Lex Friedman blogs here.

Lex is the EVP of Sales and Development for Midroll, the world's best podcast advertising network.

He was previously Macworld's senior writer, and continues to contribute to the publication. He is the cohost of the Not Playing podcast, a cohost of the Turning This Car Around podcast, a cohost of the The Rebound podcast, and the sole host of the Your Daily Lex podcast.

Lex's first book, The Snuggie Sutra, is exactly what it sounds like. His most recent book is a Dr. Seuss parody for adults; it's called The Kid in the Crib.

You should follow him on both Twitter and App.net.

Lex would be delighted to speak at your awesome event.

You can please some of the people some of the time

I wrote up a brief piece for Macworld regarding AT&T's new Unlimited Mobile to Any Mobile plan. In it, as is my wont, I made a joke or two at AT&T's expense.

I received an email from a reader who did not approve.

I'll start by saying, you aren't the first or the last to be completely biased when reporting a story. Maybe I'm naive to think journalist should report facts instead of opinions, but I still find it disgusting none-the-less. How is it that you could take something good, like free mobile to mobile calling and turn it into something bad? It is my hope that you did not attend journalism school. This would have been both a waste of time and money. You clearly missed the part about objective reporting. It also speaks poorly of the institution you received your degree from.
I have had both Verizon and AT&T and I have to say I like the service from AT&T more. The only time I've had problems with excessive dropped calls is when I had an iPhone. I had thought by now it was common knowledge that the iPhone is one of the worst phones for voice calls. Never has this been an issue with RIM devices for me or even with the captivate I used.
Don't get me wrong, I really liked my iPhone, but it was below par when it came to calling. I highly doubt this will change when on a CDMA network.
You should be applauded though. It takes practice I'm sure, to be able to turn good news into slander. Its unfortunate there is such of lack of responsible reporting. It is even more unfortunate you will likely delete this without a second thought. You seem to be pretty good at ignoring things you do not want to hear.
A last suggestion, maybe go into marketing or advertising. You seem to be better at that sort of thing.
I replied as follows:

Dear [Redacted],

Thank you very much for your unbiased email. I am most appreciative.

As you may have realized, Macworld—particularly in its MacUser and iOS Central blogs—aims to inject a bit of humor into its stories. 

I looked at some of the stories published on the site in the past 24 hours:

The conclusion on this one makes a joke about missing a mortgage payment because of in-app charges. This is hyperbole for humorous effect.

This one makes two jokes about awkward product names. Though, to be fair, I wrote it, so it may simply be another example of my being disgusting.

Joel mentions that the updated Mint app will "free users from the tyranny" of desktop computers. In fact, desktop computers aren't tyrants. Joel was using that turn of phrase to be funny.

This post is full of very excellent jokes. 

In fact, [Redacted], my AT&T service is excellent where I live. I included jokes about AT&T's network in my piece not because I wanted to share a personal bias, but because it's the most common knock against the company. As to why I included the jokes about AT&T's service, particularly when my service here is nothing short of excellent? 

That answer's easy: it makes my editors happy. Our style guide calls for injecting lightheartedness and humor when possible. In a post about Steve Job's health, we won't crack wise. In reviews of software, or news about new releases, and the like, we'll gladly insert a joke or three when we feel they don't negatively impact the story.

There's the rub, of course. You felt my snark did indeed impact my story negatively. I am happy to agree to disagree with you on whether that's true.

Not all of your email made sense to me, though:

You should be applauded though. It takes practice I'm sure, to be able to turn good news into slander.

First, I believe you're accusing me of libel, and not slander. Slander generally refers to spoken (or even gestured) defamation; libel is used for the written word. 

That said, I don't believe I've libeled AT&T. It has notoriously lousy service in certain areas. In fact, that's the crux of Verizon's first ads about the iPhone coming to its network.
 
Its unfortunate there is such of lack of responsible reporting. It is even more unfortunate you will likely delete this without a second thought.

Were I tasked with ranking them, I'd consider a "lack of responsible reporting" more unfortunate than what I do with my email, but we can again agree to disagree. I do believe that I reported the facts—that AT&T has this new unlimited plan for mobile-to-mobile calls, that it requires you have an unlimited texting plan, and that it requires you have an as-yet-unspecified voice plan—accurately and completely.
 
You seem to be pretty good at ignoring things you do not want to hear.

I don't know what that's based on. Your email argued that I'm a lousy journalist, so I'm not sure upon what you're basing that (potentially libelous) assertion. But let's just agree to disagree on this point, too.
 
A last suggestion, maybe go into marketing or advertising. You seem to be better at that sort of thing.

I appreciate the counsel, [Redacted], and wish you all the best.

Sincerely yours ,
Lex

 

Posted on February 9th, 2011