A fierce row broke out last night on US television channel CNBC, with ‘fake Steve Job’ blogger Dan Lyons accusing CNBC reporter Jim Goldman of being "played and punked" by Apple's PR machine. Lyons has since been banned from CNBC for life.

CNBC anchors had to call an end to the live row when Lyons refused to stop talking over Goldman’s responses.

Lyons, Newsweek's tech correspondent, claimed that Apple had played "fast and loose with the truth for eight months,” and demanded Goldman apologise to tech blog Gizmodo after he accused it of spreading rumours about Jobs' ill-health.

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Gizmodo had quoted a “solid” source saying that Jobs' health, not politics, was the reason why the Apple CEO missed his annual Macworld Expo keynote.

CNBC's Goldman claimed his sources stated that Jobs was fine. There was "no new news" about Jobs' health, according to Goldman's sources. He's "totally fine as far as we know," Goldman said.

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“I can tell you that sources inside the company tell me that Jobs' decision was more about politics than his pancreas. Sources tell me that if Jobs for some reason was unable to perform any of his responsibilities as CEO because of health reasons, which would include the Macworld keynote, I should ‘rest assured that the board would let me know.’

“So I'm inclined to believe it. Especially as I look at the history of Macworld and Apple's relationship to it,” wrote Goldman.

Barely 10 days after revealing he suffered from a hormone inbalance, and vowing to stay on as Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs announced that he is stepping aside for six months sick leave.