Dan Miller of Macworld has an interesting article describing the amateur-ish manner in which a number of journalists have gone about covering the Steve Jobs health issue. Whether it’s predicting the death of Apple, or relying on financial analysts to make medical judgments, the number of ill-informed, and often times malicious, articles about Steve Jobs’ latest announcement boggles the mind.
In his wildly speculative story, Steve Jobs Probably Won’t Come Back to Apple — originally headlined simply “Steve Jobs Won’t Come Back to Apple”, Wired’s Brian Chen quotes Dr. Alan Astrow, Director of Hematology and Oncology at the Maimonides Cancer Center, as saying “Jobs’ increasingly gaunt figure between public appearances in the past year is a possible sign of active cancer.” Yes, it’s possible that it’s active cancer. It’s also possible that, as Jobs has said, it’s a hormonal imbalance. Or it’s a normal consequence of treatment for pancreatic cancer. Or it’s that wacky new macrobiotic diet his wife put him on. All kinds of things are possible.
It’s even worse when the armchair diagnosers are complete amateurs. Chen also quotes analyst Roger Kay: “Despite all the protestations, I think he has cancer. They talk about digestive this and digestive that, but…just look at the photos.” Yes, although Roger Kay is not a medical professional, he does have the special ability to diagnose someone by looking at a photograph.
Check out the full article over here. It’s worth a read, if only to help people following the story to be better able to separate facts from the rampant and often baseless speculation.