The FBI released its 191-page file on deceased Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. If you are looking for light reading material to ease you into slumber, you can check it out here.
The first question you might have is WHY did the FBI have a file on Jobs? Two reasons: he was up for an appointment for the President's Export Council under Bush Sr.'s administration in 1991, and due to a 1985 bomb threat.
The file, which I've skimmed through, is a fairly benign assessment of what Jobs' associates had to say about him regarding his ability to serve on the Export Council. Some of these individuals said less than complimentary things about Jobs, mostly related to his past illegal drug use, his deceptive nature, an ego-driven distortion of reality, fathering a child out wedlock, and not paying child support. Nothing truly damning was revealed and certainly nothing to suggest he was much different than the work-obsessed tech genius we've come to know.
For the most part, the public already knew about the drug use and the child out of wedlock thing, but the rest is purely speculative and subjective. Who among us doesn't have someone from our past and/or present who may not have the nicest things to say about us? Honestly, based on what I've read, Steve Jobs would have been MORE than qualified to serve in politics. Read that as you will. Jobs, however, did not get the appointment.
There's really nothing newsworthy about this file being released, other than the subject matter itself. Steve Jobs died last fall, and while most Applephiles and tech-worshipers of the world wept at the loss of arguably the most important tech innovator of modern times, a small subset were more than ecstatic that Jobs was gone. I can almost imagine the heart-palpitating excitement and overstimulated joy that must have spread through the Gawker offices when the news hit. One massive, collective orgasm is what I am picturing.
Steve Jobs is dead! HOORAY! HITS! SNARK! ORGASMS!
Perhaps a little background is needed to explain where I am coming from.
Back in the spring of 2010, a young Apple engineer who was testing the iPhone 4 (disguised as a 3GS apparently) accidentally left the prototype phone at a bar in Redwood City, CA.
Another bar patron came to possess the lost item, asked around, and, after finding no takers, kept it. After tinkering with the phone and noticing it had been remotely disabled, it occurred to him this might be something other than a 3GS. He made what seems to be a valiant attempt to return the phone to Apple to no avail. A few weeks later, it was purchased by Gawker via their tech site Gizmodo for $5000. If you aren't familiar with this story, you can catch up here.
Essentially, what ensued was a lot of legal posturing, public disclosure of every single detail of the negotiations, including publishing private emails and conversations on Gizmodo/Gawker, in the process creating a legendary saga which successfully raised Gawker's overall profile in the MSM. The same way their "leaking" the Tom Cruise "Mission Impossible" Scientology tape doubled their traffic practically overnight.
This is what Gawker does and this is how they are successful. They mask themselves as a rogue news organization, seeking truth, liberty, and full disclosure. But what they are is the equivalent of an eighth grade mean girl who lulls you into a false sense of security — an emotional roofie — causing you to spill all your intimate secrets, only to then turn around and tell the entire middle school about what a skanky whore you are... in full and graphic detail.
It's genius, it works, but man, it's so... well... wrong, and most definitely dishonest and deceptive.
Fast forward to Steve Jobs losing his battle with pancreatic cancer. I have witnessed a steady torrent of negatively slanted stories posted on Gawker's media entities that paint a picture of bitterness, anger, and a stalkerish obsession with painting Jobs in the worst possible light. The more I observe Gawker, a media outlet that owes its success to exposing human frailties, manifesting controversies, and manipulating outrage, they seem to be a bunch of grudge-holders. I can only imagine how Gawker made Jobs' final days all the more hellish.
Considering how Gawker and its entities have benefited from their abuse of Apple, you'd think perhaps they'd soften their stance, or at least show some respect (the man is dead after all) but then I read this, and it occurred to me this ghoulish campaign to smear Jobs might be under the administration and orchestration of Gawker's founder Nick Denton.
Need proof? Here's a small sampling of the hate:
What Everyone Is Too Polite To Say About Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs Was Not God (posted just one day after his death)
Harvard Medical Expert: Steve Jobs Doomed With Alternative Medicine (a week after his death)
And of course there is today's picked over account of the FBI file. Steve Jobs may not be God, he certainly wasn't perfect, and by no means should he be worshiped. However, he's also not Adolf Hitler (yeah, I pulled the Hitler card), Jerry Sandusky, or this asshole. When bringing on the hate, a little perspective goes a long way. In the big scheme, Jobs did far more good for the world than evil, and I suspect there's some jealousy at the core of Gawker/Denton's unrelenting bitterness. From my experience, successful people are pretty resentful of those who are even more successful.
As someone who emerged at the nascent stages of blogging — a decade ago, hard to imagine — I admire Denton's rise to prominence. As a fellow blogger in what was then called the "blogosphere," I observed firsthand the gossip-driven alchemy he conjured into a successful formula. What I don't admire is how his leadership created an empire built on damaging people's reputations, destroying careers, and public bullying, all under the premise of journalism.
I am sure Brian Williams would appreciate a little more discretion from his so called "friend." Not everything is for public consumption and the torch-and-burn method of news reporting most assuredly has a shelf life.
Rather than transforming himself into a media mogul with a broader perspective, Denton's clung to his scheming, plotting, and Internet sorcery.
So if that makes Denton the Saruman of the Internet's version of Middle Earth, who gets to play the role of Sauron?
Rupert Murdoch perhaps.