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Thread: Apple Critic Allegedly Lied About Foxconn Working Conditions on 'This American Life'

  1. #1
    MMi Staff Writer Michael Essany's Avatar
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    Default Apple Critic Allegedly Lied About Foxconn Working Conditions on 'This American Life'


    Controversy swept across the airwaves Friday, as an episode of the popular public radio program “This American Life” is being pulled from the archives as a result of new insights showing one of the program's featured guests lied about the subject matter.

    What was the subject matter, you ask? Apple - and, in particular, the supposedly horrific working conditions found at Foxconn. “Significant fabrications” were told during the broadcast, the producers of the show revealed today.

    Airing in January, the 39-minute story by Mike Daisey helped create a media firestorm over alleged abuses at the Foxconn factory. “This American Life” says it has become the show’s most popular podcast, downloaded 880,000 times.
    The controversial episode in question was largely based on a monologue by Mike Daisey (pictured above), a theatrical performer and writer. Marketplace China Correspondent Rob Schmitz "located and interviewed Daisey's Chinese interpreter Li Guifen (who goes by the name Cathy Lee professionally with westerners). She disputed much of what Daisey has been telling theater audiences since 2010 and much of what he said on the radio."

    “We’re horrified to have let something like this onto public radio,” Ira Glass, the show's host wrote on a blog post today. “Many dedicated reporters and editors — our friends and colleagues — have worked for years to build the reputation for accuracy and integrity that the journalism on public radio enjoys. It’s trusted by so many people for good reason. Our program adheres to the same journalistic standards as the other national shows, and in this case, we did not live up to those standards.”

    In a blog shared Friday, Daisey said: “I stand by my work.”

    To read a comprehensive recount of how this all went down, check out today's report from The New York Times.

    Sources: Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Apple Insider

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Essany View Post


    In a blog shared Friday, Daisey said: “I stand by my work.”
    His defense: he's an entertainer, and not a journalist. it's a work of theatrical fiction that nobody should have ever taken seriously. He told the story he wanted to, and he has every right to do that.

    When he sold it to NPR, he never bothered to mention that it was counterfactual. He pretended to be a journalist- but never actually claimed to be one. The broadcasters should have known better.

    my take: scumbag.

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    iPhoneaholic Norb's Avatar
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    So this is the douche that stirred up all the Apple hate (besides the normal Apple hate). I didn't understand why everyone is going JUST after Apple when these companies have been making electronics for many other companies. Trolls are everywhere!!

  4. #4
    Livin the iPhone Life sziklassy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norb View Post
    So this is the douche that stirred up all the Apple hate (besides the normal Apple hate). I didn't understand why everyone is going JUST after Apple when these companies have been making electronics for many other companies. Trolls are everywhere!!
    People go after Apple because they are currently top dog. It;s natural. It happens. Remember when Microsoft was placed under the microscope a decade or so ago? Same deal.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Norb View Post
    So this is the douche that stirred up all the Apple hate (besides the normal Apple hate). I didn't understand why everyone is going JUST after Apple when these companies have been making electronics for many other companies. Trolls are everywhere!!
    If it were substantially real, I'd have more sympathy.
    If he'd made a few mistakes, or forgot to corroborate sources, or done his job poorly, the probative value of the entire story might still outweigh them. But he wasn't just glossing over or letting his enthusiasm for "The Truth" get the better. He told a story that was outrageous and shocking, and sold it as True when the worst parts were deliberate inventions.

    And it's one that will do incredible damage to any actual investigative journalist, trying to track down what's actually happening in Foxconn. If there actually is a story about worker abuse and corporate Evil, it will never see the light of day.

    That's the hard part. That's why I can't laugh at being "fooled".
    I really do hope that Foxconn is in fact treating their people well, because if they're not I doubt we'll ever get to hear about it again. And even if we do, will anyone believe?

  6. #6
    iPhoneaholic Norb's Avatar
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    I understand that Apple is their biggest customer... but if you want to get down to the root of the problem why not call everyone out? Why turn a blind eye on everyone else, what incentives does that give them to change? Fix the problem as a whole, not some ******** when you try pin the blame on someone just because they are successful. Seriously I'd just tell these people to GTFO if they came at me like that.
    Last edited by Norb; 03-16-2012 at 06:39 PM.

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    My iPhone is a Part of Me hitman10's Avatar
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    Wait.. i thought this was the jailbreak. I guess not..

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    Livin the iPhone Life steve-z17's Avatar
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    The guy is a fraud, he makes up all this crap then tries to use the excuse that he's not really a journalist, more of a theatrical piece....he's a joke! At least everyone knows that now.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Essany View Post


    Controversy swept across the airwaves Friday, as an episode of the popular public radio program “This American Life” is being pulled from the archives as a result of new insights showing one of the program's featured guests lied about the subject matter.

    What was the subject matter, you ask? Apple - and, in particular, the supposedly horrific working conditions found at Foxconn. “Significant fabrications” were told during the broadcast, the producers of the show revealed today.



    The controversial episode in question was largely based on a monologue by Mike Daisey (pictured above), a theatrical performer and writer. Marketplace China Correspondent Rob Schmitz "located and interviewed Daisey's Chinese interpreter Li Guifen (who goes by the name Cathy Lee professionally with westerners). She disputed much of what Daisey has been telling theater audiences since 2010 and much of what he said on the radio."

    “We’re horrified to have let something like this onto public radio,” Ira Glass, the show's host wrote on a blog post today. “Many dedicated reporters and editors — our friends and colleagues — have worked for years to build the reputation for accuracy and integrity that the journalism on public radio enjoys. It’s trusted by so many people for good reason. Our program adheres to the same journalistic standards as the other national shows, and in this case, we did not live up to those standards.”

    In a blog shared Friday, Daisey said: “I stand by my work.”

    To read a comprehensive recount of how this all went down, check out today's report from The New York Times.

    Sources: Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Apple Insider
    Jesus, these Chinese workers would be living in tents and object squaller if it wasn't for apple giving them a chance to improve their standing. If its so bad why do 1000's come from all over China to try and gain employment. The suicide rate in the factories is actually lower than the national average. I think if anyone is to blame for the suicides it's the oppressive totalitarian Chinese communist government for constantly bullying their subjects into line.

    This is a media witch hunt against apple, by their own country's media, go figure?

  10. #10
    This American Life is produced by Public Radio International (PRI) and not NPR. Personally I like PRI shows better than NPR shows, though some PRI shows are syndicated through NPR stations.

    TAL should have fact-checked Daisey more than they did, they screwed-up. But Daisey is a douche for not only pretending to be spewing facts to TAL but to the NY Times and other journalism organizations. He rode the fame train for all it was worth.

  11. #11
    iPhoneaholic unklbyl's Avatar
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    he got his 30 minutes of fame at apple's expense.
    too bad he took on the wrong guy.
    defamation of character is pretty expensive...
    Oh yeah, he is just an actor. my bad

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