When Marketplace Reporter Rob Schmitz heard a story about the Foxconn plant in China where Apple iPads are built on the radio program This American Life, he immediately thought something wasn’t right.
The episode - featuring first person accounts of the dismal working conditions of the Apple factory by performance artist Mike Daisey - had the highest number of downloads in the history of the show. That’s no small feat. This American Life is one of the most popular radio shows in the world.
But details from the story didn’t sit right for Schmitz. He knew the area well as he works as Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.
His instincts proved correct.
Watch a new video Schmitz posted from the Foxconn Factory in China showing how iPads are built:
Schmitz tracked down Daisey’s translator. According to her - and later Daisey himself - many of the details in the story were fabricated. This came out after the media buzz had already turned into a media frenzy.
The New York Times published a series of articles looking at Apple’s working practices and production methods following the broadcast. Amidst the This American Life controverisy, the newspaper stood by it’s reporting.
This American Life retracted the episode and devoted an entire show to detailing what was true and what was fabricated by Daisey.
Rob Schmitz recently gained access to the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China. As the second reporter in history to do so, this journalistic debacle has proven to open otherwise locked doors.
A gross majority of products in the U.S. are made in the city of Shenzhen. Once largely invisible, the controversy has also invited the city and it’s massive number of factory labourers out of the realm of abstraction and into the consciousness of global consumers.
[via Business Insider]