real reporter.

Journalism today is sliding to hell in a handbasket. Rumors are reported as fact. Press releases are accepted as gospel. Sensationalism is the story.

The rampant inaccuracies of the world of Mac reporting are only one example.

So what is the problem?

Simple:

I'm in it for the money.

It's easier to just publish press releases and stories stolen from other media than it is to actually research and write a new one.

I believe the regular press (television, magazines and news papers) about as much as I trust a total stranger on a street corner. If I hear something that interests me, I research it myself, to see if it's true.

For example, did you hear the one in early December, 1998 about Oracle and Sun producing a "revolutionary new computer that has no operating system?"

Crock of crap. First, I've got a Mac with no operating system...when it's turned off.

No computer can operate without an operating system.

Period.

It would just sit there like a lump on a log, or a Mac, turned off.

Turns out that it's a computer that uses the Oracle database system to do its OS work. Not a full blown OS, to be sure, but an OS nontheless.

Well, this "revolutionary" story was picked up and carried around the world, as if it were some amazing new invention.

Folks, you're getting conned by these faux journalists...

...just like the folks who bought the revolutionary! new! faux pearls.

"Faux" is French for "false."

Think of it when you think "journalist" as well.

The responsibility to be well informed is yours, not some "journalists."

In the mean time, find someone you trust to tell you the truth.

Like yourself.