An item here this morning noted that the most-posted version of Newsday's funny iPad app commercial - the one where a Dad uses an iPad as a flyswatter, with predictable results -- had gone missing from YouTube.
I didn't know then and I still don't know now why the clip was removed, only that readers on many news sites and blogs were getting shut out from seeing the thing.
A few hours later we do have something of a clue. I just received this statement from Paul Fleishman, vice president of public affairs for Newsday: "We have taken the commercial 'Flypaper' down and its short, glorious run appears to be over."
That was it. No explanation. I've asked him why and if they would be asking YouTube to remove all the other copies that were still on that site as of this morning. No word back as I type. (Update, Friday: Purported Newsday insider says Apple did it; details in a new post and at the end of this one.)
I've also asked the Apple public relations department if perhaps Apple had something to do with the YouTube takedown and Newsday's apparent matter-of-factness about ending the ad's "short, glorious run."
Am I too quick to suspect involvement on Apple's part?
Maybe, and my apologies to the company should that prove the case. But riddle me this: Of the parties involved in the commercial's production and distribution, either directly or indirectly, who other than Apple would conceivably be anything other than thrilled by the fact that it went viral?
Newsday? Thrilled. See "glorious run."
The artists who conceived and shot the video? Please. They live for viral.
That would seem to leave Apple.
As I wrote a few hours ago:
Maybe someone at Apple decided that all the laughter generated by an abused iPad wasn't helpful.
Or maybe Steve was not amused.
Someone obviously had a reason for objecting to this perfectly harmless, highly amusing 30-second spot. I can't imagine that reason being a good one.
(Update: Just got this from Newsday's Fleishman in response to my request for an explanation: "Sorry but I don't have anything else to provide." Hmmmm, newspapers are generally more forthcoming, what with explaining things being their line of business and all. ... Still waiting on Apple, my suspicions only heightened.)
(Update 2: A second version of the clip I had used on the earlier post was disabled on YouTube shortly after 2 p.m. Would seem that a full-fledged take-down is in progress. ... Still waiting on Apple.)
(Update 3: Still no word from Apple as of 6 p.m. In the meantime, if you still haven't seen the video in question, there are plenty of copies available on YouTube. Watch while you can.)
(Update 4, 8:30 a.m., Friday, Aug. 17: This morning I open an e-mail from someone purporting to work at Newsday and asking that his identity not be revealed. "Newsday got a cease and desist letter threatening all of our apps, if we did not remove the commercial immediately. They took exception to the fact that the (iPad) glass shattered into large jagged pieces ... Your instincts are correct." I cannot confirm the authenticity of this e-mail or vouch for its accuracy, but it rings true to me.)
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