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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Criticism Of Apple CEO Steve Jobs Inappropriate, Offensive

Dan Watson |
January 21, 2011 | 1:36 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Instead of being praised for his ingenuity and initiative, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is condemned for hiding his health problems. (Creative Commons)
Instead of being praised for his ingenuity and initiative, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is condemned for hiding his health problems. (Creative Commons)
Life couldn’t be all that easy for a visionary like Steve Jobs.

He is a fiercely private man whose genius, ironically enough, revolves around the dissemination of information.

He’s a master at sharing intelligence.

He made computers accessible to ordinary people around the world. His iPod changed the way music is shared. And his iPhone changed the way people communicate. Now, his iPad is set to change the entire business of communication itself, posing an answer for the ailing newspaper industry.

He is our modern day Johannes Gutenberg, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell — a man whose legacy will someday grace the halls of museums.

No one has shrunk the world like Steven Paul Jobs.

So, as his health fails him, it’s a sad predicament.

For all he’s done to open lines of communication, when it comes to his health, he just wants some privacy. This he wants to keep to himself. And, really, who could blame him?

Just this week, Jobs took another leave of absence from his empire. Again, citing health concerns.

The resulting headlines have been downright disgusting, if not, expected.

“Steve Jobs: Apple Supplier ‘Not a sweatshop,’” “Apple is a cheap stock at 15X, with or without Steve Jobs,” “Apple shares fall at the NASDAQ in New York,” “Mike Daisey Says the Show Must Go On,” “Jobs’ illness — again, more questions than answers.”

And worst of all “Jobbed Liver” — how cute and completely insensitive. You’d be hard-pressed to find much of anything positive in the wake of Jobs' announcement.

Instead of praising our modern-day hero (forget your prejudices against Mac), journalists have scoffed at his secrecy, lamented the inevitable Apple stock plunge and speculated on Apple without Jobs. Much has been made about his secrecy. It’s been a never-ending guess at what’s taken down the giant.

I’ll tell you what it is. It is the doom of many visionaries. John Lennon said he “didn’t want to be a dead hero” before he was killed.

Currently, there is a trial trying to access blame for Michael Jackson’s death. Elton John sang “Candle in the Wind” to two women whose fame brought their ultimate demise: first Marilyn Monroe and then Princess Diana.

When is enough enough?

In Jobs’ case, we really do not have all the facts. We poked and prodded and got much of his health history. But for what good?

This we’ve found out over the years, despite his pleas to stop: In 2004, he had pancreatic cancer. He tried a special diet to turn back the disease but it failed before he had a surgery to remove the tumor. In 2006, he appeared gaunt at a press conference. Speculation began. In 2008, similar concerns followed.

While Apple officials called it a “common bug,” journalists dug deeper. One New York Times journalist actually got Jobs to angrily agree to an off-the-record interview.

It later turned out to be much more than a “common bug” — in 2009, he had a liver transplant.

During this entire time, he kept control of his company, whether it was away from the offices or physically at work. All the while, he pleaded for privacy.

The arguments against granting him that privacy are pathetic. For years, he’s stood in front of audiences a shadow of his former physical self: gaunt, frail and malnourished. Still, he spoke with zeal and energy. He’s been in love with his work despite the fact it was slowly killing him.

What more do you need to know, stockholders?

Your CEO, your creative genius, your path to riches is dying. He has been for a while. Can you imagine what he’s been through? The doctor’s appointments he’s rushed to or missed because of his immense responsibilities. The torture of not being able to go into work. The humiliation upon reading his obituary, which was accidently run in newspapers around the world.

Who cares what he has! He has enough stress to kill 10 men.

Jobs deserves his privacy, no matter what you think of him and no matter how much money you have at stake. He’s a human being, and a damn important one.

Write about his legacy, write about how remarkable it’s been that he’s come back from a liver transplant and for the past year and a half has altered the ways humans interact. He’s produced two of the most revolutionary products in history during that time, for God’s sake.

Instead of being praised for his ingenuity and initiative, he’s condemned for hiding his health problems.

He has serious health problems; act accordingly Wall Street. He also has enough fortitude to beat it all back, if only you’d let him.



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