The iPad — It's very strange. It started arriving in stores April 1 and the reviewers are already calling it a game changer but one aspect of the new device is causing consternation among some.
Of the 60,000 books accessible to the new device's e-reader, 90 percent of all the available books seem to have been written by women, LGBT people and people of color. Accusations of censorship, bias and discrimination are already coming in.
"Publishers have a responsibility to serve the public interest, to represent the full width and breadth of intellectual experience," Lynne Cheney of the American Enterprise Institute complained.
Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family was particularly concerned about the absence of Christian evangelical titles. "Publishing has a historic mandate to foster diversity and freedom of expression."
Apple's e-reader division say they see no problem with the selections. This is a reader of the future and the selections reflect future reader demographics. Besides, said a spokeswoman, those who are looking for minority authors can find them easily elsewhere, in libraries, for example, or in second hand book stores. "Old arguments about political correctness or public service mandates in media no longer hold much water in the era of the world wide web."
Apple may have a massive marketing budget, but it's hardly a monopoly, said a staffer at the FCC. "Unlike the bad old days of the past, any special interest group can access information and entertainment to suit their tastes on the internet." Don't find what you like on the iPad? Find it in condensed 140 character form on Twitter.
Guess it would really be a game changer if this wasn't an April Fool's commentary.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Support us by signing up for our podcast, and follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.