Last Friday, a story reverberated around that Apple was retaliating against the New York Times for a series of articles the NYT ran about Apple’s supply chain practices.(I know the story well because I helped reverberate it.)
The story was based on a post by Erik Wemple of the Washington Post, who talked to one New York Times staffer who was sure that retaliation was what was going on:
“They are playing access journalism … I’ve heard it from people inside Apple: They said, ‘look, you guys are going to get less access based on the iEconomy series.'”
The specific Apple retaliation measures initially cited were twofold:
- Apple’s decision to give an exclusive interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook to the Wall Street Journal instead of the New York Times, and
- An apparent quasi-snub of NYT gadget god David Pogue who was said to not have gotten the same access to Apple executives as other reviewers of Apple new operating system
Shortly after the kerfluffle hit the web, however, Pogue weighed in to say that he HAD gotten access to the same Apple executives as other reviewers.
So then the theory became that Apple had been shrewd enough to target its retaliation at the New York Times’ news desk–the folks who had produced the Apple supply chain stories–rather than at the New York Times in general. This seemed logical given how much excellent press David Pogue generally gives Apple’s products and how many Apple products he helps sell.
(No one has ever accused Apple of being stupid.)
But now, in response to our questions, two NYT staffers have told us on background that they have not seen any evidence of retaliation and that they think that the whole retaliation story is a crock:
Times reporters talk to Apple people all the time about many different stories. The access we get hasn’t changed. Companies give interviews to different publications all the time. Everybody in the news business knows and understands that. I really have no complaints. Really.
I don’t think there’s any kind of retaliation… The Times has had plenty of exclusive Jobs interviews, for example, and nobody ran stories about how Apple was “retaliating” against the WSJ or anyone else.
In other words, in the opinion of a couple of folks within the Times, the NYT staffer who complained to WaPo’s Erik Wemple was just whining (or, worse, making excuses for not landing the Cook interview).
This, it bears noting, was the suspicion of our Jay Yarow to begin with.
(Having gotten retaliated against frequently as a Wall Street analyst, I found the retaliation story perfectly plausible. But perhaps Apple is above that sort of thing.)
So, which is it, NYT news desk? Is Apple retaliating against you? Or are you just whining and making excuses? Please let us know…