David Pogue and the perils of uxoriousness

Interesting revelation by BusinessInsider (via The Daily Beast) about the NYT’s technology commentator.

Powerful New York Times tech reviewer David Pogue’s new romance with a key Silicon Valley PR executive has many buzzing about a possible conflict of interest.

David Pogue is an incredibly popular technology columnist and one of the most influential gadget gurus in the world. With a column in the New York Times, TV gigs on CNBC, CBS, and PBS, and 1.3 million Twitter followers, Pogue can drive sales of a new gizmo with a few exuberant words or crush a company’s dreams with a thumbs-down on a new product.

But Pogue in the past has landed in hot water for failing to disclose potential conflicts of interest. And he has recently attracted some notoriety after he and his wife, whom he’s divorcing, were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct following an alleged scuffle during a domestic dispute that some reports say involved him hitting his wife with an iPhone.

And now those two issues are converging: Pogue has been dating Nicki Dugan, a vice president at OutCast Agency, a San Francisco PR firm that represents top tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Cisco, Netflix, and Yahoo, since last year. (On April 24, things between them had grown serious enough that Dugan announced their relationship on her Facebook page.)

During the time they’ve been involved, Pogue has written articles about OutCast clients and their competitors without disclosing his personal connection to a senior staffer at the firm.

Hmmm… I enjoy David Pogue’s stuff and admire his video essays about new gadgets. The possiblity of conflicts of interest is, of course, worrying. But in a way what is more disturbing is the way Pogue has involved his soon-to-be-disrupted family in his work. His kids, for example, were sometimes co-opted as extras in his NYT videos, and I can think of at least one clip where his (ex?) wife also featured in a non-speaking role. I’ve always been suspicious of entertainers and authors who make a big deal of their uxoriousness and parade their happily-married status in public. (Think of Martin Amis, for example.) It makes one think that they doth protest too much, as Shakespeare would have put it. And all too often those niggling doubts have proved correct.