NYT gadget guru David Pogue in professional ethics kerfuffle (again)

Foster Kamer, at NYO: "David Pogue is, for the Times, a valuable asset. He has been called the "Oprah of Gadgets." His Twitter follower count exceeds that of the entire Times technology reporting staff put together. And yet: Mr. Pogue is repeatedly accused of being in an ethical grey area."


  1. “His Twitter follower count exceeds that of the entire Times technology reporting staff put together.” sounds almost backhanded — like his Twitter follower count is greater than the number of reporters reporting on technology at the Times. Funny stuff.

    1. I think it’s pretty clear they’re saying his twitter follower count is greater than the combined follower count of all the reporters for time’s technology staff. The english language can be pretty nuanced, but that should be easy for a native speaker to pick up on.

  2. A few years ago I was in the audience for a Pogue keynote, and he had the MOST fun mocking Indian call center employees and their HILARIOUS accents. Add that to the domestic abuse and constant ethics breaches: Why does he still have a job at the Times? Gadget writers are thick on the ground, and a fair number of them aren’t insufferable jerks.

  3. What you should NEVER do when pitching [me]
    [My] five “pitch pet peeves”

    FWIW, I could easily imagine Xeni writing that. Telling publicists what does work, beyond Submitterator? That’s a bit harder to imagine.

    That being said, Pogue does seem to get away with playing by his own rules, and if NYT is happy with that, it’s their business, but discerning readers have known for a long time that Pogue is, if not exactly a shill for Apple, at the very least one of Apple’s biggest and most visible fanboys. I wouldn’t buy an Apple product (of which I own many) solely on Pogue’s recommendation, since you pretty much know that he likes it without needing to read the review.

  4. Disingenuosity.

    All the Web is advertising driven. The freemium economy is all about capturing eyeballs, building a following, then leveraging your stats to shill for companies.

    Nobody will pay you to write unbiased stories.

  5. I’m no ethicist, but Pogue has even more problems.

    Pogue’s recent review of Final Cut Pro X was quite positive, and when professionals started complaining — a lot — Pogue wrote a column responding to their most frequent criticisms. Furthermore, he claims to have had involvement with product managers at Apple to answer these criticisms.

    This might have been an acceptable thing, if Pogue had been more careful.

    He could have listed their concerns that he found most substantial and interesting, and made the tone sound like a news story. “Professionals are not pleased with Final Cut X. They are

    Or he could have written an FAQ with a non-confrontational tone, something like “Final Cut X is so radically different that even experienced professionals might be uncertain how its new features fit their established workflow habits. Here’s some helpful tips.”

    But instead, he not only combined these two, but turned it into an argument, especially by using a confrontational tone with sentences like this one: “It’s only fair, however, to separate what’s really missing from knee-jerk “It’s so different!” hysteria.”

    As a result, he’s taken “arguing on the Internet” and dragged the New York Times — and Apple — into it.

    I certainly hope that the Times, and Apple, whack him with a rolled up newspaper and make him apologize for arguing with, and insulting, his readers.

    1. I certainly hope that the Times, and Apple, whack him with a rolled up newspaper and make him apologize for arguing with, and insulting, his readers.

      Are you joking? I’m quite sure Steve called up his dependable pal Pogue and said, “Hey listen, David. We have ourselves a real mess right now with this Final Cut business. I’m going to put you in touch with the Final Cut project manager and get all those questions addressed. Tell them we’re working on it, they just need to calm down.” Apple is quite clearly using Pogue as a PR mouthpiece to say things it wants to say, but doesn’t want it to come from Apple (admitting they have a problem).

  6. I’m not entirely sure why it’s an ethical violation for Pogue to be firmly pro-Apple, while Paul Thurrott (just for example) is unabashedly pro-Windows. Journalists are not unbiased robots removed from human emotion and affinities.

    As long as no one is paying special for the privilege, he’s in the clear.

  7. Are people still referring to his ethical area as grey? I thought the jury was back in on this one a long time ago.

  8. All I want to know is why anyone in their right mind would read tech reviews from some jerk at a major old-school newspaper like the NYT. There are entire companies, websites and publications dedicated to the subject of tech review.

    Pogue has shown through his “reporting” record that he is completely incapable of being impartial and insanely gullible for PR. I often read the NYT, but I have never considered the NYT as a place to read about tech. Any time I read Pogue’s reviews I feel like I’m overhearing an old businessman on a train poorly explain features of his iphone to another old businessman. The things he picks out as talking point are so unoriginal and uninformative that it hurts. You want to just snatch the phone out of his hand and, by means of demonstarting the true range of features, show him how little he actually knows.

    @Joshua Ochs: Pogue is a tech reporter for a major newspaper which means that he is expected to report on all things tech in a balanced way. Yes, personal opinion is usually what a tech review comes down to at the end, but the review’s body is supposed to be an assessment of the product’s pros and cons (based on actual inspection and testing, rather than repeating talking points out of manufacturer PR). Paul Thurrott writes for Windows-specific publications. He is not a general tech reviewer as Pogue is supposed to be, so I don’t think your comparison is apt.

  9. I went to high school with him and he was not a very nice person at that time. He did things that were unkind and unethical to people he deemed unimportant or impediments to his goals, while acting the part of the fawning sycophant (think: Eddie Haskell, but even Eddie Haskell-er than Eddie Haskell) toward people he thought had something to offer him.

    None of the criticisms or questions about him surprise me. And his Twitter feed includes comments as offensive as the report Anon made about his presentation of Indian call center workers. I think it’s unfortunate that he keeps succeeding. It’s hard not to feel entitled when one is successful. Harder still not to become more pompous and self-important if that’s how you started as a child.

    1. I have had more than my share of coworkers and classmates who fit that sycophantic bill perfectly, leapfrogging me up the chain. Those people may *seem* to get ahead, due to their antics and buddy buddy with the higher ups. But, in my experience, I have never ONCE seen one of them come up with something original, world-changing, or downright unique, artistic and awesome. Not once. They are not the creative entrepreneurial type.

      Their energy is spent trying to win favor, while my style is to try new stuff and keep failing big but learning and …eventually …scoring big time.

      Pogues of the world… love your stuff, but c’mahhhhhhn dudes, jeez. Enough already. Spare me the BS.

  10. After Pogues disingenuous shilling for FCP X and Apple it seems he jumped his own shark.

    Stick a fork in his ass, he’s credibly challenged henceforth, done & doomed to gush over nothing more trustworthy than the next 99 buck point & shoot cameraphonesleepingbaggizmo.

    Tweet that David.

  11. Come on, he’s a columnist! If he favors a particular brand, that’s his right. As long as he NYT want him and people like his columns, then quit complaining.

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