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Business Insider Buzz Cuts Sources on iPhone 6 HairGate

The weekend’s stupid Business Insider story using a 9to5Mac community post for a news story about iPhone 6 “HairGate” boiled my blood. So mad, on Sunday, I drafted, but didn’t post, KickStarter pitch for site “Journalism? What the Fuck?”; in August I registered domain journalism.wtf.

Seeing the story, I tweeted: “Get a buzz cut. Problem solved”. Followup: ‘If I got 5 people to post on some forum that #iPhone6 smelled like a urinal some blog would write about stinkgate. Stop the insanity!” The buzz cutting here is one of sources, or lack of any that are credible. 

The Register’s response to the Business Insider story is, as always, brilliant. I couldn’t do better than this: “Apple’s iPhone 6 can REVERSE BALDNESS (and cause it, too)“. Writer Jasper Hamill observes, based on tweet profile pics from people complaining about iPhone 6 hair rips: “Now it has emerged that a number of bald men have claimed the new iPhone 6 Plus has ripped hairs from their fur-free noggins. Seeing as they don’t appear to have any hair up there, we can only assume Apple has managed to create new ones—a truly impressive achievement”.

Yesterday, I posted a link to The Reg story on Google+, which started a discussion between Scott Wilson and myself. His responses say something about news consumer perceptions, while mine reveal much about what I consider to be responsible reporting.

Scott: It pulls hair out because of gaps in the seam. It’s an aspect of the design. Pretending it doesn’t matter is just as bad as blowing it out of proportion. I’m disgusted at the folks apologizing for Apple, and pretending design flaws don’t matter because Apple says so. It’s like watching Fox News pundits shout “benghazi!”.

Joe: Who says the device pulls out hair? I have no problems, and anyone using a case wouldn’t either.

Scott: Users are reporting the device is pulling hair out. Are they all liars?

Joe: Says who? Based on what credible sourcing?

Scott: Who cares? Seriously. Why do we have to defend Apple as default when they screw up? The Apple double standard is getting very very old. They don’t deserve the special treatment. They aren’t any prettier or any smarter than the other tech companies that would get railed on hard for the same offenses. Great marketing does not excuse incompetence.

Here’s one of the folks you are calling liars in your zeal to defend Apple: Chad Coleman.

Joe: My job is all about accurate reporting. So I do care.

Scott: You are working from the assumption that something that was reported as happening from folks that reported it happening aren’t telling the truth. There was no inaccuracy in the story that 9to5 Mac did, or the story Business Insider did. Zero. So I’m not sure what you could be taking issue with, unless it’s the fact they reported on it at all.

Joe: Right, that they reported at all is my problem. Posts on a single forum is not source enough. You don’t know who these people are or why they’re posting. What if it’s a prank or people out to get Apple? The sourcing is irresponsible so the stories are irresponsible.

Situation is different if the writers directly contact the people reporting this problem, which, by the way, sounds totally bogus. The seam pulls out hair? That means the case and glass aren’t sealed tightly—and, what, no professional reviewer or tear-down specialist saw this when evaluating iPhone 6? Any responsible story would quote an industrial designer with direct experience with iPhone 6 or authority like iFixIt.

Scott: Really. Hundreds of reviewers were provided with iPhone 5’s. NOT ONE reported on the Apple Maps issue. So I’m sorry. All you are proving is how biased Apple reviews are.

Joe: No disrespect, but in what alternate universe do you reside? Apple Maps was such a huge scandal the name is a joke for many.

My colleague Wayne Williams reviewed Apple Maps, for example.

This from Mashable in September 2012: “The consensus is in: Since its official debut yesterday, Apple Maps has been nearly universally heralded as a disaster”.

That’s my recollection, too. “No one reported?” Evidence. Show me evidence. If you want to be taken seriously, give credible references when making sweeping generalizations. Please.

Scott: None taken. I thought it might be obvious I was talking about the “friends of Apple” that get units for review a week early. We didn’t hear about Maps until users started complaining.

Joe: “Friends of Apple” is a sweet description. 🙂

Photo Credit: Steve Snodgrass

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