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Apple Exposes Bitter Grudge With the New York Times

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This week, Apple (AAPL) granted tech reviewers a sneak peek at its upcoming OS X platform, Mountain Lion. Even before the developer community got a taste of the upcoming software, select members of the media were given a glimpse at the exciting new features Apple has in store for its users. But aside from the massive amounts of coverage the OS received from certain media outlets, only a handful were given exclusive interviews with Apple execs -- including CEO Tim Cook -- to discuss Mountain Lion.

And that select group didn't include the New York Times (NYT).

The biggest scoop went to the Wall Street Journal (NWS) which scored a sit-down with Cook who spoke at length on how Mountain Lion will bridge the narrowing gap between Apple's desktop OS and its mobile iOS. Also given the backstage treatment was blogger John Gruber from Daring Fireball, who spoke with Apple's SVP of marketing Philip Schiller and was walked through the new apps and features of the platform. Gruber was also heavier on the "brag" than the "humble" when describing how and when he was ushered into the fold.

"We were sitting in a comfortable hotel suite in Manhattan just over a week ago," Gruber wrote. "I'd been summoned a few days earlier by Apple PR with the offer of a private 'product briefing.' I had no idea heading into the meeting what it was about. I had no idea how it would be conducted. This was new territory for me, and I think, for Apple."

Conversely, over at the Times, David Pogue posted a laundry list rundown of the features without pictures or an exclusive interview.

So why was the Times, even with its extensive Apple coverage and massive readership, given the short shrift when it came time to unveil Mountain Lion?

It might have something to do with that little story about Foxconn.

Less than a month ago, the Times ran a damning account of working conditions at the Foxconn factory. Although the company's suicides and potentially hazardous work environments have been covered for years, this was the powder keg that launched a very public backlash against Apple and sparked an independent investigation. As you may expect, Apple was probably none-too-pleased about the way the paper specifically called it out in the headline -- despite the fact that Foxconn manufactures products for Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), and many other companies.

Highlighting the strained relationship between Apple and the Times, the Washington Post's Erik Wemple wrote, "Hard-edged reporting of that sort carries a price when it comes to a company like Apple. You may not be on the short­list the next time the company debuts one of its products."

Wemple confirms this with a source at the paper. The unnamed staffer said, "They are playing access journalism...I've heard it from people inside Apple: They said, look, you guys are going to get less access based on the iEconomy series."

Even Damon Darlin, the Times' tech editor, was willing to go on the record about the paper's less-than-stellar relationship with Cupertino. "We're never happy with our access to Apple. We never have been. Apple is a difficult company to report on." Adding, "Talking to the CEO of one of the largest technology companies, the highest-valued company of the world? Yes, we would like to do that. They know that."

And handing the scoop to the Journal, Apple really knows how to rub salt into the wound.

But at least the Times has some company. Gizmodo, the site that got its hands on that infamous iPhone 4 prototype after a staffer drunkenly left it behind in a German beer garden, knows all too well about the Apple snub. Since running that story and spoiling Apple's unveiling two months later, Gizmodo hasn't been invited to any Apple event or grand product unveiling. Senior Contributing Editor and Art Director Jesus Diaz "reached out" on Twitter this morning:

And in case the message wasn't clear, Diaz laid out how he sees the stronger media relationships with Apple -- in absolutely no uncertain terms:

At this point, it doesn't seem like the New York Times would even be granted a handshake, let alone a-... more "intimate" greeting, any time soon.

But look on the bright side: Maybe this'll lead to a huge scoop on Android 5.0 (GOOG)!

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