Repent, sinner, for the Expo is nigh! Nary a week remains before His Steveness addresses the adoring throngs at the Javits Center, and there's good news for those of you who are planning on making the pilgrimage: there ought to be plenty of extra seating at the event, what with the designated press corral looking to be so much smaller than in years past. Surely you've heard by now that those logistical wizards at IDG have denied media passes to a whole slew of Mac-related sites, and while blame-assigning fingers are pointing every which way but loose, most of them are aimed squarely back at Apple, who allegedly strongarmed IDG into blackballing any sites which have gotten Steve's knickers in a twist for having had the gall to publish "rumors and speculation." What with the newly vacant seats, maybe you'll be able to sleep an extra twenty minutes or so before hopping in line at the keynote-- assuming you aren't a member of one of the media outlets that have apparently wound up on Steve's enemies list, of course.
For what it's worth, an IDG spokesperson "strenuously denied" to Wired that Apple had any hand in ensuring that less-desirable members of the fourth estate were denied media access: "There is no blacklist. It's not Apple's show. It's purely IDG's responsibility to decide." Of course, the idea that Apple has no pull whatsoever on matters like this would be utterly ludicrous even if another IDG rep hadn't already called Dean Browell of AppleLust and told him that his passes had been Steved after "Apple had reviewed the list of media attendees and blackballed about 30 web sites" for the heinous crime of rumormongering. Oops. Sounds like IDG needs to get its story straight. How much you wanna bet that the loose-lipped rep who phoned Browell is now sleeping with the fishes with a couple of old PowerBook 3400s tied to his ankles?
Nevertheless, IDG's official story is that they've simply gotten stricter about enforcing their age-old criteria before doling out media passes because some representatives from an "enthusiast site" somehow "acted inappropriately" at the last San Francisco show. (Hey, don't look at us-- we were on a whole different coast last January, and we can produce sworn affidavits and marginally credible eyewitnesses to prove it.) Of course, if you believe that this whole brouhaha arose just because some crank at IDG didn't like it when Fred of "Fred's Totally Wicked Mac Site" smuggled an outside bottle of Yoo-Hoo into the Javits Center instead of shelling out eight bucks for a can of Sprite, that's certainly your prerogative-- but you're missing out on a golden opportunity to get in on the ground floor of one of the juiciest Apple conspiracy theories ever to be handed over on a silver platter. A platter, we might add, on which is elegantly engraved the phrase "Eat This."
Now, granted, if the conspiracy theory is true and Apple is quietly smacking down those who would dare bandy about the five-letter R-word, your decision not to believe a word of it may be a simple act of self-preservation; after all, the last thing you want to do is show up to the keynote only to be escorted into a small private room by two thugs in black turtlenecks who immediately administer a heavy beating. But for those of you either brave enough to risk the consequences (or naïve enough to think that your Macs aren't regularly broadcasting your browser history to One Infinite Loop), faithful viewer T.S. McBride turned us on to Mac OS Rumors' vitriolic rant on the subject, which is still available on the site's home page.
When it comes to Blacklistgate, there's no end to the commentary out there, but MOSR's is notable both because it comes from the granddaddy of Mac rumors sites and because it includes some language that doesn't quite clear the "TV-PG" requirements. But it's interesting to note that some of the verbiage was toned down at some point; Apple's Nathalie Welch is now referred to merely as a "PR staffer," which is (arguably) far less offensive than what MOSR originally called her. (And, no, it had nothing to do with "Facts of Life"; true, the show had a character named "Natalie" and a cast member named "Lisa Whelchel," but there's no connection, despite the fact that Ms. Welch's high school nickname was, coincidentally, "Tootie.")
Lastly, plenty of viewers have asked us whether we were directly affected by this alleged blacklist, and the answer is yes-- but only in the sense that it gave us a zesty plot element to work into the show. We weren't planning on attending the Expo this summer anyway, what with the unfeasibility of dragging a cranky eleven-week-old along for the ride, so we didn't actually apply for media passes this year. So we can't say for sure whether or not we're on Santa Steve's "Naughty" list, but we figure if the rampant speculation didn't land us on there, the occasional cracks about his wardrobe did. Looks like we'll be reaching for our wallets when next summer's show rolls around...