Ryan Block disputes WSJ article re: Apple attending CES

Thu, Jul 30, 2009


Yesterday, Ben Charny of the Wall Street Journal wrote that Apple would make an official appearance at CES 2010, with the basis of his scoop being a conversation from a  journalist dinner he attended with Gary Shapiro, the head of the trade organization that puts on CES.  Charney, however, did not directly source his information, but all but implied that Apple would officially be attending next year’s CES.

Well, it turns out that the WSJ jumped the gun, and that’s putting it mildly.  Former Engadget editor Ryan Block happened to be at the same dinner attended by Charny and wrote that Charny’s account of what transpired at dinner was seemingly pulled out of thin air.

I was seated directly across from Gary, and present for the entire conversation, wherein a dozen or so other journos chatted with him and one another. When asked about the CEA’s ongoing contact with Jobs, Gary joked that every once in a while Steve might even return his email — to which we all laughed knowingly. Yep, that’s our Steve. Shapiro went on to mention that Apple was a great and long-standing supporter of the efforts of the CEA, but that their only direct involvement was sending a check each year to pay their membership dues.

At no point did Gary even remotely imply that Apple would be present at a future CES — let alone state flatly that Apple “will be there” in 2010. In fact, at one point, someone asked if, hypothetically, Apple did want to attend CES, whether the CEA could accommodate them. Gary said flatly that if pressed, they might be able to come up with a small 2,000 square foot booth, but they couldn’t do anything, say, Microsoft-sized on such short notice. Bottom line, though is that if Gary had even gotten remotely close to implying Apple would be at CES, this shoddily sourced piece by Charny wouldn’t have been the earliest story with the scoop nearly 24 hours after the fact — laptops would been immediately out for reports filed from the dinner table.

So reports of Apple officially attending CES are pre-mature, but I think a larger issue here is Charny seemingly making a story up for a publication as reputable as the WSJ, which has since updated and corrected the initial article.



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