Here is an edited version of a request for clarification sent to Bloomberg reporters and editor for the May 13th, 2012 story “Apple Co-Founder Wozniak Would Buy Facebook At Any [Price]“.
I was in touch with Apple Co-Founder Mr. Steve Wozniak electronically yesterday [see lengthy exchange in this public post’s comments]. And I was very disturbed to hear Mr. Wozniak telling me his view on Facebook “investment” had been distorted by Bloomberg. At the core, Mr. Wozniak told me that he made it clear to Bloomberg’s reporters that any purchase of Facebook shares would be just “ceremonial” (he gave the analogy, like “waiting in line for iPhones“). The following are Mr. Wozniak’s words. Emphasis are added by me to draw your attention.
“if I bought Facebook shares (it wasn’t possible due to my schedule) it would not be as an investor but rather ceremonial, like waiting in line for iPhones. But that got missed by a lot of people. I’m very sorry if they duped you.“
This is in direct contrary to the video excerpt Bloomberg decided to include. Here is a transcript of the broadcasted video exchange between Bloomberg reporter Ms. Tandon and Mr. Wozniak re investing in Facebook (~00:22 to 00:37)
Reporter: “Would you invest in Facebook?”
Answer: “I would invest in Facebook. I don’t care what the opening price is. I would, just for good reasons. Especially if was an investor looking to make money.”
Mr. Wozniak also wrote the following. And again, I have added emphasis to draw your attention. [see excerpt from public post’s comments]
“I have a great idea. Why don’t you contact the reporter and ask him if, before the interview, I told him how I don’t read financial papers and have never used the iPhone stock price app and that I couldn’t answer financial questions. He was a very good tech reporter but asked that question at the end. It was a trick and a setup, as he’d heard my explanation an hour before during my speech. I think this may have been in Singapore. You have to ask how ethical that was. He knew the truth but set it up in a way that would deceive you. And it was my intent at that time to buy Facebook stock, but not as an investment, and the reporter knew that well. I had told him that my wife and I don’t trade stocks and all we have is Apple and Fusion-io. So he knew the truth but published otherwise. Sorry, but at the end of a tired day one word may have been wrong (invest instead of buy) but 2 people, myself and the reporter, knew it was not an investment. I doubt I used the word “investment” since it’s a word not in my vocabulary. I have never in my life invested in stock. Please contact the reporter to verify this and let him know what you think. And ask him not to do it to the next “nice” guy.”
I personally don’t know Mr. Wozniak and had only got in touch with him yesterday. Mr. Michael Tighe, as the Bloomberg editor in charge of this article, can you please confirm with the Bloomberg reporters if Mr. Wozniak’s view got distorted seriously. At times I am a blunt reporter and based on Bloomberg’s original report, I had written,
“I love +Steve Wozniak for his tech but his investment “advice” was worst than idiotic.”
To me, Bloomberg’s reputation is on the line here. Distorting a “ceremonial” purchase of Facebook stocks and turning it into a story with title “Apple Co-Founder Wozniak Would Buy Facebook At Any [Price]” is a serious journalist blunder at least or an inexcusably unethical behaviour at worst.
Finally, Ms. Shraysi Tandon, Mr. David Fickling, and Mr. Michael Tighe, I hope if there was a mistake, Bloomberg will do the honourable thing and issue a formal correction and apologize. Since you are all professional journalists, I don’t need to remind why we in the business of reporting will all remember Jayson Blair (former reporter with New York Times) or Stephen Glass (former reporter with The New Republic) for a very long time to come.
Please kindly recheck the source and basis of your story and issue a correction and apology if a mistake was made. Please let me know an error was indeed made, I would like to promptly issue my apology to Mr. Wozniak in saying his “investment “advice” was worst than idiotic” based on Bloomberg’s May 13th report.
freelance TV reporter, commentator & blogger
P.S. Cross posted onto examiner.com. I am hoping to hear from Bloomberg really soon to set the record straight.
Have a watch of this rare interview via Apple Insider, “Third Apple co-founder sold 10% stake to avoid paper pushing, risk“
– Woz goes hands-on with technology relics [cNet with video]
– Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is a Silicon Valley treasure [Mercury News]