I was going to write a heated post about ABC News characterizing today’s Apple event as “historic,” but my friend Adam (@DeadTechnology) beat me to the punch with this Tumblr post (I’m copying more than I usually would, with his permission):
Last night, ABC news posted a teaser video in which it declared that their anchor, David Muir, will have exclusive access to today’s Apple event. ABC is running a special event on the announcement today. This is not all that big a deal. For a TV network that hasn’t accomplished much compelling programming beyond a M. Night Shyamalan remake of Castaway, getting a back stage look at an Apple event is pretty neat, especially when the bar is set so very low.
In a world of smartphones already surrounded by pithy rhetoric, ABC manages to go even beyond the realm of bad taste and call a device launch event “historic”. Ok, listen up ABC, you want to call this “magical” even though that’s BS, fine. If you want to call this “amazing” even though that’s BS, fine. But if you want to go so far as to put this event on the same level as, oh, I don’t know something actually historic like Roe vs Wade or Rosa Parks, man oh man you better be sure.
Let’s not forget, this is a news organization talking about this event being historic. This is ABC News. This isn’t Pocketnow, or another tech blog whose entire world revolves around tech. Pocketnow could potentially argue that an event was historic from our unique point view, but even then we’d be wrong and stupid.
I tweeted much the same, before I discovered this post. And I agree with it, wholeheartedly. I don’t care what Apple introduces today (and I’m sure it will be some great products, as usual and in some ways), but characterizing it as “historic” is no transparently sycophantic that I have a hard time stomaching it.
Don’t get me wrong: I do believe that technology has had an important impact on our lives, even a “historical” impact when taken as a whole. But a news organization characterizing a product event as a “historic announcement” prior to its occurring and long before anyone could possibly assess the impact of whatever this “historic” product is supposed to be, is irresponsible at best and downright manipulative at worst.
Apple has a great PR department, but honestly, this takes the cake. And no, in case anyone is wondering: I don’t consider the iPhone or the first Mac or anything else Apple has produced to be “historic,” even in retrospect. Influential, groundbreaking, etc., in terms of technology products, maybe (although I’m not even convinced of that). But “historic”? As Adam says, no–the bar for “historic” should be set much higher than that.