back to article Apple bans Pulitzer Prize political cartoons from iPhone

This week, a California political cartoonist was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. Last December, Apple's App Store police barred his work from its hallowed online halls. As reported Thursday by Harvard University's Nieman Journalism Lab, Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist Mark Fiore submitted his cartoon app NewsToons to …


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  1. morphoyle
    Thumb Down

    Defend Steve!

    I can't wait to see all the comments defending Apple for this. I'm sure all the Steve worshipers will come up with some ludicrous BS excuse. Come on, let's hear them.... I need a good laugh.

    1. fred #257

      How about...

      "igroupies are too dumb to understand satire anyway?"

      (Hey, it wasn't *me* who decided they shouldn't be allowed to see political cartoons, was it?)

    2. Player_16

      Well, it is Flash.

      He should resend it as a Obj-C or HTML5 etc. It might go to another checker...

      ...with a better sense of humour. (Fat chance)

    3. chr0m4t1c
      Thumb Down

      Deliberately misleading

      It's more likely that the "defamatory" bit is what Apple are worried about here.

      Cartoonists and their publishers or editors /have/ been in trouble in the US and the rest of the world in the past for defamatory cartoons and given the nature of the app store it is entirely possible that a court would see Apple as a publisher - or at least any plaintiff would probably start their litigation at Apple's door because they have a bigger bank balance. If nothing else it's a drag on resources.

      It's entirely possible that this could be fixed with a disclaimer that's probably currently missing from the app.

      Sure, it sucks, but just because the guy won a Pulitzer Prize is doesn't mean he won't get them in legal hot water later.

      Perhaps you would like to publish his future cartoons without vetting them if you think there's nothing to worry about.

      1. chr0m4t1c

        This is being reported differently elsewhere

        Many sites are saying the developer agreement forbids “ridiculing public figures” and a quick search shows that it's not the first app to be rejected on those grounds.

        I don't have access to the developer agreement, so is El Reg quoting the wrong clause or are the other sites incorrect?

    4. ChrisB 2
      Jobs Horns

      No defence

      I've got a few Apple toys and I quite like them, iMac better than Windoze for me, iPhone works for me, will likely buy an iPad v2 yadda, yadda, yadda.

      This censorship, however, is monumentally stupid. Why don't Apple just get over themsleves and have an "adult themes" section of iTunes & App Store with a second level of access protection if they're that worried about it? This would likely be their most profitablke section:-)


  2. Wrenchy

    Apple censors...

    Trying too hard to "protect us"

    Hitler burned books that he did not approve of. Maybe Steve Jobs is doing the same?

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge

      Now, now

      There's no need to Godwin the comments this early.

      1. Raumkraut

        Godwin away

        This is an Apple story, Godwinning the comments can never come soon enough.

      2. Stone Fox
        Jobs Horns

        I hate to disagree

        but I think for once (possibly the first time in recorded history even) it's actually justified.

      3. Intractable Potsherd

        @ Tom Maddox

        "There's no need to Godwin the comments this early" - why not? The parallels are inescapable, and the Godwinning (is that a word?) is actually appropriate. The reasons for Apple's decision are irrelevant, the result is all that matters. Free speech is one of the most important things we have in society, once basic needs for food, water, shelter etc are met, and anyone messing with them should be dealt with harshly.

    2. The BigYin


      Think what you like about Jobs, but he is no Hitler. Your moral relativism is disgusting and belittles the suffering and deaths of millions. Go hang your head in shame.

    3. Euchrid

      re: Apple censors

      “Hitler burned books that he did not approve of.”

      Actually, Hitler didn’t – sorry to be a pedant. The book burnings you’re referring to was part of a NSDAP campaign to purge ‘’Un-German” elements from German culture – Goebbels played a leading role in this. The book burnings tended to be done by a Nazi student association.

      Public book burnings were hardly a new thing – and in fact, there were similar ones organised by German students, for roughly the same reasons, over a century earlier.

      When Germany was occupied after WWII, the Allies also destroyed tens of thousands of different texts that it didn’t approve of – including poetry. Note, that these works were necessarily by Nazi authors (or even contemporary authors) but were of a "undemocratic, militaristic and Nazi" nature. Definitions? “Everything American people think and call democratic." (,9171,776847,00.html). At the time, the Americans said this was no different than the the Nazi book burnings.

    4. Fatman
      Big Brother

      RE: Apple censors

      Quote: "Hitler burned books that he did not approve of. Maybe Steve Jobs is doing the same?"

      Dear Moderatrix,

      Can we PLEASE have a Jobs `like Hitler` icon??? (Think Jobs with a `Hitler` like mustache and appropriate Nazi uniform.)

      Pretty please!!!!

      1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: RE: Apple censors

        What makes you think that

        a) I have any say in these matters whatsoever and

        b) that I would indulge you if I did?

        Run along now.

  3. Watashi


    You have been pwned.

    Sent from my iPhone.

    On April 15, 2010 at 8:30PM, wrote:

    > Dear Steve,

    > Why am I unable to view important cultural material on my iPhone?

    > Cheers

    > Sent from my iPhone

  4. bluedonkey

    Pass through not immune

    Pass-through apps are certainly not immune - I had a version of my tech-news aggregator app rejected because they didn't like one of the headlines that one of the news sources was running the day they reviewed the app. Never mind that the site is accessible via Safari.

    I also had the regular news version rejected once because the Washington Post has a search bar on their site, and that means the app could be used to find porn. Again, nevermind that Safari is much simpler for that purpose.

  5. paulf

    "offensive or defamatory" content?

    Just change the law and constitution. Not that big of a deal


    [I'm sure I'm not the only one who thought of something similar - Coat please, I'm outta here!]

  6. Crazy Operations Guy
    Big Brother

    Proves what I have said for a while

    Big Brother will not come from our government, but from our corporations.

    1. M Gale
      Thumb Up

      Plus One

      I've a feeling you might like The AntiTerrorist. Youtube search. Lovely videos.

  7. Dazed and Confused


    Can't help feeling that attacking a cartoonist is some of a dumb move.

    Let's face it, your PR department wouldn't want you to end up on the wrong side of one.

  8. Efros
    Thumb Down

    First amendment rights?

    But then we are talking about the Jobsian states of Ameerica.

    1. Paul RND*1000

      The reality distortion field...

      ...doesn't have a first amendment. Or any free speech provisions whatsoever.

  9. Neil Greatorex

    Watch out Rik

    Members of the "Jobsian Cult" could be outside your window tonight, thinking how to get inside......

    I absolutely abhor all things Apple, have done since the first Mac; my brother & brother in law both had Macs & would evangelise. I was working with CP/M or unix (depending on project) at the time.

    I recently installed iTunes on my XP box, so my nipper could use his iWhatever, what a sodding nightmare. The box *had been* up since 2004, as it only runs Mercury & (occasionally) a Quake server. OK, I admit, it is also the box where pictures of ladies without their vests may be displayed. Sometimes.

    Box = borked, what a prawn. Note to self: Any Apple software/hardware = Nooooooooooo!!!!!

    1. karakalWitchOfTheWest
      Gates Horns


      But if you had a Windows XP Box running since 2004 without reinstalling: Shame on you...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Jobs Horns


        Shame... Managing to keep XP running since 2010 is more impressive than shameful. My XP installs rarely made it more than a couple of months.

        I, too, recently made the fatal mistake of installing iTunes on my old PC, running XP. - Wtf is bounjure and how the hell do you get rid of it? I've tried everything short of physically scratching it of the HDD and it still always keeps popping up. - No way in hell I'll be so much as entering an Apple website again.

        And what is this "gap-less playback" it keeps determining? None of my other players does this and they play everything without a single "gap". - And no, I don't care about compatibility with iWhatever or Apple's own proprietary codecs.

        Damn it... where did I put my Ubuntu DVD again?!

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Reg to the rescue

    So.. The ban only became relevant when he won a pulti?

  11. Eddy Ito

    Offensive apps

    Apple doesn't ban offensive apps. How else can one explain iTunes? I know plenty of people who are offended by some of the music and movies sold there. Personally, I'd say don't buy it if you're offended, but I guess there is a reason they call it a double standard.

  12. Steen Hive


    "It's Apple's platform, they can do what they like with it" .. vomit.


  13. M Gale

    Critical Mass

    Just needs enough developers to jump ship (or at least, consider iWhatever as a secondary platform), and the customers will follow - probably all the way to a certain robot/penguin halfbreed OS.

    So what's keeping you?

    1. Gulfie
      Thumb Up


      Already have a robot (Nexus One) alongside my Jesus Phone (tm). The only feature that is missing from the vanilla Android 2.1 is USB/Bluetooth contact and calendar sych. Was originally going to upgrade the iPhone - the Nexus is mainly for Android development - now I'm not so sure I'll bother.

    2. Atli

      @M Gale

      Sadly, the iPhone is what the "non-technical" crowd wants, regardless of it's features or usability.

      And right now, if you attempt to go towards any of the other platforms, you are likely to get trampled by the hordes of iFans and the kind of developers that are *still* developing websites for IE6, on their way to worship at the Jobsian church of censored proprietarism.

      I just hope all this blows up in Apple's face, not ours.

  14. D. Suse
    Jobs Horns

    Please edit Steve Jobs' picture....

    ...perhaps photoshop a little black moustache. A black comb-over might also help people better understand his motives and apparent respect for humanity. This could be used on the main Reg page (and also in the postings). The horns just do not do him enough justice.

    Its amazing that the Apple corporation (and customers and developers of the same) continue to blindly follow Jobs' increasingly-insane power-mad rantings.

  15. oritpro

    Never Care Much for the Apple Kool-aid

    Overpriced - I can buy/build three Win 7 machines for less than the price of an Apple Mac _____

    Underwhelming - Too many holes in their offerings - Paper weight, Laptop on a stand, or CAD WS

    Over-hyped - Apple sells computers; and yes they do crash and do get infected with mal-ware

    Socialist Policies - "It's our platform and WE'LL tell YOU what you can and can't do with it"

    Proud to be Apple free! They're really pulling out all the stops to make Microsoft look like Saints these days.

    1. Gordon is not a Moron

      get your left and right wings sorted out

      Apple having socialist policies?? really?? If they had socialist policies the iPhone would cost someone living in Beverly Hills $50,000; whilst at the same time the people in Compton would get them for free.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Never Care Much for the Apple Kool-aid

      "Socialist Policies - "It's our platform and WE'LL tell YOU what you can and can't do with it"

      Socialist? And where did you pick your politics, professor?

    3. blackworx

      Socialist != Authoritarian

      Are you American by any chance? What is it with Americans and this insistence that Socialist = Authoritarian Communist? I've never heard the word used in such a derogatory way as from the lips/fingers of Americans.

      Apologies if you're not from the US - but still either way you shouldn't be drinking /their/ Kool-Aid quite so much.

      Otherwise I'm in complete agreement with you.

  16. gimbal

    It's all in the Jobs-Cult "Vision"

    ...just turn to page 523 of the Heaven's Gate, I mean Apple, Inc - manual.

    I bet this comment would be censored by Apple. Long live the king!

    Seriously, it's looking like they could use to do some soul-searching up at Apple HQ. Their whilly-nilly approach to censorship, as I truly believe, is far less than one might expect from a member of the free-market economy .

  17. Big-nosed Pengie
    Jobs Horns

    Hardly a day goes by...

    ...when something doesn't remind me why I've never bought any of Apple's crap and never will.

  18. Wile E. Veteran

    What's the old saying?

    "Don't pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel."

  19. Anonymous Coward


    "are we to have a censor whose imprimatur shall say what books may be sold, and what we may buy?"

    linux cause, y'know, i'm writing this on my n900.

  20. David McMahon
    Jobs Halo


    Every day I hate apple more and more, I think of their 1984 add all the time and its clear that perhaps we viewed the advert wrongly??? Perhaps it was edited b4 screening and Apple were too embarrassed to re issue the advert?

    Halo Icon because im sure he judges himself like that.

  21. Winkypop Silver badge

    Serious question

    Is Steve Jobs connected to the Scientology movement at all?

    He seems to run a very similar type of operation/cult.

    1. Intractable Potsherd
      Thumb Up

      I'd always assumed ...

      ... that he is. The behaviour just seems to fit perfectly.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what?

    Fox News is deciding what is being said/broadcast on its own channels, both by paid reporters and unpaid contributors. The Register is also filtering content posted here. We have multiple sources of information so we can make our own opinion.

    It's like lambasting the GOP for not being pro-abortion...

    Get a life ;)

    1. Alex Rose

      Words fail me....

      If you can't tell the difference between somebody telling me what I can watch on my own device and a content provider choosing what content to provide then I fear for the future of the human race.

      I have a Samsung LCD and Panasonic plasma TV, I can watch BBC News 24 on both of them because they are merely devices for DISPLAYING content. If I wish to obtain a different slant on the news I can simply change channels to Sky News, CNN etc. Neither Samsung nor Panasonic try to limit what I can watch within the technical limits of their devices.

      Have I put that in simply enough terms for you?

    2. Solomon Grundy

      This What

      If you have legitimate information to provide you should contact the news desk at The Register or the author of this article. They are surprisingly responsive and for the most part unbiased.

      Otherwise go away.

  23. My Alter Ego

    re: So what

    Must not feed the trolls. To be honest the only comment here that I've had censored was one bemoaning the lack of political assassinations in this country, which to be fair was pretty sensible.

    Faux News is a just bad example in it's on right.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns


    "Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content"

    What about Playboy? Or do they have to have so much money that Steve Jobs will accept it?

    1. hitmouse
      Big Brother

      Pass through content

      Apple is now setting extremely high standards for pass-through user content on dating apps like Grindr (which are already rated on the store for Mature Content).

      The Tappliban will soon require complete control over all content through iall imedia ichannels.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    What an opportunity

    for the "we hate everything Apple because we're really envious of people who can afford one" mob to tell us all once again how much they hate Apple. I see one of the contributors could "build three Win 7 machines for the price of a Mac" and I won't even labour the lie about how Macs "crash and are riddled with mal-ware", like he'd know. That alone tells me more about the quality of most PCs, and the comments posted above tell me more about the limited qualities of the posters themselves.

    Steve Jobs could well be an obnoxious prick. Just as long as his company continues to set the computing trends that all you rather sorry so-called "Apple haters" are forced to follow with your PCs that are inevitably second rate and second to market, I'll continue to buy Apple kit.

    1. hitmouse
      Jobs Horns

      setting the standard

      "Just as long as his company continues to set the computing trends that all you rather sorry so-called "Apple haters" are forced to follow with your PCs that are inevitably second rate and second to market, I'll continue to buy Apple kit."

      And the fascists got the trains running on time!

    2. blackworx

      Re: What an Opportunity

      What's so great about setting trends by taking the lowest common denominator of other folks' ideas, putting them in shiny white cases and charging 3x the price for them? Apple's current run of success is a story of clever marketing, impeccable timing and not much innovation.

      There is going to be the biggest mass case of schadenfreude when Apple finally takes a tumble and goes back to its erstwhile position of industry basket case.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      "second rate and second to market"

      My god, you really do believe the hype don't you?

      Pop quiz: name a single device Apple has been first to market with.

      Personal computer? No.

      Tablet computer? No.

      MP3 player? No.

      Touch screen MP3 player? No.

      Flash based MP3 player? No.

      Mobile 'phone? No.

      App store? No.

      Er, mouse? No.

      Er, um, GUI/WIMP? Oh alright then they can have that one. Not exactly difficult though since all it involved was putting the people who originally came up with the idea on the Apple payroll.

      Reality distortion field generator? That's a definite "yes". Although still "no" on a technicality since they've never officially marketed that one, preferring to keep it to themselves for use on fools like you.

      Second rate? Have you not seen the failure rate of some of Apple's kit? Have you never tried to replace an iPod battery? Have you been lucky enough never to have encountered the utterly pish sound quality, power and RFI susceptibility of early iPods and iPod minis? I've got a Sinclair QL in the house that's outlived three iPods.

      Granted, half the personal PC hardware world is floundering around in Apple's wake right now, but the reasons for that are nothing to do with Apple being first rate or first to market with anything.

    4. M Gale

      My Apple Mac... old 450mhz Power Mac. G4 I believe. It was given to me with a blown PSU, with the words "it's yours, fix it if you like."

      Fair enough, I figured. So I pop the thing apart, and take a look. Indeed, the PSU is completely cream crackered. It's the same size as an ATX. Has the same plugs as an ATX. Made by some cheapo Chinese manufacturer, just like most ATX supplies are.

      But, the motherboard socket has a different pin order, and a 28V line. Now if this were a 250W PC power supply, I could probably pick one up for next to nothing. However, it's a SPESHUL Apple PSU. The cost? About £200.

      Hence, my G4 Power Mac is still sitting here being rather dead until I can figure out where to wrangle 28 volts from and do some Blue Peter engineering with wire cutters and an old PC PSU.

      Second rate? Yes, quite.

  26. Jean-Paul

    Win win

    for the amazing PR machine...this cartoonist is getting his publicity and lots of hits....and there isn't a day that Apple isn't on these pages...

    Sorry what was the problem again?

  27. Jared Earle
    Jobs Halo

    UK Libel laws

    Anyone that has been following UK libel reform should understand why Apple doesn't allow Apps that satirise public figures.

    Books? Films? TV Shows? Sure, they're not the publisher. Apps? They're in the firing line.

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. blackworx

      Re: Jobsian rule in the Obama era

      WTF? I don't know where to begin with your paranoiac nonsense. Ok not very many of us here like apple all that much, but wtf does it have to do with Obama? Since when has the mainstream media demonized "everything that is not skewed to the far left"? And do you even know what "far left" means? Cos sure as hell Obama ain't it. I bet you're another one of those people who don't know what socialist means and think everyone you don't personally know or haven't seen ranting nonsense on Fox News is probably a pinko commie liberal hippie baby eater. Well you're right, we ARE all pinko commie liberal hippie baby eaters and we're out to eat your babies, rarrr!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    apple is getting worse not better

    I'm a gadget freak and got hoodwinked into getting an iPhone (which i will be selling soon), I thought perhaps apple had changed but they are even more control orinented now than ever.

    Totally agree Jobs' icon should be photoshopped to look like like hitler, even better then remove the halo one - that'll please the appletards!

    The iPhone is my first and last apple device. I do not understand why iPhone competitors do not heavily advertise / point out apples level of control and censorship over a device that is not owned by them.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Last sentence

    "To gain admission into the iTunes App Store, a political commentator shouldn't have to win a Pulitzer Prize."

    But surely, if - and it is if - Apple does do a U-turn, it's going to be because of the publicity/uproar over this news, rather than the fact that the chap's won a gong?

    Something this story alluded to, but which other coverage has honed in on more - and to my mind, the most troubling aspect - that media outlets are quite happy signing up for fabled iPad salvation, whilst ceding ultimate editorial control to Apple.

  31. Tom 13

    Bog ass stupid? Absolutely.

    Censorship? No more than ABC, CBS, NBC, or dare I say even the local San Francisco rag. Only difference is they call it "editorial choice."

    Unconstitutional? Please get at least a 2.0 in US Constitutional Foundations before making comments like that. The US Constitution only prohibits the Federal, State, and local governments from prohibiting speech based on content. All others are welcome to provide you with as much or as little free speech as they want.

  32. j-g-faustus

    Tinfoil? Not so much

    <i>And if you'd like to don your favorite tinfoil hat for a moment, note that the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement doesn't explicitly state that content displayed through a pass-through app is immune from the "offensive or defamatory content" prohibition.</i>

    Already happened to the German newspaper Bild. Their app was apparently removed for not censoring the Page 3 girl in the PDF version of the printed paper that was available for download through the app:

  33. Paul Bruneau

    Just put your cartoons on a web page

    not a big deal

  34. Inachu

    this apple posting policy.

    I bet it was dressed up around one persons religious idelologies.

    Kinda reminds me of that one comment I remember reading.....

    It is only considered pornography only if it makes the judges D*CK hard.

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Why bother with the app in the first place?

    "We'll gloss over that risible "reasonable judgement" bit and instead pose a simple question: "

    Let me stop you there.

    A far more sensible questions is this: Why do you need an app to view these cartoons? He could just post them on the internet and everyone will be able to see them...

    1. Rattus Rattus

      The cartoons are on his web page

      However, you need Flash to view them.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I need a keyboard

    Forget iX revolutions.

    I need a brushed metal, illuminated keys and back-pane, modifiable (on the casing and layout ergo the brushed aluminum and individual key-faces to be mod with a "special alphabet") and (preferably kvm certified)

    Alternatively an clear acrylic mod able base

    I don't want a bunch of glue and crap. So if were installing anything were starting from scratch with the case which holds together the keyboard. Any lights will be routed, hidden, pleasing to look at. No ugly blotches of corporate freakin graffiti with proprietary politics . It's time to wake these people up to the crap, and dig for the resources to invent. I can't be bothered with an iAnything, I am too busy with production, non of that TL;TD crap. While I am not yet at the point of fighting over render time, hello.

    Oh was this about iStore?

    I remember two cool pieces of art growing up.

    will tell you about one.

    a green caterpillar thing with legs and the words, "WHO AM I" centered above it's body

    no question mark. Green Bug, Black - outline, White Background

    (I also have an original Oracle poster, a pair actually, Webmaster, and the VRML one.. ;o)

    ORIGIN: iDelete The Tweet App? (who wants those InBareAss-ing tweets in the wanking libary of CONgress?)


  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Anonymous Coward, Why bother with the app in the first place? #Posted Friday 16th April 2010 15:12 GMT

    A far more sensible questions is this: Why do you need an app to view these cartoons? He could just post them on the internet and everyone will be able to see them...

    LETS PLAY Q me a Q shall we?

    Why should gogo, yoho, be a search engine you get in your browser in the first place?

    I mean hell you can ping an IP right? Why not learn to ping every IP? Bookmark every IP?

    Why should abc cbs nbc fox pbs have all the broadcast spectrum?

  38. Ed Gould

    Apple Censorship

    Apple in my opinion is bending over backwards so that nobody can say "boo" about the IPHONE.

    While it may work in the short run it is back firing on people like me. I am an adult and I can make up my own mind on what is acceptable and what isn't on the IPHONE.

    My guess is that there are a few "kids" that own one and Apple is afraid of letting loose the right wingers for allowing "bad" influences on the IPONE. All I have to say to that if the parents are not monitoring what is on the IPHONE then the parents are to blame NOT Apple.

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