A couple of weeks ago, I told you about how The New York Observer Used Me As a Source for a Story on David Pogue. In that piece, I referred to The Observer as New York City’s fourth biggest newspaper.

The Top Three, in no particular order, are The New York Times, New York Post, and New York Daily News. I’m a Times reader, but I present the big three without comment as to which is best, because they’re all big, and being written with clearly different readers in mind it would be wrong to say that one was better than the other.

But this weekend I realized that whatever can be said about its quality or style of journalism, The Post is being run by its publishers at Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp in a way that shows tremendous disdain for its readership.

If you use an iPad and wish to read the New York Post on it, you now can only do so by buying the New York Post App for iPad.

If I hadn’t predicted this when the iPad was released, and if there weren’t already examples of media companies being hoodwinked by Apple and the iPad, like Time Magazine becoming iPad-only, or Murdoch/NewsCorp themeselves releasing the money-losing and all-but-pointless The Daily as an iPad-only publication, it would be shocking.

But no; the New York Post compelling its iPad-toting readers to pay for content while other online readers can still access The Post for free (and even iPad users being able to do it if they examine the way The Post has walled itself off) is just one more example of a media company getting sucked into The Apple Vortex. Chairman Steve tells them they have ways of monetizing their content using the iPad, and Yet Another Poorly-Conceived Content Plan Benefits Apple More Than The Publisher Of The Content.

I hope I’ve been clear that I think the iPad is one very cool piece of technology. But as a publishing platform it’s good for Apple, and bad for Apple’s partners. Having seen (for example) how useless AppleTV is for anyone besides Apple, you’d think that publishers would think harder before they take actions that help Apple more than themselves as they pursue business change. Does The New York Post Really Believe That People Who Want To Read Them And Happen To Use iPads Will Pay For Their App Just Because They’re iPad People?

It’s a misdirect. And Apple’s misdirected the NY Post into trying to misdirect its readers.

Of course, given Apple’s Bad Customer Service in The Name Of Great Customer Service, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. The only surprise is that publishers keep falling for it.

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