A new reality distortion field

What is it about Steve Jobs that makes otherwise sensible journalists completely lose their marbles? This week's coverage of has hit some surprising new lows in journalistic IQ.

The latest example is a story on Newser.com by media reporter Michael Wolff, headlined . Its premise: "the logical answer to what happens at Apple without Jobs is that it dies. What you have, demonstrably, is a company without any managerial wherewithal beyond Jobs."

What is demonstrable is that Michael Wolff doesn't know what he's talking about. He doesn't seem to know who is. He hasn't, apparently, dialed in to any of Apple's earnings announcements over the past couple of years, at which Steve Jobs--when he appeared at all--generously shared the stage with Cook and other executives. He doesn't seem to know how to read an . Maybe he should read up on these , all of whom possess managerial wherewithal and none of whom answer to the name "Steve."

But that's only the most recent in a week's worth of frothing. In all that froth, a few themes have emerged.

For example, there's the whole medical-diagnosis-at-a-distance thing. One of the worst examples (if only because the source is otherwise so reputable) was (updated six times at last count), in which real doctors--who really should know better--speculate about what kinds of medical procedures Jobs might be facing. You'd think they'd add a clause to the Hippocratic Oath--"First, do no diagnoses of patients you've never seen."

(And Bloomberg's coverage didn't stop there: "," said the headline Friday. "According to people who are monitoring his illness," said the first paragraph's citation of sources. "Why don't you guys leave me alone?" Jobs said to Bloomberg, presumably during an angry phone call to complain about Thursday's story.)