Jon Stewart’s Show on Apple is ending

But Mr. Stewart and Apple executives had disagreements over some of the topics and guests on “The Problem,” two of the people said. Mr. Stewart told members of his staff on Thursday that potential show topics related to China and artificial intelligence were causing concern among Apple executives, a person with knowledge of the meeting said. As the 2024 presidential campaign begins to heat up, there was potential for further creative disagreements, one of the people said.

Big Tech companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and X have come to dominate much of the digital landscape, including how people discover and consume news. This creates several problems…

First, Big Tech's primary monetization model is through advertising revenue. As more and more attention and advertising dollars have shifted to digital platforms and away from traditional publishers, news media outlets have increasingly relied on platforms like Google and Facebook and, to a lesser extent, hardware/software platforms like iOS to drive traffic to their sites. But the incentives are f**ked - platforms are motivated to maximize profit, usage, engagement and ad revenue, while quality journalism requires time, resources and editorial integrity.

Second, because of their massive user bases and traffic, Big Tech has news publishers over a barrel. Publishers have little leverage or recourse if tech platforms change algorithms in ways that impact referral traffic. There have been multiple instances where sites have seen their organic search visibility plummet overnight due to Google algorithm tweaks. Facebook routinely changes News Feed ranking factors that can significantly influence publisher distribution and engagement. This consolidates a lot of indirect editorial control in the hands of Big Tech executives.

Finally, Big Tech's fiduciary duty is to serve shareholders, not uphold journalistic standards. While Google's old motto was "Don't be evil", at the end of the day, companies like Google, Facebook and Apple will prioritize access to lucrative (and inhumane) markets like China over ethics. Apple has complied with China's censorship demands, removing news apps from its Chinese App Store. Google had developed a censored search engine for China before public outcry forced them to abandon it. Big Tech is willing to undermine the free press for greater market access.

Apple is the only member of the OG Big Tech companies actively pursuing an editorial role, making their misalignment with the free press far more apparent in this instance…

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