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Are Media Writers Biased Towards Apple?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the i-only-have-one-apple-computer dept.

Microsoft 747

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."

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747 comments

On another note... (-1, Offtopic)

simgod (563459) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835063)

Openoffice 2.0 Final has just been released...

did I get it? (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835064)

fp?

If it bleeds it leads (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13835066)

Hey, guess what, the media covers celebrities way more than non-celebrities too. If Gates does something interesting, that deserves coverage, but majority != coverage when it comes to media darlings.

Re:If it bleeds it leads (0)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835135)

Hey, guess what, the media covers celebrities way more than non-celebrities too. If Gates does something interesting, that deserves coverage, but majority != coverage when it comes to media darlings.

Hate to tell you this, but for the rest of the world, Jobs isn't a celebrity.

Ya think? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13835067)

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

Don't worry, I will post this anon.

What about slashdot? (1)

cflorio (604840) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835068)

Can the same be said for editors/readers of slashdot? .... broadcasting from an Apple Dual G5

Re:What about slashdot? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13835221)

Oh, definately. Or at least a frothingly anti Microsoft bias to the point where it's difficult to get any sense out of anyone as soon as M$ (see what I did there?) is mentioned.

It's not Slashdots finest quality.

Re:What about slashdot? (2, Insightful)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835241)

"Can the same be said for editors/readers of slashdot?"

No, Apple takes a close second to Google on slashdot. I swear not a day goes by without some story about one of these 2 companies. Even this one is a sort of meta-story about apple stories. Really quite useless, but here it is just because it has "Apple" in the title.

Human Nature (4, Insightful)

dsginter (104154) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835071)

Umm... Isn't it human nature to root for the underdog? Good vs. Evil? Et cetera?

Re:Human Nature (4, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835154)

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 (2, Insightful)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835292)

Well, until the iPod Apple had a long history of introducing 'new' gadgets, which were basically stylised rehashes of PC equipment. Even the Ipod isn't an innovation, but its a slickly packaged device whose usability trumped its competitors.

Apple gets credit for doing interesting things, but a minor change in Dell's lineup will see many more customers and far more sales. So which one is really newsworthy?

It's hard to root for the so-called "underdog" ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13835220)

when the "underdog" sleeps with the enemy. [com.com]

Re:Human Nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13835279)

Since when has Evil been the underdog?

Re:Human Nature (1)

Alranor (472986) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835285)

Isn't it human nature to root for the underdog? Good vs. Evil?

It certainly seems that Good is currently a definite underdog to Evil, but i'd like to think i'd still be rooting for Good should it ever actually take the upper hand ...

HA! (5, Insightful)

RedSteve (690399) | more than 8 years ago | (#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! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13835121)

Mod parent UP!

Yes.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13835077)

...they are.

that's a refreshing change (2, Interesting)

pohl (872) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835080)

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.

So bloke writing for a Windows Mag... (5, Insightful)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835081)


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?

The end is nigh... (1)

miknight (642270) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835082)

The pendulum is swinging....

Dvorak whines again. (4, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835087)


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.

Re:Dvorak whines again. (5, Interesting)

Boone^ (151057) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Bias (2, Interesting)

Minupla (62455) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835088)

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

what hasn't been covered? (4, Insightful)

rlthomps-1 (545290) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835099)

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?

Re:what hasn't been covered? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13835196)

Oh, I don't, know, maybe the new OS they're planning on releasing next year called Windows Vista? Perhaps? The new Internet Explorer? The new Windows Media Player? The new Hotmail? The new MSN Search?

The fact that you think that there is nothing to report on clearly demonstrates that there IS a bias. Microsoft is putting out a lot of new, cool technologies. Unfortunately you haven't heard of them because everyone's talking about the "video iPod".

Re:what hasn't been covered? (2, Insightful)

Hrodvitnir (101283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835266)

The problem isn't news outlets. It's the fact that none of those Microsoft technologies fit in a credit card sized piece of shiny plastic.

Re:what hasn't been covered? (5, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835268)

And how much of this did we already hear about last year? And the year before that?

Vista is so slow coming out the gates, I expect it to ship with Nukem. No one cares about MSN search because we have google. As most admins, I associate hotmail with spam. A new windows media player is nothing to celebrate: Why would we? It's like they achieved all the functionality you might need at about 6, and from there on out it's been all about adding bloat. IE: It's starting to play feature catchup with firefox, hardly news.

So none of this is really news, and most of it is old garbage.

Re:what hasn't been covered? (1)

Buzz_Litebeer (539463) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835289)

All of those things have been done by others. Vista isnt exciting because it doesnt bring anything NEW to the table that cant be done with moderate interface changes that wont require a 2 gig upgrade for your Ram.

The browser is litterally COPYING another browser that was copying opera.

The media player? You can find a media player specifically tailored to your tastes, and it will work just fine and be nicely skinned. What are they going to do... make it more skinnable? WTF?

Hotmail? I got Gmail ;_) People already can get most of what they want, and HOTMAIL has been covered.

MSN Search hmmm, I think I will google info on that, it might be interesting.

In Other News... (4, Funny)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:In Other News... (5, Funny)

karnifex (724937) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835212)

prolific tendency to spew forth useless garbage completely devoid of any logic or insightful content.

He is, however, perfectly and innately qualified to speak about Windows.

Re:In Other News... (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835235)

That's not funny, it's insightful (and accurate).

Mac bashing? (1)

phlegmofdiscontent (459470) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835115)

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? (1)

RedSteve (690399) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835236)

I'll bet most non-techie Mac users have at least these items on their systems:

  • Microsoft (!) Word
  • Microsoft (!) Entourage
  • Microsoft (!) Excel
  • Microsoft (!) PowerPoint
  • Microsoft (!) IE

The primary difference I see between Apple and Microsoft is that Apple develops productivity and utility apps to protect against Microsoft yanking their products -- or at least give Mac users options for similar software that is not (inadvertantly or intentionally) hobbled versions of the Windows versions. There is no other explanation for Pages, Keynote, or Safari.

The other thing you'll notice about Apple's software offerings is that they are not aggressively attacking their competitors in order to bring more users in house with their software. In fact, Apple often touts the fact that you CAN run the main Office apps on their machines. When was the last time Redmond ever advertised someone else's word processor as a feature?

Re:Mac bashing? (4, Insightful)

I confirm I'm not a (720413) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835255)

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.

Re:Mac bashing? (2, Interesting)

Hiro Antagonist (310179) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835282)

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 are all these important?

Because I choose to use them. There are alternatives, to varying degrees, but overall, the stuff that comes bundled with OS X is all quite usable, unlike the crap that comes bundled with Windows. When you buy a Mac, you get a tabbed browser based on the Gecko engine, a decent mail application that can support PGP, and an OS that can talk to just about any type of service -- AFS, NFS, SMB, you name it.

Re:Mac bashing? (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835283)

" I mean, how many non-techie Mac users have anything except Adobe or Apple software on their systems?"

Well in my experience, about 90% of them have Microsoft Office installed, plus heaps of shareware/freeware

Bias? (-1, Offtopic)

kajoob (62237) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835116)

So what happens when the overwhelming majority of journalists working for a network are members of the Democratic party?

Re:Bias? (0)

kff322 (752112) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835251)

So what happens when the overwhelming majority of journalists working for a network are members of the Republican party?<br>
So what happens when the overwhelming majority of journalists working for a network are members of the Independent party?<br>
So what happens when the overwhelming majority of journalists working for a network are members of the Green party?<br>
So what happens when the overwhelming majority of journalists working for a network are members of the Sharpton party?

Dvorak, I consider you my archdioc^H^H^H^Hnemesis. (2, Insightful)

NTiOzymandias (753325) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835117)

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.

Re:Dvorak, I consider you my archdioc^H^H^H^Hnemes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13835171)

Um...last time I checked Apple's "service packs" were quite expensive.

Re:Dvorak, I consider you my archdioc^H^H^H^Hnemes (1)

Hrvat (307784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835174)

Not to sound pro-M$, but Microsoft is primarily a software shop. Sure they make keyboards, mice and now X-Box, but mostly it's software. Microsoft doesn't have to go around touting the new hyperthreaded chip or whatnot. Intel does that.

Re:Dvorak, I consider you my archdioc^H^H^H^Hnemes (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835265)

They get plenty of coverage every time a new IE vuln is exposed. Does that count?

John Dvorak Filter (5, Interesting)

Tassleman (66753) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835124)

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.

Cannot draw conclusion (1)

omyar_hunt (727576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835125)

You can't draw that conclusion from the fact that Apple users feel no pain when they first use the machine. Windows causes pain, OS dosen't. If journalists (the ultimate end user with the power to change trends) don't complain about it, it's a good product in my opinion. Get them in front of a windows desktop and see how long it is before MS is brought to it's knees by bad press.

Oh, please. (5, Insightful)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 8 years ago | (#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... (5, Insightful)

SpasticThinker (892651) | more than 8 years ago | (#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 ???? (4, Funny)

MajorDick (735308) | more than 8 years ago | (#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... (4, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#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...

Gripe session (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835134)

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 ruined by childish presentation.

Dvorak: You suck! (1)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835137)

And your keyboard sucks as well! So there!

John D = Big Yawn (1)

BlackSeal (772960) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835140)

Not surprised. It's no different than a liberal columist complaining about the medias "vast right wing conspiracy".

Well, you said it first buddy. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13835143)

Quote: "With no Microsoft-centric frame of reference, Microsoft cannot look good."

Well, you said it first buddy.

That said, I don't see a bias, its simply the fact that Apple are releasing a lot of new, interesting and highly popular products lately, while Microsoft simply aren't. Just wait until Longhorn or the XBox 360 are released, and you'll see that the big media will cover Microsoft's products just as eagerly.

Re:Well, you said it first buddy. (1)

Hrvat (307784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835211)

Longhorn? Man, that will be out the same year Duke Nukem Forever comes out.... ;-)

People write about what they are enthusiastic (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835145)

about. And honestly, how many "enthusiastic" windows users do you know? Not to knock the capabilities of windows, it does a certain job, and admittedly does serve some niches very well. However, I know a lot of computer users, and I know of Linux enthusiasts, Mac enthusiast, even an BeOS enthusiast, but I have NEVER met a windows enthusiast who isn't making money off of Microsoft or supporting their stuff.....Honestly it just doesn't offer much to get excited about.

Re:People write about what they are enthusiastic (3, Insightful)

KrancHammer (416371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835260)

And honestly, how many "enthusiastic" windows users do you know?

I think I know the answer as to why there are not more "enthusiastic" windows users. It's not strictly because of a lack of material to be excited about. The prevailing geek culture absolutely prevents it. The prevailing culture is so biased, yes biased, against Microsoft that anybody claiming to be a MS enthusiast in not-so-proverbially booed off the proverbial stage. I am not being a troll, and I am not claiming at all that at least part of that bias is justified, I am just saying that's the way the wind blows. And most geeks are no less susceptible to cultural pressure than anybody else... maybe even more susceptible.

And those who have Macs (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835146)

And those who have Macs also experience the irritating crashes of MS Word the lack of support from MS beyond Office. Examples are an outdated Internet Explorer, no Access database or Publisher, etc. when others send you those proprietary documents and say all you have to do is to install them from your Office CD, those writers feel and see the MS push for vendor lock-in.

So ... (1)

Brutal_One (682848) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835150)

If you look for bias you'll find bias. The editors of Car and Driver/Autoweek/etc. all have to drive some car to and from work, maybe that means they're biased when they drive a Hyundai. The point is, if you keep looking for an excuse, you'll find one. Caveat emptor.

John Dvorak gets ... (1)

jeepmeister (241971) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835151)

...no spam.

Hey, that's fair... (1)

smalljs (896225) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835155)

Everyone who bashed the Mac has never even used one. Tons of Windows users hate Microsoft. At least it's good to know that the people who gush over their own computer are Mac users. Hmmm... what could that mean???

Unsurprising (2, Insightful)

gooru (592512) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Unsurprising (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835214)

The bias for Apple

Is it bias? Apple are on a roll at the moment, they're coming out with great new products very frequently. If that is reported in the press then is it bias?

If Microsoft was doing the same they would get lots of press too, possibly more (you just wait until Vista launches)...

How about... (1)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835161)

Apple bias?

And what if the Tech Reporters are simply doing their job well, testing all alternatives, and decicing that, as far as they are concerned Apple offers the best platform for their money?

As far as I am concerned, I'd rather trust a reporter who has done his/her job and decided to buy a Mac, than Mr Dvorak, or the countless drones that go on and on about how wonderful Windows Vista is going to be when it's released.

Oh, sorry, that's right, it is a Dvorak article. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along. Carry on.

My Favorite Dvorak Quote (5, Funny)

stelmach (894192) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835164)

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

Less-qualified (1)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835166)

"less-qualified observers who simply cannot use a Microsoft Windows computer"

This just cracks me up. We are talking about technology journalists here.

Looks to me like Dvorak is the dumbass to me, not the people he is criticising.

stock price alone justifies coverage. (1)

flaming-opus (8186) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835173)

Apple is more than a computer company. Ride the train someday and count the little-white earbuds. Ipods are becoming as ubiquitous as cell phones. While IBM, HP, and Microsoft are turning microchips and source code into corporate/industrial tools (you know, exciting, like a forklift, or a conference room), Apple has been turning chips and code into a lifestyle. How many people buy magazines about fashion, about sexy-looking cars, about rock and role? Next Question: how many people buy magazines about high efficiency diesel generators?

Gee, I wonder why apple gets some attention.

Just from the write up (RTFA later) (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835175)

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.

Well, David Pouge used to edit MacWorld (4, Insightful)

geddes (533463) | more than 8 years ago | (#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? (2, Insightful)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835183)

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!

Windows on the World (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835187)

"With no Microsoft-centric frame of reference, Microsoft cannot look good."

In other words, if you're not already on board, you reject Microsoft. If Microsoft's SW were better than Apple's, Mac users would look on in envy, not superiority. When that has been the case, they have. Dvorak is just a projecting Microsoft chauvinist who can't admit that Microsoft SW looks bad when people have an alternative. Interesting that he is able to accidentally admit that when he thinks he's saying something quite different.

Unlike Slashdot (1)

MWelchUK (585458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835191)

Current main page:

5 Microsoft related articles.

1(this one) Apple related article.

They *picked* macs, though (1)

astrashe (7452) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835192)

We have two data points. First, the writing seems to be slanted in favor of Apple (I don't know if that's true, but I'l concede it here). Second, the big tech writers are using Apples (again, I'll take his word on that).

Dvorak says that there must be a causal relationship between those two factors -- because the tech writers use Apples, they tend to root for Apple.

It's more reasonable to assume that both of those data points correlate because they were both caused by the same thing -- namely, that people who know what they're doing and have options would rather run Macs. Maybe the tech writers see everything, and choose to run Macs because they like them better. And maybe what they write reflects that.

Cause or effect? (1)

codemangler (811903) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835193)

So Dvorak's saying that tech writers say Macs are better because they use Macs, not that tech writers use Macs because they think Macs are better?

An interesting analogy (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835195)

"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...."

Think about the "observers" who only know how to use MS Windows, and are presented with the task of writing an article about Linux on the desktop. To paraphrase the article, "With no Linux-centric frame of reference, Linux cannot look good" under those circumstances.

Now I Recall That Content Filter I Meant to Write (1)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835197)

This content filter of mine is very simple, yet I have never gotten around to writing it. It would look for the keywords "John Dvorak" and "Apple" or "Mac" and simply block indiscriminately every page fitting the description. I would proceed to sell it as donationware for $5 USD and make a mint from the generosity of fellow Mac users who also cannot stand the continual drivel emanating from the keyboard of John C. Dvorak. For, try as I may, I can never bring myself to treat his worthless flame-bait missives merely as pieces of humor. Of course, to my chagrin, his "Apple to make Intel PCs" prediction finally came to pass. I suppose, as Sam Sneed quipped, "the sun shines on a dog's tail sometimes."

Holy Cripes! (1)

Koiu Lpoi (632570) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835198)

Microsoft gets bad press coverage for something other than bad coding and evil buisness practices! Film at 11!

Yep. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13835208)

...and so is Slashdot.

testing (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835210)

This is only a test, be not afraid.

Yeah... sure (1)

Bin_jammin (684517) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835213)

Microsoft doesn't get any press when they release a new patch measured in a matter of hours, not months. It's all the media's fault that Apple gets all the good press. It's got nothing to do with being an underdog company, with miniscule market share, that has pulled itself out of debt and has started building and selling products that can be instantly identified as Apple products. Apple has a good game plan, and it shows in what they do. I've seen bad press on the Nano flaws, and god knows nobody likes the ROKR. I wonder if Dvorak would feel the same way, back about 22 years or so. Hmmmm Microsoft gets all the good press, why is it Big ol' IBM can't get any good press these days? Dvorak, go back to living under your rock, you're much more fun when you're the village idiot.

Whisky Tango Foxtrot (4, Insightful)

WombatControl (74685) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Is it an anti-microsoft rant (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835216)

I'm confused. I see clever turns of phrase all the time, and spins on topics, that excite the crowd on slashdot, but this does not seem to be it.

To me it points out two things.

1)People with a pulse on whats happening choose macs.
2)It says windows is harder to use than a mac

I just don't get it

Uhm. (1)

TyroneShoe (912878) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835218)

When did Dvorak become such a douchebag? Like Microsoft has anything to worry about?

windows == difficult to use? (4, Insightful)

myspys (204685) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835219)

"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?

The upperdog ain't getting no love. (2, Insightful)

dlefavor (725930) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835228)

I think it was Wilt Chamberlain who said, "Nobody roots for Goliath".

Maybe (4, Insightful)

Erwos (553607) | more than 8 years ago | (#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

John Dvorak is a Known PC Troll (1)

schmidt349 (690948) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835239)

Guys, it really shouldn't surprise you to learn that our friend Mr. Dvorak has a long, tired tradition of bashing Apple whenever the opportunity arises. A brief history:

  • He predicted that the iMac (the original!) would be an utter flop.
  • In 1999, he decried the original iBook (remember the clamshell thingy?) as being effeminate and that no "real man would use one.
  • In 2001, he wrote that the decline in overall computer sales was because they weren't "fun" anymore, and that Apple was responsible. He had a really skewed line of logic that went something like this: DOS is fun (yay disk compression corruption!), Apple killed DOS, and therefore Apple killed the fun in computers.
  • He has been predicting an Apple switch to x86 since the early 90s. Granted, this is now happening, but it wasn't even planned in 1996 when he first suggested it. Oh, and for a while he thought Apple would switch to Itanium. Yeah, we all know how well that worked out.

Anyway, you really ought to take anything the guy says with a saltshaker.

John Dvorak is an idiot (2, Informative)

Moderator (189749) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835240)

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.

As opposed to the current "qualified" observers who cannot be bothered to use anything besides a Windows computer? Maybe like you, John, who admitted that you didn't understand Creative Commons [pcmag.com] , and therefore it must be worthless. Or saying that large hard drive storage only serves as a replacement for the VCR [pcmag.com] . Or that the PC has become bland, boring [pcmag.com] , useless? Maybe it has, if your nose is stuck up the ass of Microsoft.

If it's anything different from the current "Microsoft can do no wrong" mainstream press, I'm all for it. The real question should be can PC Magazine survive?

Dvorak is an assclown (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13835245)

After reading John C. Dvorak's stuff for over a decade (my dad used to subcribe to PC Magazine when I was a kid), the only trend I've accurately noticed is his penchant for self-indulgent snarky writing.

Wow! 3 Pro-Microsoft rants on front page in a row! (2, Insightful)

Symphonix (901135) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835246)

I guess Zonk can't possibly be accused of being biased towards Apple. Two stories in a row on the front page stating that the media are being "unfair" to Microsoft by covering Apple's highly popular and successful product launches over the last few weeks like the video iPod, iPod Nano, iSight & remote control equipped iMacs, Quad-core PowerMac, new PowerBooks, "Aperture" Pro-photo software, iTunes video store ... all released in the last 14 days.

I guess Zonk thinks the media should be reporting on all of Microsoft's great product releases over the last couple of weeks. Like ... umm ... err ...

I'm sure it'll be different when Longhorn or XBox 360 are released, and we'll see that these "horribly biased" media companies report on Microsoft. And when the Playstation 3 comes out, the media will report on Sony. It's only to be expected. Reporting on new products that are likely to make a HUGE market impact is a sensible thing for a tech writer to do, and right now Apple's innovation machine is in overdrive.

Second funniest Slashdot topic of all time. (3, Insightful)

gordguide (307383) | more than 8 years ago | (#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?

Bias? (0)

hotspotbloc (767418) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835250)

Saying a good tech writer is biased towards Apple is like saying your average person is biased towards clean drinking water that doesn't cause dysentery. Any writer that prefers MS Windows over Mac OS X for daily tasks should be suspect of mental defect.

Who cares? (1)

countach (534280) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835252)

Who cares? Anything that mitigates the Microsoft monopoly, is a good thing. If MS has 90% of the market, does that mean that we want to hear about MS 90% of the time?? NO!!!

I think... (1)

VirtualWolf (159946) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835256)

...the entire article needs to be modded -1, Troll.

What a load of shit.

End the bias!! (1)

Zacchaeus (649629) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835258)

End the bias: Media writers must use Underwood manual typewriters. Or IBM Selectric.

Oh, and does John Dvorak still do that column with seemingly-random bolding? He should get his ctrl-B key fixed!

I'm not so sure (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835259)

Honestly when I first read the article I thought it seemed plausable, but the more I think about it the less sure I am. What I really think causes the coverage of Apple is the constant stream of new products, MS really hasn't released anything new or different in many years... even Vista really isn't different enough for the average person to care.

Apple times its releases at specific times and as such ensures coverage at intervals throughout the year. I think it is actually a result of the fact that Apple is a Consumer Electronics/OS/Hardware manufacturer that gives it three times the coverage of other companies which only are in one or two markets.

Or.... (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835263)

Apple really is a kickass company worthy of praise for constantly pushing the envelope in a relatively stagnant electronics industry. And no, I don't own anything from Apple, but I wish I did.

John's One True Voice (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835272)

From TFA: "As big and as important as Microsoft is, the coverage of the company is quite mediocre. This is particularly true in the mainstream press. The reason for this is that today's newspaper and magazine tech writers know little about computers and are all Mac users."

No, John, the reason for the coverage being mediocre is because Microsoft has been spewing nothing but mediocre products for the past several years. There is no innovation coming out of Redmond anymore - they're just circling the wagons.

I wonder..... (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835276)

I'll start out with some wild speculation.

1) Have these people ALWAYS been mac users? If not, then I think that in itself speaks highly of the platform
2) Quark XPress and other layout programs commonly used in the publishing industry have traditionally been mac applications.
3) less-qualified observers who simply cannot use a Microsoft Windows computer are less likely going to be biased twoard microsoft. If they find it troublesome to learn windows due to crashes & viruses, then they're pretty representative of the general population. Nobody's bashing on Dvorak because he can't write code in SPARC assembler -- giving him a firm anti-Sun bias of course.
4) A writer for the windows-centric PC Magazine is quite possibly the least qualified person to make these accusations. So little journalism goes on over there anymore, that I was surprised to even hear of such an outspoken editorial.

All in all, I'm now placing Dvorak down there with Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Tim O'Reilly, and Jack Thompson.

Tech Writers cannot use Windows machines (1)

Randomize (317997) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835280)

Let's not forget that NY Times' David Pogues has written a whole book on using Windows XP, so he is probably able to use a Win PC ... and to compare between Windows and Mac OS.

Apple is doomed... (1)

bidule (173941) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835288)

and anybody who says otherwise shows bias.

I think he has a bridge to sell too.

Too Much (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 8 years ago | (#13835293)

Come on guys, we've just had a flamefest yesterday (quad G5s), and one this morning (Vista and WMP 11 are awesome OMGLOL!!!) I don't think she can take it any more capt'n!

Let's settle this now (yeah, right):
OS X is not perfect. Apple is not perfect.
Out of the box, XP is not as secure, efficient or intuitive as OS X.
WMP is not as useful as iTunes.
OS X has a more stable process and memory management and scheduling than XP

The only people who bitch about the high cost of MacMinis are whiny babies, who would bitch if Minis shipped with a blonde virgin, stating that they prefer brunettes.

What else. iPods are not as versatile as some other players out there, but they are very well integrated with software.

What else, I dunno.
Oh yeah, games.
What do I care, I got a used gamecube for 50 bucks and unplugged my windows box from the network...
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