Apparently, according to Farhad Manjoo in True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society, journalists live every day with the repercussions of the hostile media effect, where partisans view coverage through a lens that always sees it as unfair to their “side” and fail to notice aspects of the coverage that is favorable to their “side.”
It isn’t just politics that brings this out in us, it’s there with coverage of the world of Mac vs. PC. Alas, even operating systems have gone tribal. You’ve got the Apple devotees and then the people who just can’t stand the perceived snobbery of Apple devotees. David Pogue, who writes technology reviews for the New York Times, wrote a Vista review that brought out the worst in everyone.
According to Pogue: “The Mac people saw it as a rave review for Windows Vista and the Windows people saw it as a vicious slam on Windows.” Apparently Apple fans are consistently prickly about the slightest – well – slight. Over at the Wall Street Journal the technology reviewer Walt Mossberg even coined a term for this: “The Doctrine of Insufficient Adulation.”
He tells the story of a review he wrote of Apple’s iMac in 2004 which started: “I am writing these words on the most elegant desktop computer I’ve ever used, a computer that is not only uncommonly beautiful but fast and powerful, virus-free and surprisingly affordable.” He went on to write a review that included 900 words, about 70 had criticism in it. Apple loved the review so much it used it in advertisements.
But a look into Mossberg’s inbox suggests something entirely different – angry Mac-loving readers accused him of corruption, laziness, even suggested he was a sexual deviant because he had – they perceived – dissed the Mac.
Bottom line: Some Apple fans don’t really want honest opinion… they want devoted, almost religious zeal.
So next time we’re discussing the topic of liberal and conservative divisiveness, think Apple and PC and maybe the ridiculousness of where we are will be abundantly clear.
(Photo credit: jaronbass)