Snow Leopard: Pogue dodges a bullet

So the fecal matter hit the spinning blades for our good friend and loyal fanboy David Pogue (in photo above, pleasuring himself with a MacBook) this week. Today, Clark Hoyt, the “public editor” at the Times, published a piece about Pogue that basically says yeah, Pogue reviews Apple products and also writes “missing manuals” for Apple products; and yeah, this is a conflict of interest; and yeah, all of his editors are aware of this and don’t quite like it; and, so, well, um, no problem! You might recognize this defense — it’s the same one we used with the feds when they were snooping around about options backdating. Yes, it happened on my watch. Yes, the culpable parties all said that I instructed them to do what they did. Therefore, no harm no foul.

Well, we got lucky on this one. We loaned David some of our lawyers to deal with the evil fuckers at the Times. Meanwhile, Al Gore put in a call to Arthur Sulzberger, and let him know that we were really concerned about this whole situation and wanted to help in any way we could, and oh, by the way, we know how tough things are financially right now and hope you are doing okay and we want you to know we love the Times and would be lost without it and we’re so there for you, dear old friend. Our lawyers came back from the first phone call saying that the Times didn’t want to get rid of David — the paper was just desperately looking for a way to keep him on while saving face. After a few days of some tricky negotiations we got Pogue off with nothing more than a requirement that he publish a little “statement of ethics.” Ha!

The coolest thing is that Mr. Big Smartypants Clark Hoyt didn’t seem to even notice the real issue here, which isn’t simply that Pogue makes millions on Apple manuals while also reviewing our products. It’s that in this most recent case, with Snow Leopard, Pogue raved about the product and called it “Apple’s sleek upgrade,” even though he later admitted to VentureBeat that Snow Leopard was causing him to experience seriously bad issues (ie crashes, loss of data) with Photoshop and Microsoft Word. Oh, and his printer had crapped out. I have to tell you, when we saw that VentureBeat item, we all figured our pal was dead meat. Photoshop is crashing every 5 or 10 minutes? Word just blanks out? And you just failed to mention this in your Times review? (Okay, yeah, you mentioned something about “frustrating glitches” with Photoshop and Word, but left out specifics. Ahem.) In fact, instead, you told people to go out and buy the product? And now the Times reviewer is on record recommending a product that others are calling a Vista-style disaster? Well, luckily guys like Clark Hoyt and the other editors at the Times don’t read blogs, so they never saw that VentureBeat item, and hey, we weren’t going to do their jobs for them, right? (One note: Please, whatever you do, do NOT post a link to this blog item to the Times comment section, or send a link to Hoyt. Bokay?)

Anyway, we salute David Pogue. We are massively relieved that readers of the New York Times will not be deprived of his expertise. Katie says a “Lifetime Achievement Award” might be in order, and I agree. So we’ll see what we can do.