They Just Don't Get Apple!

NEW YORK, (TheStreet) -- You can downplay a vague, unspecified sellout. Or you can shout it to the skies. When it comes to Apple ( AAPL) and the so-called "Sell-Out!" of its new iPad, most of the media opted for the first, hyperbolic route, even though good sense dictates the second.

Here's the crux of the matter: Apple unfurled its new iPad last week. The iPad apparently fell out of stock, almost immediately. According to much of the media, this was great news!

But there is a caveat the size of a 1958 Chevy: we have no idea how many were in stock in the first place.

The Wall Street Journal got it right. They didn't specifically showcase the sell-out issue in the headline. And in only the fourth sentence, we hear the key: "The company declined to release specific sales figures."

Compare that to a more gullible effort from All Things D, which started with a breathless reference to all-night waits for future iPad shoppers, but did not mention (in the lead or entire body of the article) that no one knows how many iPads sold out: "Hoping to get your hands on one of Apple's new iPads this Friday, but haven't gotten around to pre-ordering one? Then it's time to dust off that urban camping gear. Apple has sold out of launch day pre-orders."

Look: Apple is a good enough company and the iPad a good enough product not to need a media complicit in hype. That's why the media do not need to fall for what is often the easiest hype job in the book. Speaking of books, Amazon ( AMZN) is (in)famous for the same stunt. Make a smaller than needed initial run, then announce a sell-out! Happy headlines to follow. That's not to say that the new iPad won't eventually sell well. But don't take an article that fails to mention lack of first run production specifics as proof.
At the time of publication, Fuchs had no positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this column.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers and a money manager before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. He also did back-up beat coverage of The New York Knicks for the paper's Sports section for two seasons and covered other professional and collegiate sports. He has contributed frequently to many of the Times' other sections, including National, Metro, Escapes, Style, Real Estate, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Money & Business, Circuits and the Op-Ed Page.

For his "Business Press Maven" column on how business and finance are covered by the media, Fuchs was named best business journalist critic in the nation by the Talking Biz website at The University of North Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Fuchs is a frequent speaker on the business media, in venues ranging from National Public Radio to the annual conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Fuchs appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

If you liked this article you might like

Shark Tank Star Kevin O'Leary Is Trying to Solve America's Retirement Crisis

Preet Bharara, Formerly Wall Street's Top Cop, Turns to Comedy, Podcasting

The 12 Most Ridiculous Kitchen Appliances You Can Buy From Amazon