What's the most important news story in the world today? The Haiti earthquake, the possibility of peace talks with the Taliban or Tony Blair facing questioning in the inquiry into the invasion of Iraq? Don't be silly. It's a new consumer gadget from Apple.
A quick glance at Google News US shows 1,118 stories covering the Haiti quake - fewer than the number of people confirmed dead - 3,151 on the Taliban peace talks and 1,962 on ex-British PM Tony Blair appearing at the Iraq inquiry. The Apple iPad appears to need 8,667 almost identical stories telling us how wonderful it is.
Am I the only person who finds this obscene?
By what right does the religious cult of Apple - and be assured that's exactly what it is - dominate the news completely?
This Wednesday, it seemed that the world stood still. Nothing was happening anywhere in the world that came close to the importance of the launch of a big iPhone that you can't even buy yet.
Now, I realize a lot of people love everything Apple does, but surely even they would agree that 200,000 people dying in an earthquake should possibly take precedence over a bloody computer.
Apple's hold over the media and media wannabe bloggers is total. Normally if a company refuses to talk about its products or send out review samples, coverage is minimal. But Apple's contrived shortage of information only serves to generate fevered speculation and then speculation on that speculation.
The chosen few - who due to their blind subservience to the Cult of Apple means they can be trusted to write in glowing terms about every new nut, bolt and pastel-hued earbud the company turns out - get free publicity for their pictures which are used by every other media outlet on the planet.
How the hell did Apple get to this position? This whole huge viral marketing machine costs them nothing to operate. They can just let slip a rumor to AppleInsider and within hours, there's a worldwide media feeding frenzy.Apple is laughing all the way to the bank.
The media even speculates about whether or not the founder and high priest of the Church of Scientapplogy, L. Ron Jobs, is going to turn up at a press conference.
Who the hell cares? He's just this guy, you know.
Once upon a time, news editors would stand up to this crap and make companies work for their publicity - and indeed they still do for people like Microsoft and Intel and indeed every company that isn't called Apple.
Lots of people will go out and buy an iPad, even if they're not entirely sure what they will do with it. They want one because it's a religious artefact - a piece of the True Cross. It doesn't matter that you can't pick the thing up without accidentally touching the screen and deleting a file or emailing your entire porn stash to the boss, they just have to have one.
The fact that the faithful can't get one yet and that there will be shortages when it finally arrives will just add to the frenzy. This plays into Apple's hands too. Can you honestly tell me the company won't deliberately keep a tight hold on availability to keep the mania going and to keep prices up?
Of course, Apple could offer a free iPad to every survivor of the Haitian earthquake and then people might bother to write about that insignificant little local problem as well.
Sometimes I despair for journalism. Pull yourselves together for God's sake and write about something important for a change. Here's a tip for all you writers out there - if it features a ten inch OLED display, it probably doesn't count as real news, OK?