The Press in the Reality Distortion Field

Gossip, rumor, rank speculation—all on the table if it's an Apple product

It’s Apple day.

Which means it’s time for the press to forget completely about its normal standards and wade neck-deep into rumors and rank speculation.

The Los Angeles Times dives in this morning with a story headlined “Rumors swirl as Apple gets set to release new products.” It’s one big weasel word story. In fact, let’s just pull all of them out here:

likely…possible…poised to…Apple watchers are predicting…some…expect…clue…much of the speculation…the blog iLounge posted images…seemed to…guesses about…possibly…some expect…but some analysts forecast…would go beyond…could be…could eventually…would view…could cut into…said he expected…could be used…expected to be finished…MacDailyNews posted an anonymously sourced item…the item did not speculate…questioned the (rumors)…may weigh against…”But who knows?”


Not a lick of hard information to be found until the fourth paragraph, when the LAT helps further the hype by telling us Apple has issued mysterious invites (as it always does with these sorts of events) featuring “a picture of an acoustic guitar with a sound hole in the shape of Apple’s distinctive logo.”

Of course, the LAT isn’t the only serious outlet engaging in such stories. Here’s ABC News, the Toronto Star, and the San Jose Mercury News. And here’s a somewhat more self-aware Wall Street Journal post. There are dozens more in Google News alone.

But frankly, I think The New York Times has it right: Radio silence. Unless you get a Gizmodo coup (UPDATE: I should clarify that I didn’t intend to endorse checkbook journalism here by calling Gizmodo’s scoop a “coup”) and find a lost iPhone prototype—or somehow crack Apple’s wall of silence—there’s really nothing to report until Steve Jobs goes on stage and works his wonders.

The press really ought to quit giving a $230 billion company all this free advertising.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.