A Modest Proposal: Please Leave the Lost iPhone Dude Alone
Last night, I tweeted: “Good god, pls stop egregiously using this poor lost iphone dude for cheap traffic…sadly, I have to link to explain: http://bit.ly/cK28zb.”
The link led to yet another post on the Web site Gizmodo, owned by Gawker Media, which bought a stolen prototype iPhone 4G from a still unnamed man who filched it after an Apple (AAPL) engineer left it in a Silicon Valley bar by accident.
This short post, one of many taking advantage of the engineer’s mistake, noted it was his birthday and included the obnoxious line: “Of all the days that you can lose Apple’s secret iPhone…”
Or, to put in a way the maturity-challenged crew at the gadget site might understand: So funny I forgot to laugh.
While people can debate about how Gizmodo behaved related to breaking of the story of the phone, there’s no good argument to be made for the site continuing to make hay from this unfortunate guy in the process.
As I also posted on Twitter: “I love how they act like they are on that poor dude’s side, as they flay him for public consumption. Fascinating if it were not so appalling.”
Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber pretty much summed it up best in a post yesterday when he wrote of Gizmodo’s hypocrisy:
“…Publishing the name, photographs, and personal information of the Apple engineer who lost the phone is irrelevant to the story. It was the dick move to end all dick moves. Gizmodo is, ostensibly, a gadget site. The interest of their readers in this saga regards the phone. Publishing his name did not clarify in the least bit how they obtained the phone. The people whose identities I’d like to know are those who obtained and then sold the phone, not the guy from Apple who lost it. There is no interest served by outing him other than taking sociopathic glee in making a public spectacle of someone who made a very serious but honest mistake.
This, I’m deeply offended by.”
Of course, such a thing would not even register with Gizmodo, given that it is the same fact-challenged crepe hanger that was lowering Apple CEO Steve Jobs into the grave before he was, you know, dead.
So to expect it to stop the relentless focus on the engineer seems too much to ask, even if it is the decent thing to do given that this man might lose his job and has definitely lost his dignity.
In any case, of course, this debacle has morphed into fodder for late-night joking on television this week, as in the video below of David Letterman reading his “Top Ten List” on “The Late Show.”
Here’s one plus: At least Letterman is funny.