My musing on why it took Forbes so long to reach a deal with its own editor, Dan Lyons, to bring his Secret Diary of Steve Jobs to Forbes.com, raised a question in my mind: How do we know the outing of Fake Steve Jobs wasn't an inside job? There's one very close link: Damon Darlin, the recently appointed technology editor at the Times who edited the story, used to work at Forbes. I have the utmost respect for the reporting skills of Brad Stone, the Times reporter who broke the story, and believe he discovered Lyons on his own, the old-fashioned way, through hard work and shoe-leather reporting. But is it possible Forbes insiders, to create buzz for both Lyons's forthcoming Fake Steve book, Options, and the arrival of his blog on Forbes.com, fed the Times just enough tidbits to help Stone land the scoop — or, at the very least, decided to play along once they learned he was on the hunt?
Forbes.com's coverage of Fake Steve Sunday seemed curiously prepared, with a video, a column by publisher Rich Karlgaard, and a host of companion pieces. Sure, they could have worked on them over the weekend after getting calls from Stone and his colleague John Markoff on Saturday. But I'm still curious about the timing of it all. Some have accused Gawker Media publisher Nick Denton, this blog's owner, of running Fake Steve jobs as an elaborate publicity stunt for Valleywag. Is our opinion of mainstream media now so low that no one's willing to think the people at Forbes capable of the same Machiavellian marketing?
Update: Darlin tells me that "how the story came down is exactly as we reported." Fair enough. Let's assume that the Times got this scoop on their own time schedule, and leave that bit aside. But doesn't it seem, nonetheless, that Forbes had this all planned?