Even though I should be finishing the latest animation right now, I just wanted to give you an update about the latest Jobs/Apple/app dustup. I'm still trying to make sense of what Steve Jobs actually said, but here's an excerpt from his appearance last night at the WSJ's D8 conference:
7:18PM Walt: So what happened with this candidate?
Steve: We had a rule that said you can't defame other people.
Kara: Determined by your app people.
Steve: Yes... and political cartoons got caught in that. We didn't think of that. So this guy submits his app and he gets rejected. We didn't see that coming. So we changed the rule, but this guy never resubmitted... then he wins a Pulitzer Prize, and he says we rejected him. So, we are guilty of making mistakes. We're doing the best we can, we're learning as fast as we can -- but we thought this rule made sense.
Right after that, Jobs apparently said this:
7:19PM Steve: We're doing the best we can, we're fixing mistakes. But what happens is -- people lie. And then they run to the press and tell people about this oppression, and they get their 15 minutes of fame. We don't run to the press and say "this guy is a son of a bitch liar!" -- we don't do that.
Now, before you freak out and lose sleep like I did, this was taken from a live blog, and other live blogs from the same event are a little mellower. I'm trying to track down the full transcript or video (the event was filmed, but they're only releasing excerpts) and will update when I've found it.
If I'm hearing Steve Jobs correctly, he's essentially calling me a liar who is just seeking 15 minutes of fame (which, as a cartoonist, is a very funny thing to hear from someone who speaks in front of 30-foot screens projecting his image).
What I am seeking is a clarification from Apple on their policy regarding satire and "ridiculing public figures," and a response to the letter the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists wrote Mr. Jobs. I fully support their right to pick and choose bad or good content for their store, but a blanket ban on ridicule is, um, ridiculous. If the doors are now open to satire and ridicule of public figures, then Steve Jobs has indeed corrected his "mistake."
I've always made a point of being open about my whole experience with the Apple and have never sought out confrontation. My NewsToons app was, in fact, rejected. You can see the actual rejection email below. The reason I never resubmitted the app was because I wasn't about to make the changes Apple sought and remove any "content that ridicules public figures." Ridiculing public figures is what I do and is an essential part of journalism.
I'm in the process of improving and updating the NewsToons app and would love to know whether or not Apple has changed their policy regarding satire, because this isn't just about me, it's about a promising new future for journalism.
Hopefully, I'll be able to reach Mr. Jobs directly and get a clarification.
Now I've got to get back to cartooning. Ack! Almost deadline-time!