Earlier today, we covered a flare up between Steven Levy of Wired and Dan Lyons, a.k.a. Fake Steve Jobs, tech columnist at Newsweek.Over the weekend, Dan had appeared on CNN and said that Apple’s head of PR had once told Levy — who used to work at Newsweek — to pass word “to the powers that be at Newsweek that Apple wasn’t happy with the idea that they were going to hire me.”
Steven said that was totally bogus. Dan apologized to Steven, telling us that he “misspoke.”
Since then, Dan has written us back to clear up the situation further.
Dan says that while Steven did not lobby Newsweek on Apple’s behalf to stop the magazine from hiring him, Levy did tell editors at Newsweek that Apple was unhappy with Newsweek’s decision to hire Lyons.
Here’s Dan’s explanation of what really happened, which he emailed us. Here, he goes back through his notes and says that Levy DID pass along word from Apple PR that Apple was not pleased about Lyons being hired:
I made a mistake on CNN on Sunday. I said that Apple had sent word to Newsweek that they didn’t want Newsweek to hire me.
What actually happened is that the complaints from Apple happened immediately after I was hired at Newsweek, not before. This all happened two years ago and I just remembered it wrong. I made an off-the-cuff remark on the air and what I said was incorrect.
I had to go back through my email archives to piece together a timeline.
Here is what happened. My hiring was announced on June 13, 2008. But my start date wasn’t until September 2008.
On June 30, 2008, I got an email from my editor at Newsweek saying that Apple was already complaining about me being hired — before I had even started working at Newsweek.
I followed up and was told that Steven Levy had told the Business Editor at Newsweek that he (Levy) had talked to Apple PR and that Apple PR was not pleased that Newsweek had hired me.
I was bothered by this, and wrote to Apple PR on that same day, June 30, 2008, and said I’d heard they were upset about me being hired at Newsweek and could we find a way to work together.
On July 1, 2009, I wrote to Steven Levy, to find out what Apple had said to him. Later that day Steven and I talked on the phone. He confirmed that someone in Apple PR had complained to him about Newsweek hiring me.
So: Apple PR complained to Steven Levy. Steven Levy told an editor at Newsweek that Apple had complained to him. That editor told a higher-up. The higher-up told me.
I have copies of all the emails that went around at the time. And today I’ve talked to the editors involved, who all remember the same thing I did.
What I got wrong was the timing. This stuff happened just *after* I was hired, not *before.* Apple did not try to prevent Newsweek from hiring me. They just expressed displeasure that I’d been hired. And, sure enough, we have had no access at Apple since I was hired.
I regret that I got the timing wrong, and claimed Apple complained before I was hired rather than after. That’s why I apologized.
But I don’t know why Steven is now pretending that none of these conversations took place. And I don’t know why he is making such a big deal of this. All he did was pass along to an editor at Newsweek something he’d heard from Apple. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Levy emailed us with a response to Lyons, saying “Dan went on Reliable Sources and said that I intervened with my former employer Newsweek specifically on Apple’s behalf to prevent him from being hired. This was not true, and I could not let that damaging charge stand. He has since said he misspoke and has apologized. I accept his apology.”
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