Reuters blows it. Apple PR springs into action.

July 11, 2014, 10:39 AM UTC

Christina Farr got several things wrong in Advocates for blind, deaf want more from Apple, a story that moved over the Reuters newswire early Wednesday. She invented a lawsuit that never happened. She chopped the message-bearing heart out of a Tim Cook quote. She brushed aside any accessibility issues that Google’s (GOOG) Android might have. And she wrote that when it comes to people with disabilities, “Apple hasn’t been a steady champion.”

That last bit must have really stung at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, because it didn’t take long for the company’s friends in the media (with some gentle prodding from Apple PR) to strike back.

“Dear Reuters, you f…ing morons,” The Loop‘s Jim Dalrymple wrote a few hours later. “You can’t pick and choose which parts of a quote you want to use to fill the narrative of a story you already have written.”

Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber picked up the theme in “The power of selective quoting.”

“A few things in this article stuck out to me as oddly slanted… Where does the article state that iOS is far ahead of Android in terms of out-of-the-box accessibility for the vision impaired? (It doesn’t.)”

iMore‘s Rene Ritchie dug out Tim Cook’s angry response at February’s shareholder meeting to a climate change denier who was demanding that Cook commit then and there to only doing things that increase the company’s return on investment.

“When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind,” Cook said. “I don’t consider the bloody ROI.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 6.33.48 AMBy early Thursday, AppleInsider‘s Daniel Eran Dilger — one of Apple biggest defenders — had put together a long piece on Apple’s commitment to accessibility that took readers all the way back to the Apple II and the original Macintosh.

Six hours after Farr’s story appeared, with critical comments pouring in faster than they could be deleted, Reuters issued a correction that removed the reference to the nonexistent lawsuit but left the Cook quote as Farr had it.

By then, several sites had repeated one or more of the errors in Farr’s first version, including Silicon Valley Business Journal, Wall St. Cheat Sheet, iLounge, AppAdvice, Cult of Mac and even Dilger’s AppleInsider.

AppAdvice ended up deleting the comment thread (“Since it’s off point and no one can be civil”). As near as I can tell, only Cult of Mac issued a correction.

Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter at @philiped. Read his Apple (AAPL) coverage at or subscribe (free!) via his RSS feed.