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Apple rejects a critical columnist’s app

Is the App Store trying to prevent customers from reading nasty things about Steve Jobs?

Michael Wolff, a Vanity Fair columnist and Newser blogger whose last item about Apple (aapl) was entitled "Is Steve Jobs Off His Meds?", announced Tuesday that his Newser app has been rejected from the App Store.

Apple's stated reason was that the company requires "sufficient amounts of content to appeal to a broad audience" -- a justification that, according to Wolff, would make any specialty content ineligible for the iPhone or iPad.

But Wolff doesn't buy it anyway. He's convinced that Apple doesn't want an app carrying his column in its store because of the nasty things he writes about its CEO. Like that he's "odd," "flaky," "creepy," "rude," "dictator-like," "slightly neurotic," "anal retentive," "a cocky sonofabitch," infused with "messianic righteousness," and maybe, simply, "nuts."

Wolff is clearly delighted to make common cause with Steve Fiore (the political cartoonist whose app was approved only after he won a Pulitzer Prize) and Jason Chen (the Gizmodo editor whose computers were seized by police after he published photos of an iPhone prototype). And he uses the incident to make a broader point in the column posted Tuesday:

"What we have now, suddenly, is one of the most mercurial and paranoid and unusual men in American business — willing to swear out a warrant if you cross him — telling you what you can and cannot read."

We haven't seen the app in question. But if it has any merit at all, we wouldn't be surprised if Wolff were to get a sheepish call from Apple inviting him to resubmit it.

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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