Are these journalists, interviewing Jobs in 2010, representing a high standard of truth-telling and fact-digging? They are Walt Mossberg, and Kara Swisher, widely considered to be among the “best” tech journalists.
After listening to This American Life’s Retraction episode, I was still severely unsatisfied with Mike Daisey’s justification. After all, Ira Glass and the TAL staff made it abundantly clear to him the purpose of their show, and that everything he said “must live up to journalistic standards.” Yet through his own twisted moral compass and complete disregard for integrity Daisey chose to lie to millions of people anyway. Last week, I claimed that Mike Daisey did more harm that good to his cause by lying about what he saw at Foxconn. He discredited himself and everything he was trying to raise awareness about. I also could not bring myself to blame Apple or hold anything against them for the alleged conditions at some of their suppliers. This week, not only do I stand by both of these statements but the Retraction episode only strengthens by belief in them. Continue reading Daisey’s Failed Shot at Redemption
The retraction episode of This American Life slightly angered me. I felt uncomfortable as I listened to Ira Glass and Rob Schmitz tear apart Mike Daisey’s story and constantly apologize to their viewers for their failure at fact checking Mike Daisey’s story. In my blog post on This American Life’s “Mr. Daisey and Apple” I wrote that Mike Daisey should have been up front about the parts of his story that were misrepresented. However, I saw the reasons for why he chose to incorporate some details into his story that he had not personally experienced. Mike Daisey is a writer and actor and his purpose is to tell a story and make people care. In this task, he greatly succeeded.
After listening to the original podcast, I didn’t catch on to when Mike Daisey said to Cathy in their conversation, “Yes, Cathy, I”m going to lie to lots of people”. Daisey seemed to indicate that he would be lying to the factory owners about being a businessman. However, I believe that he was foreshadowing more than just lying to factory workers. He intended to lie to millions of people about Apple’s unethical manufacturing process. And this is exactly what he did. He went on This American Life to portray an eye-opening, fabricated recollection about his experiences in the Chinese factories and his interactions with Chinese factory workers. Continue reading “I’m Going to Lie to Lots of People”
What is truth? Lies? Who gets to decide?
Now things get complicated. You heard This American Life’s podcast focusing on Mike Daisey’s monologue-play and the issues it raises about Apple, China, worker rights, us as consumers, and globalization. Continue reading iTruth- Digging Deeper into the Apple Controversy
After listening to the podcast by NPR, I was surprised and somewhat appalled by the conditions Chinese workers manufacture technology products in. Though the speaker, Mike Daisey, certainly had a bias, the working environment and dormitories sound challenging and detrimental to living a happy life. During the speaking portion, where Daisey talks about his findings during his visit to FoxConn, the fact I found most horrific was the installation of suicide nets. Though it seems the suicide rates at Foxconn are about the same as the suicide rate across all of China, it speaks to a serious problem that suicide nets needed to be installed. Continue reading China Working Conditions Podcast
While this podcast was not the first I have heard of the harsh working conditions in less developed countries, it did paint a much more vivid picture of what happens there. First, I struggled to conceptualize just how big these factories are. The sheer volume of people who enter/exit (and eat!) in that space is truly astonishing. Even though the original 10,000 people in each of 20 cafeterias was later corrected, it still stands to show just how enormous the factories in Shenzhen are.
For George Orwell, it was the year symbolic of an oncoming communist future.
For Apple, it was a year in which they were still the underdog.
Had Apple’s famous 1984 Superbowl commercial ran this year, the reaction would’ve been entirely different. In 1894, Apple was a fledgling company who made cheerful computers with monitors rounded to mirror the human face. Today, Apple is a giant whose products we have become completely reliant on and whose secrecy masks user data misuse and child labor in China.
Today’s Big Brother isn’t Microsoft–it’s Apple.
All Apple products are manufactured in China. We know this. We know that they’re probably made by people that are overworked and underpaid, but we don’t really know to what extent. The company that manufactures all Apple products is called FoxCon. Mike Daisey went to FoxCon and reported a portion of what he saw on the podcast, This American Life. He went undercover and was able to observe FoxCon at work. From the floor, the most startling thing he reported was silence. 30,000 people work at FoxCon. 30,000 silent people, not allowed to talk on the line. 30,000 people who create no noise. No whirring machines sound because when human labor costs next to nothing, whatever can be done by hand–is.
Your iPhones are handmade in China.
Chinese people working 16 hour days without breaks handmade your Mac.
The precision that Apple is renowned for is made at the cost of 30,000 people’s fine motor skills.
1984 is here.
After listening to the radio show The American Life featuring actor Mike Daisey, I discovered that there is a major need for our society to address employee satisfaction. Mike Daisey emphasized the poor working conditions present in the Foxconn factory. This factory manufactures products for a variety of well-known companies such as Apple, HP, and Dell. After speaking to factory workers, Daisey discovered the factory has small living quarters, long working hours, toxins impacting the health of employees, and a labor board that neglects to address problems employees face. Why won’t Foxconn address these problems? More importantly, why do companies like Apple sit and watch their factories treat employees poorly? Continue reading How satisfied are you?
I wish I could say that this podcast really opened my eyes, but the unfortunate truth is that I was aware of much of this information before tuning in. Sure, Mike painted a more colorful picture, but I think many of us (meaning American users of these sweat shop products) already know about the long hours, cramped quarters, repetitive motions, and even suicide nets. So why is it so easy for us to look the other way? Why is it so easy for us to just see what we want to see?
I do not really have an answer to these questions. Even trying to rationalize it makes me disappointed in not only myself but everyone else like me who hears these gruesome stories and is ready to completely denounce the use of products from companies like Apple, but somehow find themselves putting their iPhones back in their pockets and moving on with their days.
Maybe it has something to do with the distance. These horrible working condition stories are happening halfway around the world. It is easy to put these images in the back of our minds when we are in our local Verizon stores excitedly picking out which new iPhone we want because our 2-year upgrade is finally due. Maybe we don’t have a choice. We almost have to have a functioning smart phone in order to keep up in present day America, right? Are the other companies doing things much better? We almost have to assume that Samsung and HTC are doing the same thing. And plus, that is a lot of independent research for us to formulize the entire supply chain of every major tech company. We’re busy; let someone else handle that. When everyone else decides to change, that’s when we will too.
Does this rationalization sound familiar? If a stranger came up to you and said, “I will give you a brand new iPhone for $1.00. The only catch is that a few Chinese workers will suffer over the labor required to make it for you.” Most of us would immediately decline the offer as it puts other human beings through direct suffering and pain. So why is it that we not only pay $1.00 but several hundreds of dollars for new accessories at the expense of not only a few workers but a few hundred thousand? How can we still be so eager to buy our next iPhone when we know the true cost?