This American Life retracts Mike Daisey story about Apple factory in China | Poynter.

This American Life retracts Mike Daisey story about Apple factory in China | Poynter..

Here’s another aspect to the retraction: How well the story was gobbled up in the beginning. We Americans (here, I mean the upscale, educated, cultured demographic that listens to “This American Life”) are more than ready to delight in tales of a demonic China.

We’re quicker to abhor working conditions in Chinese factories than, say, in exploitative non-unionized U.S. workplaces.

Exposes this year stoked outrage over worker suicides at FoxConn, but as my fellow WordPress blogger ShardsofChina pointed out when the Times series ran, reports neglected to note that in the city created by the massive plant, this giant population center had a suicide rate the same as the ‘background’ suicide rate you’d expect to find anywhere in the country as a whole.

That’s a statistical oversight, plain old innumeracy, while Daisey lied — just made things up out of thin air. But the result’s the same — they both fed, perhaps respond to, an American hunger, among ‘progressive,’ educated, cultured, American elites, to hate evil China. There is MUCH about China today that deserves a strongly critical approach. Inequality, corruption, pollution…

But it’s telling how the worst “Evil China” stories go down so easy at the most elite of media institutions — whether they’re true or, in an increasing number of cases it seems, false.

4 comments on “This American Life retracts Mike Daisey story about Apple factory in China | Poynter.

  1. sujinyan says:

    Here was my take on it when I heard the podcast:

    I found the “reporting” to be biased from the beginning.

    Or, much in line with what Shards said. 🙂


  2. […] language, the globe, and the rising, angry superpower-rival ignorance and blind prejudice (See: Mike Daisey). (Had we a basic level of respect, understanding, accurate information, our many legitimate […]


  3. Kelly Anderson says:

    Actually when i saw mike daisy’s show it made me really hate Apple, not China. agree about how there are horrible working conditions in many places but to me his show was an crtitique of global capital that I was happy people were flocking to go see. i thought it might make people drooling over their latest devices stop for a moment and think about the labor embedded in them (not just apple devices, by the way, and he does make sure we understand they’re not an exception, just a company that might have been able to buck the trend). anyway, just a thought!

    Love your blog, Coplans! xxk


    • That’s interesting people were flocking to it. You’re right the devices are a great hook to catch Americans, to think about others. Physically abusive overseas labor is also embedded in the rice Americans eat, the agricultural labor many Chinese factory workers have fled that pays far less. In a post-Mao world here where revolution is off the table, what is the upshot ofthe critique? Regulation? xox


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