NYT Apple and Foxconn Report Accuracy Being Corrected by BSR
Recently, the non-profit organization Business for Social Responsibility published an open letter to The New York Times that pointed out several inaccuracies and statements that mislead readers in the publication’s recent report
regarding Apple ignoring worker problems at Foxconn factories.
This letter praised the Times for shining a light on several important supply chain issues but pointed out that several corrections the organization had sent to the publication after seeing an earlier version of the report had yet to be made. The BSR president and CEO Aaron Cramer wrote: “Unfortunately, the article mistakenly attributes several quotes to an unnamed “BSR consultant,” presenting a false impression that those views should be associated with BSR.” According to the Times’ report, the consultant at BSR believed that lives could have been saved if Apple was willing to pressure Foxconn to implement better suicide counseling hotlines. Furthermore, the tipster claimed that BSR negotiated with Foxconn to install new hotlines but the manufacturer decided to sink the project at the last-minute.
Cramer challenged the credibility of the source, noting that “BSR does not believe that Apple has consistently disregarded its advice” regarding problems related to working conditions at its suppliers. He even went as far as saying the Times’ account of the hotline project “omits and obscures key facts,” saying there were “errors” in how the project was presented. An example of this was the fact that the companies were specifically directed to not pressure suppliers throughout the project.
The letter continued stating that Apple had taken BSR’s advice and made efforts to act on it. Cramer asked NYT to alter the article because he believes that it “misstates the views” of BSR. According to him, attributing the views of the consultant to that of BSR was a “serious misinterpretation” that the article should be changed as soon as possible. It was pointed out that “some changes” had been made to the story as a result of his original letter, but he still believes that “several important inaccuracies and misleading information remained in the story.”
As far as the situation goes, Apple seems to have taken more steps to become more transparent about its supply chain. The company announced that it had become the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association
and even released a list of its suppliers for the first time.