Harry, would love to talk with you!

The top story on TechMeme this morning is that PC World Editor, Harry McCracken, resigned his job yesterday cause his boss wanted to be nicer to advertisers and wanted to kill a story he did on Apple. I like Harry a lot. He was in my living room a few months ago during a debate about OSX vs. Vista.

Anyway, Harry, I’d love to work with you again — your stock just went up due to your editorial stance. IDG’s just went way down.

UPDATE: I just striked out the text above because John Welch is right and I don’t know what really happened. I’ve been reflecting on his words and he’s right that we’re only hearing one side of the story. I know that from my time inside Microsoft that usually the story you see in public isn’t the true story and that only the employee who left the company gets to speak because of fears of getting sued. We know that Harry isn’t working for PC World anymore. But we don’t know the kind of story he wanted to run or hear Colin’s point of view.

Either way, Harry was enjoyable to work with before and I’d love to work with him again.

65 thoughts on “Harry, would love to talk with you!

  1. I hope PC World would recognize Harry McCracken’s past extraordinary contribution and leadership.

    I have an eye-catching theme for their executive search. It matches our upcoming meeting theme – Search For the Next Pussycat Engine: Meow! Too Sexy For My UI.

    Search For the Next Pussycat Chief Editor: Meow! Too Scary For My Advertisers

  2. I hope PC World would recognize Harry McCracken’s past extraordinary contribution and leadership.

    I have an eye-catching theme for their executive search. It matches our upcoming meeting theme – Search For the Next Pussycat Engine: Meow! Too Sexy For My UI.

    Search For the Next Pussycat Chief Editor: Meow! Too Scary For My Advertisers

  3. stevekit, it may have been the straw the broke the camel’s back. After all, here we have a case where the former chief editor of MacWorld, and admitted Mac/Apple/Jobs fanboy, comes in to run PC World, and ever since then, has forced PC World to run “Apple is Great” puff-pieces and spiking any and all articles that don’t tow this guy’s “I love Jobs” view of the world. Finally, someone got tired of it and resigned. Good for him! Apple gets a free pass on everything bad thing that they do:

    1. Horrible security record. Nearly as many Security Updates as Windows.
    2. Using Asian sweatshop labor to create their prime product.
    3. Polluting more than any other high-tech company.
    4. Backdating of stock options, and claiming that such action was OK’ed at a board meeting that never actually occurred.
    5. Horrible build quality. Today, Denmark ruled that iBooks have defective design (screens going bad (just displaying black) after less than a year of use), Apple knew it, and tried to cover it up.
    – Apple iBook G4 Design Flaw Proven –
    http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/03/1458259

    The tech media gives Apple a pass on all of these things, and continues with the “Apple is Perfect, Jobs is God” meme. Now we know why. Because editors in chief are Mac fanboys.

  4. stevekit, it may have been the straw the broke the camel’s back. After all, here we have a case where the former chief editor of MacWorld, and admitted Mac/Apple/Jobs fanboy, comes in to run PC World, and ever since then, has forced PC World to run “Apple is Great” puff-pieces and spiking any and all articles that don’t tow this guy’s “I love Jobs” view of the world. Finally, someone got tired of it and resigned. Good for him! Apple gets a free pass on everything bad thing that they do:

    1. Horrible security record. Nearly as many Security Updates as Windows.
    2. Using Asian sweatshop labor to create their prime product.
    3. Polluting more than any other high-tech company.
    4. Backdating of stock options, and claiming that such action was OK’ed at a board meeting that never actually occurred.
    5. Horrible build quality. Today, Denmark ruled that iBooks have defective design (screens going bad (just displaying black) after less than a year of use), Apple knew it, and tried to cover it up.
    – Apple iBook G4 Design Flaw Proven –
    http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/03/1458259

    The tech media gives Apple a pass on all of these things, and continues with the “Apple is Perfect, Jobs is God” meme. Now we know why. Because editors in chief are Mac fanboys.

  5. I found out even Wikipedia didn’t have a bio on Harry McCracken. Now you would have to look up Harry by searching his name on Wetpaint wiki.

    Guys, please don’t attack Harry McCracken in open.

    It would be extremely hard to find Chief Editor like Harry McCracken who has very good understanding about the business and industry in computer, software, hardware, and web.

    Look at the Awards, recognizations and creditability that Harry has bought to PC World. His leadership is obvious. A popular magazine won’t survive with scary-cat type of editorial.

    Harry gives me the confidence in PC World when he wrote me that he knew how important the web is and my role is in the web. I am not a scray-cat. I allow open debate between developers and vendors for positive constructive learning. How we suppose to move forward to the next century with technology break-thru when everyone is being scary cat…

    No great scientist is scary cat.

    “…McCracken has won numerous honors for his work at PC World, including Jesse H. Neal Awards for “Best Subject-Related Series” in 1998, 2000, 2001, and 2002, a 2000 Grand Neal Award from American Business Media, was recognized with the 2004 American Business Media’s Western Award for Editorial Courage and Integrity, and recently won a 2005 min’s Best Of the Web Award for Best Blog. He has appeared as an industry expert on television and radio programs on ABC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and the BBC. He also collaborated with Dateline NBC on a multi-state undercover investigation into PC repair in 2000 which aired later that year. A past contributor to USA Today, Family Circle, and other publications, McCracken was named to the Technology Marketing Influencers list in 2002 and 2003. A 15-year veteran of technology journalism, he served as an editor at InfoWorld and Computer Buying World prior to joining PC World in 1994…”

  6. I found out even Wikipedia didn’t have a bio on Harry McCracken. Now you would have to look up Harry by searching his name on Wetpaint wiki.

    Guys, please don’t attack Harry McCracken in open.

    It would be extremely hard to find Chief Editor like Harry McCracken who has very good understanding about the business and industry in computer, software, hardware, and web.

    Look at the Awards, recognizations and creditability that Harry has bought to PC World. His leadership is obvious. A popular magazine won’t survive with scary-cat type of editorial.

    Harry gives me the confidence in PC World when he wrote me that he knew how important the web is and my role is in the web. I am not a scray-cat. I allow open debate between developers and vendors for positive constructive learning. How we suppose to move forward to the next century with technology break-thru when everyone is being scary cat…

    No great scientist is scary cat.

    “…McCracken has won numerous honors for his work at PC World, including Jesse H. Neal Awards for “Best Subject-Related Series” in 1998, 2000, 2001, and 2002, a 2000 Grand Neal Award from American Business Media, was recognized with the 2004 American Business Media’s Western Award for Editorial Courage and Integrity, and recently won a 2005 min’s Best Of the Web Award for Best Blog. He has appeared as an industry expert on television and radio programs on ABC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and the BBC. He also collaborated with Dateline NBC on a multi-state undercover investigation into PC repair in 2000 which aired later that year. A past contributor to USA Today, Family Circle, and other publications, McCracken was named to the Technology Marketing Influencers list in 2002 and 2003. A 15-year veteran of technology journalism, he served as an editor at InfoWorld and Computer Buying World prior to joining PC World in 1994…”

  7. I find it hard to believe that an editor of 13 years would get up and resign over the non publishing of a fluff article like a “10 things we hate about Apple”.

    Come on , he’s a grown man, not some hyper sensitive teen angster.

    And it’s not like the publisher over ruled him on an article that was going to rock the world w/ some devastaing evidence about something or other.

    IT is telling how blogs are reacting to this (similar to the teen angster, not the grown man).

  8. I find it hard to believe that an editor of 13 years would get up and resign over the non publishing of a fluff article like a “10 things we hate about Apple”.

    Come on , he’s a grown man, not some hyper sensitive teen angster.

    And it’s not like the publisher over ruled him on an article that was going to rock the world w/ some devastaing evidence about something or other.

    IT is telling how blogs are reacting to this (similar to the teen angster, not the grown man).

  9. First of all, the idea that Macworld never criticizes Apple is wrong. I’ve done some freelance writing for them on occasion, and the only thing I was ever told was “write a good article”. I never saw any editing done other than for grammar and spelling.

    In fact, current writers for Macworld have been so critical of sponsors and sponsor products that sponsors have actually stopped buying ad space.

    Like I said, we don’t as yet have both sides of the story, and assuming the first opinion is right is well…wrong.

  10. First of all, the idea that Macworld never criticizes Apple is wrong. I’ve done some freelance writing for them on occasion, and the only thing I was ever told was “write a good article”. I never saw any editing done other than for grammar and spelling.

    In fact, current writers for Macworld have been so critical of sponsors and sponsor products that sponsors have actually stopped buying ad space.

    Like I said, we don’t as yet have both sides of the story, and assuming the first opinion is right is well…wrong.

  11. I like to work with Harry McCracken again. From how the PC World handles the editorial reviews on browsers like IE and FireFox, I know the magazine is very fair about their reviews. On the other hand, I am more critical on the browsers from technical standpoint.

    Why Apple is being so sensitive? Without fair consumer reviews, how could Apple improve popular consumer products? Not every bad publicity is bad. What is worse than bad is when you have no publicity.

    On PC Magazine side, playing safe may be good for the short term. Not good for long term. Consumers are getting smarter these days. As soon as they find out the magazine is holding back their fair analysis and reviews, these techie smart consumers will quickly switch their reading habbits.

    Harry, I drop you email hoping that you could work with us.

  12. I like to work with Harry McCracken again. From how the PC World handles the editorial reviews on browsers like IE and FireFox, I know the magazine is very fair about their reviews. On the other hand, I am more critical on the browsers from technical standpoint.

    Why Apple is being so sensitive? Without fair consumer reviews, how could Apple improve popular consumer products? Not every bad publicity is bad. What is worse than bad is when you have no publicity.

    On PC Magazine side, playing safe may be good for the short term. Not good for long term. Consumers are getting smarter these days. As soon as they find out the magazine is holding back their fair analysis and reviews, these techie smart consumers will quickly switch their reading habbits.

    Harry, I drop you email hoping that you could work with us.

  13. Let’s imagine for a second that the rumour was that Harry left due to pressure from Microsoft (and not Apple). Would John Welch be showing such restraint? Would John Welch be urging everyone to hear both sides first?

  14. Let’s imagine for a second that the rumour was that Harry left due to pressure from Microsoft (and not Apple). Would John Welch be showing such restraint? Would John Welch be urging everyone to hear both sides first?

  15. Question for John: In situation like this, how long do you advocate waiting for Colin to give his side? If he or his employer no comments a request for reaction does it become fair game? If there is no response whatsoever – how long should someone like Robert wait before commenting?

  16. Question for John: In situation like this, how long do you advocate waiting for Colin to give his side? If he or his employer no comments a request for reaction does it become fair game? If there is no response whatsoever – how long should someone like Robert wait before commenting?

  17. John: true enough. I doubt you’ll ever hear Colin’s side in public, though. Employees are lectured to shut up when it comes to personnel issues.

    It is interesting the pressures that writers are under, though. Pros have to listen to bosses. Bloggers have to listen to readers. :-)

  18. John: true enough. I doubt you’ll ever hear Colin’s side in public, though. Employees are lectured to shut up when it comes to personnel issues.

    It is interesting the pressures that writers are under, though. Pros have to listen to bosses. Bloggers have to listen to readers. :-)

  19. Thank you Robert. I’m not saying what we’re hearing about Harry is wrong OR right, because we don’t know yet. Any efforts to get the correct story out in the middle of the echo chamber are good, even if it means the story gets delayed a few.

    measure twice, cut once.

  20. Thank you Robert. I’m not saying what we’re hearing about Harry is wrong OR right, because we don’t know yet. Any efforts to get the correct story out in the middle of the echo chamber are good, even if it means the story gets delayed a few.

    measure twice, cut once.

  21. This “Harry” guy is an arrogant jerk that thinks that the world revolves around him. How dare he violate the Prime Directive of tech journalism:
    THOU SHALT NOT SPEAK ILL OF APPLE (even jokingly)

    :p

  22. This “Harry” guy is an arrogant jerk that thinks that the world revolves around him. How dare he violate the Prime Directive of tech journalism:
    THOU SHALT NOT SPEAK ILL OF APPLE (even jokingly)

    :p

  23. Scoble’s brain is dominant on the right side more than on the left. Sitting in his living room will earn you more credit than facts. A million articles on Techmeme will be truer than the one fact checked article.

    But then such matters never have “facts”. So the Scobleizer will rule.

    The differences between the silicon valley down south and the one up north is diminishing :)

  24. Scoble’s brain is dominant on the right side more than on the left. Sitting in his living room will earn you more credit than facts. A million articles on Techmeme will be truer than the one fact checked article.

    But then such matters never have “facts”. So the Scobleizer will rule.

    The differences between the silicon valley down south and the one up north is diminishing :)

  25. Famous Harry quotes…

    “I haven’t tried Riya myself yet, but it demos extremely well.” – Harry McCracken, PC World

    I dunno the facts in this case, nor will I rely on publish-first ‘meme types’ as real reporters. And as the wise one hath said, ‘Checking your sources does not mean finding another website that says the same. Fiction is self-perpetuating.’

    But Harry has been right up your alley, buying lock and stock all the Valley slop, weird that he’s hard on Apple, and yet let’s all the start-up fraud kiddies off for good behavior.

  26. Famous Harry quotes…

    “I haven’t tried Riya myself yet, but it demos extremely well.” – Harry McCracken, PC World

    I dunno the facts in this case, nor will I rely on publish-first ‘meme types’ as real reporters. And as the wise one hath said, ‘Checking your sources does not mean finding another website that says the same. Fiction is self-perpetuating.’

    But Harry has been right up your alley, buying lock and stock all the Valley slop, weird that he’s hard on Apple, and yet let’s all the start-up fraud kiddies off for good behavior.

  27. John: One of the things that has changed in our world over the last few years is the model for reporting opinion on the news. Today, commentators (like Mr. Scoble) comment in near real-time based on the information that is available.

    Even when it means publishing rumor as fact or near fact? The model for accuracy and integrity hasn’t changed, this is just scoop-ism writ large and fast. It’s bullshit. The current echo chamber will become fact, because even if the truth turns out to be far less exciting, no retraction or correction is going to get a tenth the play.

    The experience, knowledge and intuition of the commentator are considered by readers when reading the comments. Back when newspapers had twenty-four hours (and multiple reporters) we could pretty much count on the basics of the story being reliable. (Well, Harry Truman might argue some election results.)

    BAAAAHAHAHAAHAHA…nonsense. The assumption is “if it’s on the intarweb it must be true.” If that were not the case, then Snopes wouldn’t be nearly as busy as it is. Time and speed are no excuse for fact checking before you attempt to shit on someone’s rep. This is about to become an feeding frenzy, because no one gives a rat’s fuck about the whole story, just the salacious bits.

    If you want a near-100% accuracy level, you should probably wait for a weekly newsmagazine or monthly. If you understand the pressures of time and the market, you add a few grains of salt with anything you read.

    LMAO…”If you want accuracy, go back to MainStreamMedia. We only care for excitement and speed on the internets.” And people wonder why I consider the “blogsphere” a joke.

    From my experience, this site doesn’t need much salt.

    Oh you mean like when Robert publicly reamed someone from Microsoft Australia, and only AFTER his comments pointed out he was full of shit did he bother to contact the guy and find out that he had been misquoted? That’s not the first time Robert’s done this shit, just the most egregious example.

    Any time Robert appears to be quoting a fact, you better check the shit out of it.

  28. John: One of the things that has changed in our world over the last few years is the model for reporting opinion on the news. Today, commentators (like Mr. Scoble) comment in near real-time based on the information that is available.

    Even when it means publishing rumor as fact or near fact? The model for accuracy and integrity hasn’t changed, this is just scoop-ism writ large and fast. It’s bullshit. The current echo chamber will become fact, because even if the truth turns out to be far less exciting, no retraction or correction is going to get a tenth the play.

    The experience, knowledge and intuition of the commentator are considered by readers when reading the comments. Back when newspapers had twenty-four hours (and multiple reporters) we could pretty much count on the basics of the story being reliable. (Well, Harry Truman might argue some election results.)

    BAAAAHAHAHAAHAHA…nonsense. The assumption is “if it’s on the intarweb it must be true.” If that were not the case, then Snopes wouldn’t be nearly as busy as it is. Time and speed are no excuse for fact checking before you attempt to shit on someone’s rep. This is about to become an feeding frenzy, because no one gives a rat’s fuck about the whole story, just the salacious bits.

    If you want a near-100% accuracy level, you should probably wait for a weekly newsmagazine or monthly. If you understand the pressures of time and the market, you add a few grains of salt with anything you read.

    LMAO…”If you want accuracy, go back to MainStreamMedia. We only care for excitement and speed on the internets.” And people wonder why I consider the “blogsphere” a joke.

    From my experience, this site doesn’t need much salt.

    Oh you mean like when Robert publicly reamed someone from Microsoft Australia, and only AFTER his comments pointed out he was full of shit did he bother to contact the guy and find out that he had been misquoted? That’s not the first time Robert’s done this shit, just the most egregious example.

    Any time Robert appears to be quoting a fact, you better check the shit out of it.

  29. “commentators (like Mr. Scoble) comment in near real-time based on the information that is available.”

    Agreed – and that’s generally a good (or, at least, an interesting) thing.

    But, when that commentary makes assumptions or is based on “facts not in evidence”, it makes the commentator look like a knee jerk reactionary.

  30. “commentators (like Mr. Scoble) comment in near real-time based on the information that is available.”

    Agreed – and that’s generally a good (or, at least, an interesting) thing.

    But, when that commentary makes assumptions or is based on “facts not in evidence”, it makes the commentator look like a knee jerk reactionary.

  31. John: One of the things that has changed in our world over the last few years is the model for reporting opinion on the news. Today, commentators (like Mr. Scoble) comment in near real-time based on the information that is available.

    The experience, knowledge and intuition of the commentator are considered by readers when reading the comments. Back when newspapers had twenty-four hours (and multiple reporters) we could pretty much count on the basics of the story being reliable. (Well, Harry Truman might argue some election results.)

    If you want a near-100% accuracy level, you should probably wait for a weekly newsmagazine or monthly. If you understand the pressures of time and the market, you add a few grains of salt with anything you read.

    From my experience, this site doesn’t need much salt.

  32. John: One of the things that has changed in our world over the last few years is the model for reporting opinion on the news. Today, commentators (like Mr. Scoble) comment in near real-time based on the information that is available.

    The experience, knowledge and intuition of the commentator are considered by readers when reading the comments. Back when newspapers had twenty-four hours (and multiple reporters) we could pretty much count on the basics of the story being reliable. (Well, Harry Truman might argue some election results.)

    If you want a near-100% accuracy level, you should probably wait for a weekly newsmagazine or monthly. If you understand the pressures of time and the market, you add a few grains of salt with anything you read.

    From my experience, this site doesn’t need much salt.

  33. Let’s see:

    Kim Zetter’s story only has a few quotes from McCracken, nothing from the other side, and some anonymous quotes. Harry declined to go into specifics for Kim’s post.

    C|Net’s article is essentially a repurposing of Zetter’s, no direct information from Colin here either.

    Guardian Unlimited’s source? Wired. No quotes from Colin.

    Rojas’s article’s SOLE source? Wired. No quotes from Colin.

    So let’s see, out of four articles on this on Techmeme’s front page, there’s on original story, (Zetter’s) and three others that are echo-chambering that story. So in essence, at least according to Techmeme, everyone but Kim Zetter is basically an echo chamber here, and to date, NO ONE has any direct quotes from Colin Crawford.

    The only *facts* are:

    Harry McCracken resigned based on fundamental disagreements with Colin Crawford. He has to date declined to comment on the nature of those disagreements.

    The rest is rumor and heresay.

    Anything else?

  34. Let’s see:

    Kim Zetter’s story only has a few quotes from McCracken, nothing from the other side, and some anonymous quotes. Harry declined to go into specifics for Kim’s post.

    C|Net’s article is essentially a repurposing of Zetter’s, no direct information from Colin here either.

    Guardian Unlimited’s source? Wired. No quotes from Colin.

    Rojas’s article’s SOLE source? Wired. No quotes from Colin.

    So let’s see, out of four articles on this on Techmeme’s front page, there’s on original story, (Zetter’s) and three others that are echo-chambering that story. So in essence, at least according to Techmeme, everyone but Kim Zetter is basically an echo chamber here, and to date, NO ONE has any direct quotes from Colin Crawford.

    The only *facts* are:

    Harry McCracken resigned based on fundamental disagreements with Colin Crawford. He has to date declined to comment on the nature of those disagreements.

    The rest is rumor and heresay.

    Anything else?

  35. John: you’re right. I don’t know heck. But there’s lots of people who HAVE done research and who ARE represented over on TechMeme. Including calls to IDG and other people involved. THOSE are the basis of my opinions. Or, are you saying that all the facts being presented over on TechMeme are wrong? Do you have knowledge that they don’t have?

  36. John: you’re right. I don’t know heck. But there’s lots of people who HAVE done research and who ARE represented over on TechMeme. Including calls to IDG and other people involved. THOSE are the basis of my opinions. Or, are you saying that all the facts being presented over on TechMeme are wrong? Do you have knowledge that they don’t have?

  37. It’s called product placements, brand integration, tie-ins, etc. People are tired of advertising (psychological reactance), but Magazines have to get paid. Magazines either accept product placement stories, or do the unspoken: I’m going to scratch your back and hope it works out in the future. The problem is, people don’t know magazines are being paid to write about certain products and authors tend to be less genuine or critical.

  38. It’s called product placements, brand integration, tie-ins, etc. People are tired of advertising (psychological reactance), but Magazines have to get paid. Magazines either accept product placement stories, or do the unspoken: I’m going to scratch your back and hope it works out in the future. The problem is, people don’t know magazines are being paid to write about certain products and authors tend to be less genuine or critical.

  39. Goddamnit Robert, you don’t know both sides, nor all the facts, yet you already assume you know the whole story. Pull your head out of your ass for a goddamned minute, and either do some goddamned research or wait until someone else does. Don’t you get tired of jumping on something, then when you find out the facts, you have to print retractions/apologies/etc?

    You don’t know any of the details, you aren’t asking the other side, Colin Crawford to talk to you in this, you’re just going on heresay. Again.

    Jesus, make this habit something ELSE you left behind at Microsoft.

  40. Goddamnit Robert, you don’t know both sides, nor all the facts, yet you already assume you know the whole story. Pull your head out of your ass for a goddamned minute, and either do some goddamned research or wait until someone else does. Don’t you get tired of jumping on something, then when you find out the facts, you have to print retractions/apologies/etc?

    You don’t know any of the details, you aren’t asking the other side, Colin Crawford to talk to you in this, you’re just going on heresay. Again.

    Jesus, make this habit something ELSE you left behind at Microsoft.

  41. Good to see someone taking a stand. The sham that is the magazine business needs to be exposed. Very often, from computer to hi-fi magazines, reviews and other editorial are biased in favour of advertisers.

    Almost as bad as pay per post blogging…

    Maybe Jason Calacanis could hire Harry for Project X… Like I know what Project X is – it could be a pyramid selling scheme for Jura coffee machines, for all I know ;-)

  42. Good to see someone taking a stand. The sham that is the magazine business needs to be exposed. Very often, from computer to hi-fi magazines, reviews and other editorial are biased in favour of advertisers.

    Almost as bad as pay per post blogging…

    Maybe Jason Calacanis could hire Harry for Project X… Like I know what Project X is – it could be a pyramid selling scheme for Jura coffee machines, for all I know ;-)

Comments are closed.