NPR.Public Radio. Bastion of integrity. The radio network so nobel and so devoted to public service that we, the little people, have to fork over some of our tax dollars to support it.
Apple got a lot of attention recently over conditions in the Chinese factories that make its iPhones and iPads. The public radio show “This American Life” aired an electrifying account of one man’s visit to several factories. The man was Mike Daisey, a storyteller who is widely credited with making people think differently about how their Apple products are made.
It’s Daisey’s story about visiting a Foxconn factory in China where Apple manufactures iPhones and other products. With the help of a Chinese translator, Daisey finds underage workers, poisoned workers, maimed workers, and dismal factory conditions for those who make iPhones and iPads.
The problem? It wasn’t true. Oh, some of the underlying facts are true. There are reports of hexane poisoning and some of Apple’s contractors have been caught using underage labor. But what Daisey now admits is that he took the scattered reports and wove them together into a fictional account of his visit, an account that portrays Apple as an evil predator company rather than a company doing business in a country where concern for workers and/or the environment is, at best, desultory. He portrayed Apple workers as abused slaves rather than people who are grateful to have a job that, by the standards of China, is pretty damned decent.
Watch the Left very carefully on this one. The litmus test for how much you value media accuracy is what you do when your favorite outlet has been caught in a lie. If you twist yourself into a pretzel to justify it or ignore it, you really don’t care about the truth; you care about getting the message out for your “team”. If any of This American Life’s fans say anything other than, “this is a disgrace”, you know what they’re listening to the show for validation of their biases, not information.
Note: I initially threw this at NPR and deserve to be kicked. They don’t produce TAL. It’s produced independently and distributed by PRI.
My basic point remains. This came through publicly-funded radio that we pay for and is broadcast to an audience that is largely liberal.