论“纽约时报”的信誉

My natural inclination is to expand every tangent, no matter how digressiveThis makes for more comprehensive, less predictable, and more interesting fireballingBut it’s also a recipe for turning 700-word ideas into 4,000-word essaysThat’d be great if I had time to write 4,000-word essays, but I don’t, so it’s not.

One such tangent that I avoided was a “but that’s not to say The New York Times is perfect” section in本周的作品arguing against the notion that Apple wouldn’t be litigating if it had been The Times rather than Think Secret that had published the same reports of upcoming Apple products.

Judging by the vociferous tone of the email I’ve received on the issue, it’s worth addressing here.

The most-publicized recent incident was the Jayson Blair scandal. Blair was a young Times reporter who, in the words ofThe New York Times’ own investigation, “fabricated comments, concocted scenes and lifted material from other newspapers and wire services; also he selected details from photographs to create [the] impression he had been somewhere or seen someone, when he had not.”

The Blair case was certainly a fiasco, but it was clearly an exception, not the norm并且有反响Blair himself, of course, was fired — and a few weeks later, the top two editors at the paper被迫辞职They didn’t know what Blair had been doing, but they should haveThe Times’ own investigation into Blair’s fraudulent reporting was exhaustive.

But while the Blair scandal was certainly embarrassing, it was nowhere near as damaging to The Times’ reputation for trustworthiness as the Judith Miller/Ahmad Chalabi situationMiller is a leading Times reporter who wrote a series of front-page articles during the run-up to the war in Iraq; her reports cited sources claiming Iraq was in possession of “weapons of mass destruction”But her main source for this information — which we now know to be false — was Ahmad Chalabi, an Iraqi exile who clearly should not have been treated as a trustworthy source.

而泰晤士报有点道歉for their pre-war coverage of Iraq, Miller was neither mentioned by name nor removed from her positionSlate媒体评论家Jack Shafer有更多on how Judith Miller continues to damage The Times’ credibility.

But no matter how serious the issues are with Miller’s reporting (and for what it’s worth, I personally feel they’re gravely serious), they’re relevant to any comparisons between The Times and Think Secret only insofar as being based on unreliable sourcesBut Think Secret’s legal troubles don’t stem from its numerousaccurate reports; they’re in trouble over stories that were spot-on accurate.

Their reports were accurate because they were based on information that Apple claims was obtained by violating trade secret lawE.g., it is illegal to induce someone to spill the beans on a trade secret they are legally obligated not to revealIt is also illegal to publish or share information which you know to be a trade secret, regardless how you learned about itIt’s not a question of whether Think Secret’s reporters are “journalists”, or if they are, whether they are good or bad journalistsIt doesn’t matter because there are no special exemptions under trade secret law for journalists.

Think Secret的作家是否有资格成为“记者”,从法律上讲,如果他们提出整个案件的动议根据加利福尼亚州的反SLAPP盾法解雇; but if that motion fails and the case is litigated under trade secret law, I believe it’s irrelevant whether they are or are not “journalists”.

[更新:In the separate case of Apple issuing subpoenas for the email of PowerPage and Apple Insider, thecourt has ruled in Apple’s favor在他的裁决中,詹姆斯P法官Kleinberg specifically made the point that it matters not whether PowerPage and Apple Insider are engaged in “journalism”, writing, “The bottom line is there is no exception or exemption in either the (Uniform Trade Secrets Act) or the Penal Code for journalists — however defined — or anyone else.” This will prove just as true in the main Think Secret case.]

“纽约时报”的记者不这样做They may engage in speculation about upcoming products — including Apple’s — but not by engaging sources willing to reveal a company’s trade secrets. E.g这个John Markoff撰写的2002年时代文章, speculating that Apple was on the cusp of releasing an Apple-branded “iPhone”. (See also我对Markoff的文章的回应。)

Markoff quotes analysts and unnamed individuals “close to the company”, but offers no genuine inside information from Apple employeesNow, obviously, one reason for that is that he was wrong — Apple was not on the cusp of releasing an iPhone in 2002But even if Apple had gone on to release an iPhone soon after Markoff’s report, it wouldn’t have been grounds for Apple to sue The Times. Speculation is not a violation of trade secret law.

诱使某人违反保密协议是。