A source close to the situation told us last night that Newsweek’s Dan Lyons (aka, Fake Steve Jobs) had been banned from CNBC for saying that CNBC reporter Jim Goldman had been “played and punked” by Apple on the Steve Jobs’ health story. We spoke to CNBC about this. The network stands behind Jim Goldman’s reporting and denies that Lyons has been banned.
According to our source close to the situation, here’s what happened last night:
After Lyons savaged Goldman on the air, CNBC’s producers were “fucking seething.” They were also angry at CNBC guest host Dennis Kneale for inviting Lyons on the show. CNBC producer Samantha Wright is said to have said, “Well, Dan Lyons will never be on CNBC again.”
CNBC did not deny that Samantha Wright may have said such a thing. The network pointed out, however, that Wright is an assistant producer and that what she said or didn’t say in the heat of the moment is irrelevant (we agree). CNBC also says that Dan Lyons immediately wrote a note to Jim Goldman and the show’s producers apologizing for “going over the line.”
We asked our source about the note. The source believes Lyons wrote it not because he felt he needed to apologise but because he wanted to take the heat off Dennis Kneale. (As you’ll see from a quote from Dan Lyons below, it does not seem he feels an apology is warranted).
In any event: CNBC says Dan Lyons is not banned. Dan Lyons reportedly believes he is banned. This argument will presumably be resolved if/when we see Dan Lyons on CNBC’s air again.
CNBC believes Jim Goldman is being unfairly trashed for blowing the Steve Jobs health story. CNBC believes, in fact, that Jim’s reporting was what forced Apple to finally stop lying to the public about Steve Jobs’ health.
Jim himself does not argue that he forced Apple’s hand. He has also now offered an explanation for not reporting earlier that two senior tech execs told him last week that Steve Jobs was very ill (in contrast to his previous stories debunking reports that Jobs’ health was deteriorating and arguing that Steve was “totally fine as far as we know“).
Goldman: I sent a very personal note to Steve Jobs about this on Monday. I didn’t hear back. I did get a call from someone at Apple asking about what it was I was working on, in relation to these executives and Jobs health status. I confided in this person that if they had read my email to Jobs, they knew what I had. I informed Apple that we were going to try to gather more information, but would like to give Apple, and Jobs, a chance to come forward to respond. That was yesterday. I wanted to give it just a little more time. Apple had to be aware that if colleagues this close to Jobs were beginning to emerge from the shadows to speak to me, chances were very good that these sources and others would be talking to others as well.
CNBC believes that Goldman’s personal note to Steve Jobs forced Apple to come clean.
We were curious what Dan Lyons thought about that, so we emailed him. Here’s what he said:
The idea that Jim Goldman’s reporting “pushed” Apple to do anything is ridiculous. Blogs kept this story alive, and Goldman (and others in MSM) acted on Apple’s behalf all along, trying to kill the story. Not only did they not report the story, they actively tried to squelch the story when others did cover it. It’s appalling.
FWIW, I’d put Markoff and Nocera at the Times in the same category. Remember Markoff’s story last summer about how “sources” told him Jobs had had surgery in the spring, but his health was good, there was nothing to worry about? And then Nocera did his stupid “off record” thing with Jobs and also reported that Jobs was fine? They both were acting as extensions of Apple’s PR arm.
It’s appalling. It’s outrageous. It’s the reason the blogosphere is taking over and the MSM is dying. Goldman got his little 10-minute “exclusives” with Jobs and in return he helped Apple tamp down a story for six months.
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