“Access journalism” — you hurl those words at a journalist/writer and you might as well punch them in the face. It's an insult that's considered so severe that I've seen people that I know and respect nearly get into physical blows over it.
The idea that journalists/writers go out of their way to say nice things about a company to ensure they keep their place at the table is a nuclear weapon. It aims right at the heart of what they most hold dear: their credibility.
This has been brought up a lot in recent years in the context of Apple. I get accused of this, everyone who says positive things about Apple gets accused of this. Never mind the fact that while these accusations have been flying, Apple has become the most successful company in the world. Doesn't matter. Bias. Falseness. Shill. YOU ARE BOUGHT AND PAID FOR.
But what about the flip side? Why does no one bitch about that? Two examples this week:
1: Microsoft Surface Just Made the MacBook Air and the iPad Look Obsolete
2: Microsoft Is the Most Exciting Company in Tech, Hands Down
Two insanely idiotic titles, if not articles. And guess what? Both were published by the same publication: Gizmodo.
You remember Gizmodo, right? Last we heard from them, they were being investigated by authorities for their role in buying a missing prototype of the iPhone 4.
After that happened, right or wrong, Apple severed ties with Gizmodo. Gizmodo was blackballed.
And since that happened, the publication has gone out of its way to say negative things about Apple — again, the most successful company in the world — because, well, what choice do they have?
They'll deny this, of course. And I'm sure they'll point to a few positive things they've written. But come on, everyone who has actually been watching the space has seen what's actually going on. They're fucking pissed off that the most important tech company has blackballed them — and rightfully pissed off, by the way — and they now go out of their way to take the contrarian stance when they can.
I get it. I really do. What I don't get is why no one calls them on this? Their stances are often nonsensical bullshit with no basis in reality. The Microsoft Surface just made the MacBook Air and the iPad look obsolete? Really? It would be an insane thing to say that an un-launched product with no release date, no price, no real app support, and which Microsoft was clearly afraid to let journalists actually play with, would harm one of those Apple products. Gizmodo is saying it will render both obsolete.
Amazingly, the other article is worse.
“Microsoft is a company reborn.” Really? Really?! That's not the feeling amongst any of the people I know who have left the company in recent months and/or those thinking about leaving. What we're seeing now is a company that knows it's in trouble. Not in the short-term — and that's important, Microsoft could coast for years on past successes — but in the long-term. And kudos to them for recognizing that. But, let's be honest: it's already too late. No one rules forever — Apple included, by the way — and Microsoft's reign is over.
What we saw this week was a total charade. It was an illusion to distract from the obvious: Apple is now the most important technology company in the world. More than that: it's the only one right now that really, truly sets the trends and the pace when it comes to both hardware and software.
To say otherwise would be foolish. But that's what Gizmodo keeps saying. Again. And again. And again.