I'm shocked, shocked, to find out that a company as warm and cozy as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) might be implicated in brass-knuckle tactics to discredit a couple of researchers who had the audacity to stick a pin in the pleasant "Macs have no security vulnerabilities" bubble. Apple seems to be actively promoting this fantasy, to the extent of leaning on said researchers in order to get them to keep quiet about the problem.

There's a large and tangled web here, but according to ZD Net's George Ou, the effort to smear the computer security researchers was led by none other than Apple PR director Lynn Fox, aided and abetted by the brittle, easily fooled iSheep at Slashdot and Digg. (Interesting how "Web 2.0" -- which was supposed to free us all from top-down data control by the rich and powerful -- is turning out to be such a great way for the rich and powerful to spread specious FUD.)

Tough to comprehend? Hardly. This comes from a company that's proven to be unbelievably adept at marketing, beginning with its adoption of the MP3 player technology that others pioneered, and the successful creation of the mass fiction that it invented the concept. In short, image control is paramount for the iEmpire.

This is, after all, the same company that whitewashed a large options-backdating scandal, giving a free pass to CEO Steve Jobs for the bogus excuse that he didn't understand the accounting implications. It's the company that famously fired a customer support rep for an amusing (but irreverent) poem about annoying customer calls and love for the FedEx woman.

In other words, a high-level counterinsurgency campaign against a couple of security researchers -- if that's what we've got here -- would look like business as usual for Apple.

Comments? Bring them here.

At the time of publication, Seth Jayson had no positions in any company mentioned here. See his latest blog commentary here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.

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