Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
China The Media Apple

Foxconn "Glad That Mike Daisey's Lies Were Exposed" 332

Posted by samzenpus
from the better-than-all-that dept.
theodp writes "Foxconn Technology Group, Apple's largest supplier and the target of allegations of poor work conditions, welcomed a retraction of a This American Life radio program episode it said was based on lies. 'I am happy that the truth prevails, I am glad that Mike Daisey's lies were exposed,' Louis Woo, a spokesman for Taipei-based Foxconn said. 'People will have the impression that Foxconn is a bad company,' Woo added, 'so I hope they will come and find out for themselves'. Foxconn also said that it has 'no plans to take legal action.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Foxconn "Glad That Mike Daisey's Lies Were Exposed"

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:43AM (#39402299)

    Wasn't the problem here not that what Daisey reported was false, but just that he didn't directly speak to people he claimed to speak with? Of course from a journalistic standpoint that is awful but it is now sweeping these problems under the rug.

    Foxconn can now act like there were no problems and ignore them just because the source used was a secondary source reported as a primary source.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Pecisk (688001)

      What would difference it would make if this was real? Apple looking for another producer? Apple fanbois suddenly starting to believe that their beloved company isn't all controled peace and happiness?

      Get real, that's China. And how someone pointed out, things like these have been going for years, and not only for Apple. And as long as they will produce stuff cheapily and we will be happy to buy it - it won't change a thing. They still be billions piss poor people.

      Unless China produced stuff gets heavy tarri

      • by TWX (665546) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:04AM (#39402499)

        I don't think that tariffs will help specifically, but if China would stop forcing an exchange rate with their currency then the problem would, to an extent, fix itself as China's currency becomes more expensive.

        What we really need to do, IMHO, is to recognize the somewhat confrontational relationship we actually have with China, and to stop sending proprietary processes to China for manufacture. That might mean that China still makes the plastics and the PCB, but the parts get shipped here for soldering and final assembly. The best way to reduce the speed of knockoff copying is to not engage in manufacture in a place that essentially encourages knockoff copying. Sure, it'll still happen, but it'll take longer, especially when new devices eventually come out where the processes have changed and can't be instantly replicated in that environment.

      • by omfgnosis (963606) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:05AM (#39402507)

        The difference it can make and has made is that Apple has consistently responded to pressure to be more open about its labor practices, and they have enough economic weight to throw around to make real (but perhaps not fundamental) change in at least their supply chain—which is substantial on its own—but even probably in the electronics market overall.

        Apple doesn't necessarily need to leave Foxconn (or any other supplier) to make them change their labor policies; the pressure of audits with accountability can go a long way, under enough social pressure. And say what you want about Apple's fanatic following, it certainly exists, but it also has a demographic tendency to be more inclined to apply pressure on labor abuse.

    • by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:49AM (#39402345) Homepage

      > but just that he didn't directly speak to people he claimed to speak with

      No.

      "The China correspondent for the public radio show Marketplace tracked down the interpreter that Daisey hired when he visited Shenzhen China. The interpreter disputed much of what Daisey has been saying on stage and on our show."

      Basically he stated that all of the "bad stories" were simply made up.

      • by omfgnosis (963606) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:07AM (#39402525)

        The stories, yes. The actual topics, no.

        • The distortion of the facts takes away from the topics as Foxconn and anyone else can say he lied about that too.

          For instance, underage workers is a serious concern. He represented that he saw underage workers where the correction says that underage workers were rare. If you are interested in this topic, his report would lead you to the false conclusion that underage workers were a problem when they are not. The reality would suggest that some underage workers do slip through the system and Foxconn nee

    • by jeffmeden (135043)

      Wasn't the problem here not that what Daisey reported was false, but just that he didn't directly speak to people he claimed to speak with? Of course from a journalistic standpoint that is awful but it is now sweeping these problems under the rug.

      Foxconn can now act like there were no problems and ignore them just because the source used was a secondary source reported as a primary source.

      It's hard to argue that second hand information is anywhere near as good as firsthand information; this is something that most people learn in kindergarten. But your point is essentially valid; all of the things Daisey said are now "lies" instead of vague, possibly true claims. It will be a LOT harder to prove any of it is true (even though speculation has been circulating for a LONG time.) I somehow doubt Daisey really cares, though. He is as famous as he could want to be, and probably sleeps peacefull

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by omfgnosis (963606)

      While Daisey certainly needs to answer for misrepresenting himself (to This American Life), most of the damage that I've seen has been done by a poorly educated and reactionary audience that doesn't understand that it's unreasonable to hold a creative activist to the same journalistic standards that, quite frankly, we don't hold journalists to either. Like so many of the controversies on "our side" (and I'm assuming we have some sort of common cause if you think Foxconn acting with impunity is harmful), we

      • by LDAPMAN (930041) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:30AM (#39402773)

        "creative activist"?? What the hell is a creative activist? Oh, it's someone who lies because the ends justifies the means.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by omfgnosis (963606)

          A creative activist is an activist who does creative work in the course of their activism. I haven't posted on Slashdot for a while, I forgot what a lot of pedants you all are.

          • by Americano (920576) on Monday March 19, 2012 @11:13AM (#39403287)

            And if his "creative" work involves "creating" facts that are reported on national news as facts, that's okay?

            And if Fox News decided to start calling Anne Coulter a "creative activist" - I mean, she writes books, that's creative! - you'd be okay with them reporting, "Anne Coulter says President Obama isn't even an American - he was born in Kenya, and he's a Muslim!" After all, she's creative, and an activist... TRUTH doesn't matter in the news, as long as it's for a "creative" cause, right?

            I forgot what a lot of pedants you all are.

            What you're calling pedantry is really just people calling you out for the ridiculous logical contortions you're twisting yourself into in order to justify Daisey's lies - presented as fact - "because they're activism for a good cause."

            They asked him for the contact info for the translator he used so they could corroborate his stories. He refused to provide that info. If you don't want your stories fact-checked, don't present them to the world as fact.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by omfgnosis (963606)

              And if his "creative" work involves "creating" facts that are reported on national news as facts, that's okay?

              As I said in another response, it depends on the nature of the fabrication. For Mike Daisey to do some research and discover that workers are suffering n-hexane poisoning, then to claim that he met such a worker when he did not, is a lie about his activities but not about a salient fact. It's well within the range of behaviors we rightly expect in a dramatization.

              And if Fox News decided to start calling Anne Coulter a "creative activist" - I mean, she writes books, that's creative! - you'd be okay with them reporting, "Anne Coulter says President Obama isn't even an American - he was born in Kenya, and he's a Muslim!" After all, she's creative, and an activist... TRUTH doesn't matter in the news, as long as it's for a "creative" cause, right?

              To be honest, yes I would be okay with them reporting that quote—even if they don't call her a "creative activist". The quote doesn't make a

      • by khallow (566160)

        It's too easy to say that one guy with a stage performance did so much harm

        I disagree. This guy has been used as a primary factual source before by people on Slashdot. Now that we find he's been making shit up, are those people going to rethink their beliefs or continue to believe in lies because that's more convenient to their worldview? To the contrary, I don't think it's "too easy" to point out the damage a liar can do to a cause. in fact, I think it's rather hard to do because it's our nature to hold on to beliefs.

    • Avid TAL Fan Here (Score:5, Informative)

      by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:01AM (#39402463) Journal

      Wasn't the problem here not that what Daisey reported was false, but just that he didn't directly speak to people he claimed to speak with? Of course from a journalistic standpoint that is awful but it is now sweeping these problems under the rug.

      Foxconn can now act like there were no problems and ignore them just because the source used was a secondary source reported as a primary source.

      So, being an avid TAL fan, here are some things I remember from the two episodes that he lied about (remember Cathy Lee was his translator):

      • Guards with guns (in fact, Cathy has never seen one)
      • Factory workers meeting at Starbucks
      • Visited 10 factories (he only visited 3 according to Cathy)
      • Meeting N-Hexane victims
      • meeting underage workers (he actually guessed a bunch of young looking girls' ages)
      • meeting a hundred factory workers (play says 100, Daisey later says 25-30 now cathy says 2 or 3)
      • metal press victim who was fired for workin too slowly
      • a lot of the emotional interractions with Cathy
      • he presented himself as a "writer/actor" to Cathy but influenced our impression of Apple
      • didn't go on the exit ramp with Cathy
      • did go to dorm rooms for workers but lied about cameras in them
      • Cathy claims she never separated with Mike at the factory
      • Cathy says he never spoke to workers in English
      • he lied about Cathy's availability and phone number to occlude This American Life's factchecking

      The things that really worry me are he calls this "unpacking the complexities of how the stories get told" or "untying the story" in the second episode. This guy reminds me of the religious leaders from my youth who will tell you complex lies about their own personal experiences and they justify it by the fact that you are duped into believing past a mark that the evidence justifies. It's gross and disgusting that he washes his hands of it and calls his thing a performance while never straightening out TAL on the specifics.

      Like you said, some of the things happened but at what scale? Daisey makes it sound like you could fly there and pick a factory and you'd find it all. Good for TAL for devoting a full hour to what they had misrepresented. I'm still a huge TAL fan.

      And every time you think twitter and blogging and Slashdot have replaced modern journalism, behold the above danger.

    • by Comboman (895500) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:16AM (#39402625)

      Anti-corporate "journalists" like Daisey and Michael Moore do irreparable damage to the causes they supposedly support by playing loose with the facts. If I were conspiracy minded, I might assume they were working for the very corporations they rail against.

    • by sycodon (149926)

      So...Fake, but accurate?

    • Foxconn can now act like there were no problems and ignore them just because the source used was a secondary source reported as a primary source.

      I'm just now listening to TAL's retraction show and I think that Mike Daisey, being more than just a pompous self-serving douche, has now just achieved the exact opposite of what he was purporting to do.

      With all the press that Daisey and his show have gotten before he was exposed, all the public will think now, by glimpsing the current headlines, is that everything he said is a lie and they can effectively dismiss any real problems as exaggerations.

      This is just sad for everyone trying to improve real proble

      • by ScentCone (795499)

        I'm just now listening to TAL's retraction show and

        Listening to Ira's interview recording with Daisey on the air yesterday, I was struck by how much Daisey sounded like a narcissistic emo weasle. Trying desparately to avoid direct answers to some of the most important questions, admitting fault on basic issues of fact where he was caught red-handed, but then spinning like crazy to avoid being seen as unethical. All drama, and no real contrition. Essentially, he made a long, pregnant-pause, faux-apologetic display of being sorry he got caught, but not sorry

    • by gnasher719 (869701) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:54AM (#39403059)

      Wasn't the problem here not that what Daisey reported was false, but just that he didn't directly speak to people he claimed to speak with? Of course from a journalistic standpoint that is awful but it is now sweeping these problems under the rug.

      No, that was not the problem. As an example, Apple's "Supplier Responsibility" report says that Apple found a few dozen cases in total where people were employed before they were sixteen, but this was because of errors and improper age checking. So if Apple said the truth then it would be very, very unlikely that a journalist at the entrance of a Foxconn factory would spot anyone who is not sixteen yet. It would be impossible to find anyone who is 12, 13, or 14. But that is exactly what he claimed, which would make Apple liars.

      Next, some people were injured through chemicals. You would think that if things are done right, workers who get injured go to hospital, get treated until they are fine, and come back fine and go back to work. And that's what Apple's report says. Daisey said he met many workers who were so ill that they couldn't even lift a glass. That is a completely different matter. If workers either didn't get treatment, or are so bad even after treatment, then the situation is hundred times worse than Apple claimed.

      So there are two lies already that made Apple and Foxconn look an awful lot worse than they should.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:44AM (#39402303)

    I guess that the real story that Mike Daisey didn't uncover is that Foxconn is a Puppeteer front company.

    • Phew, I wasn't the only one.

      • by FridayBob (619244)

        Phew, I wasn't the only one.

        Indeed, but let's not forget that the surname of the famous Ringworld protagonist was spelled "Wu", not "Woo".

        • by fliptout (9217)

          "Woo" is not proper pin yin (chinese romanization), so it would be spelled "Wu" in other circumstances. Clearly a Puppeteer agent. ;)

        • > was spelled "Wu", not "Woo".

          Spelling is often lost in translation.

          Until my great grandfather got to Ellis, our family name was "Smith"

    • by fifedrum (611338)

      well played AC, well played.

    • by tnk1 (899206)

      Does that mean that Foxconn is also using Chinese slave labor to manufacture General Products Hulls? If so, now we know how the Chinese are going to the moon.

  • Ratings (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:49AM (#39402341) Homepage

    This is what happens when someone goes in with a predetermined narrative. News at 11.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:52AM (#39402373) Homepage Journal

    What I don't understand is why his "act" was presented as "fact" by the Times.

    Their excuse is that it was an "op-ed". Opinion pieces are normally clearly identified as such; this piece was not.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people are going to assume that all the issues raised were bullshit because of the lies that were told, which means that if there was any truth at all, it's just been conveniently swept under the rug.

    Bozo boy has done FAR more harm to the idea of protecting foreign workers than he could ever have imagined through this literal bullshit.

    • I misread a bit of the article. "This American Life" is not owned by the New York Times as I thought; the Times had to retract a different article by the same fellow.

      But that still doesn't change the fundamental problem: Why was a "comedian's" opinion presented as fact?

      This is ONE case where I think Apple SHOULD sue.

      • by necro81 (917438)
        While Apple throws around lawsuits like toilet paper, I think that, like Foxconn, they'll leave it alone. For one, there's the Streisand Effect to consider - filing suit will allow the whole case to live on, and with a higher profile. Second, it won't do any good - even if Apple can demonstrate damages, which I doubt, it's not like Daisey could cough up enough money to matter. Third, it presents an avenue for real investigation in a court of law, where every undercover investigation and audit could be ad
    • Actually this was a point by Ira Glass. That in presenting the story as fact, they gave the story the backing of TAL which does very hard work trying to verify the facts in the case.

      TAL's reputation is now tarnished, however, not for long I suspect.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:00AM (#39402453)

      What I don't understand is why his "act" was presented as "fact" by the Times.

      Because he was going around from media outlet to media outlet portraying it as fact. When you say to a reporter "I went to these places, spoke to these people, and saw these things", it's going to be taken as fact. And his "act" did include a lot of factual statements and observations, he just made some up. But at no time did he come out say: "this is based on true events". He protrayed as an actual, factual record of what happened.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sycodon (149926)

      The Times and the other outlets presented this fact because it fit their preconceived ideas.

  • by hsmith (818216) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:55AM (#39402405)
    If there are misdeeds occurring at Foxconn, they haven't been exposed. Any potential problems being reported can now be brushed under the carpet of potential "bs" tied to this story.

    He did a huge disservice to exposing truth, good or bad, about Foxconn. If Foxconn isn't all that bad to work for, it would have been great to know - if it is a hell hole, it would have been great to know. But, this just clouds the water in getting to the bottom of it.

    Shame, because it would be great to have an unbiased report.
    • by na1led (1030470)
      I'm sure most factories in China are Hell Holes! They have less standards then Mexico.
      • by hsmith (818216) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:14AM (#39402603)
        Based on what? I've never visited a Foxconn factory, so, it is hard to say if it is or isn't, personally.
        • by na1led (1030470)
          Based on my intuition. If you had a choice to work at Foxconn in China, or a Factory in Silicon Valley, and not know the working conditions of either place, which would you choose? Just because I've never been to China, doesn't mean I'm completely naive about what goes on their.
  • by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Monday March 19, 2012 @09:59AM (#39402449)

    I am so glad we now know Foxconn is so nice. Those employees who live in Foxconns worker camps and jump off buildings are probably just depressed that one day they would have to retire.

    Seriously- the show was a fraud- but that doesn't mean Foxconn is good. I really don't know- but evidence probably points towards it not being an ideal utopia. The reason Foxconn isn't pursuing legal action is probably because they know it would end up exposing a bunch of bad stuff that really does happen resulting in more bad PR.

    • by aslagle (441969) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:15AM (#39402607)
      You do know that Foxconn's suicide rate is much lower than the China national average, right?
    • Those employees who live in Foxconns worker camps and jump off buildings are probably just depressed that one day they would have to retire.

      Ah yes, the older lie. Foxconn employs almost a million people. When you have that many people in a group, some of them will commit suicide. We measure the extent to which that happens by "the suicide rate". The fact is that the suicide rate at those factories is significantly lower than the general suicide rate of Chinese people.

      i.e. Foxconn employees are LESS likely to comit suicide than your average chinese person.

      There's a strong desire amongst many in America to believe anything bad about china, and a

      • I think the Post Office has the same PR issue. At one point, there were over a million employees, but the term "going postal" -- well, that stuck.

        Statistics don't really impact people at a basic level.

    • When you learn that SOME of the information you built your assumptions on are wrong -- it's a good idea to CHECK the rest.

      Those suicides at FoxConn amount to about 3 in 100,000. Since FoxConn has around 900,000 employees -- it seems like a lot, but it's less than the average in the US or China.

      Being a worker in China sucks -- we can all admit that. It seems to me, however, that the "dorms" mean free room and board. So would NOT getting housing and a meal with the same pay be a bonus? We have to look at rela

      • by na1led (1030470)
        So I guess if one company treats their slaves a little better than another place, it's OK. Apple doesn't care about the environment, they only care about profits. That's why they keep rolling out new iPad's every year! Use up all our natural resources, pollute the environment, all for what? So you can hold that shiny new iPad 3 that has higher resolution than your previous iPad? I think some of us are just upset with the bigger picture, that's just my 2 cents.
  • Daisey's Response (Score:3, Informative)

    by sesshomaru (173381) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:07AM (#39402527) Journal

    Mike Daisey comments on "This American Life" controversy. [blogspot.com]

    In other news, Political Cartoons should not also be taken as literal fact.

    Especially if they have talking ducks in them.

    • by nweaver (113078) on Monday March 19, 2012 @10:14AM (#39402597) Homepage

      Which is an amazingly disingenuous response. Mike Daisy presents his monologues as first hand experiences . That is a flat out lie. Are his other monologues similarly not encumbered by the truth?

      And he was told, repeatedly, that This American Life considers actual facts to be important.

      And it also matters a lot. IF a random American in a hawaiian shirt would find out all this it would be a much more serious problem than the reality, which is bad but no where near as atrocious as he presents it.

    • Re:Daisey's Response (Score:4, Informative)

      by Space cowboy (13680) on Monday March 19, 2012 @11:14AM (#39403297) Journal

      Seriously ? This is "informative".

      No. This is ass-covering. This is "oh shit, someone actually looked at my data, that I tried to hide by claiming my source was now incommunicado. WTF do I say now ?"

      He presented stuff as fact. At no point did he say "This is mainly fiction", or "Some of this shit I just made up for dramatic effect", or *anything* in fact that would give the game away.

      Even *if* we give him a pass on the monologues, there's no excuse for lying when asked direct questions by interviewers (multiple times, and not just TAL). Things like "did you meet the man with the hexane-poisened hand who was denied medical care and fired, that you claim to have met", answer: "yes"; reality: no.

      He's a proven liar. He's been outed. Nothing he says has any credibility any more. Nothing. Which is a shame when it comes to raising the standards of living in China.

      Simon.

  • by MaWeiTao (908546) on Monday March 19, 2012 @11:11AM (#39403257)

    The interesting is that Foxconn actually offers a better work environment than many companies in China, and especially those by Chinese. Foxconn is a Taiwanese company, in case you're confused. The companies producing stuff domestically offer some of the most deplorable working environments which is why Chinese tend to flock to foreign companies. And the interesting thing is that it's been shown that many Chinese cities have a higher suicide rate than Foxconn's sprawling campus, a city in it's own right.

    And the fact is that Apple is extremely unlikely to end their relationship with Foxconn. There aren't many companies out there that can manufacture electronics with such consistent quality, and be able to meet demand time and time again and likely at a decent cost. This is not a trivial skill set and certainly not something easily replaced.

    This is not to say that things are ideal. But then no one wants electronics to cost double what they do now.

  • by mbeckman (645148) on Monday March 19, 2012 @11:11AM (#39403261)
    I saw Mike Daisey cut off a woman's hand and feed it to her dog. For money.

    No, wait. I didn't. That was theater.

  • by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Monday March 19, 2012 @01:21PM (#39404871)
    It is the timing of this mea culpa that should disturb folks just as much as the findings. It hits the news on the same day as the new iPad goes on sale? Give me a sociopathic, walled-garden topped with razor wire, dog-wagging break.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

Working...