The re-burnishing of Apple's corporate image continues
Rob Schmitz gets his reward this week.
The China correspondent for American Public Media's Marketplace -- whose reporting exposed the lies in Mike Daisey's The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs and who joined Ira Glass last month in Daisey's public humiliation on This American Life -- was given an exclusive tour inside an iPad factory, courtesy of Foxconn and Apple (AAPL) public relations.
He's the first public media reporter -- and only the second journalist after ABC's Bill Weir -- to gain access to a Foxconn factory floor.
Schmitz' radio reports can be heard starting Monday, April 9, on your local public radio station (or on Marketplace's special page on the Apple Economy.)
Meanwhile, Schmitz has been writing about the tour on his reporter's notebook blog, and Marketplace has posted a couple of teasers: A 3:30-minute radio interview and a 20-second YouTube clip of iPads with their innards exposed. (see below)
Apple will be pleased that Schmitz describes Foxconn's factory city as having the feel of a college campus -- with "dorm buildings and basketball courts and swimming pools and things like that" -- and that he contradicts a New York Times correspondent's claim that workers spend spend long hours each day either standing or perched uncomfortably on stools. At this factory, at least, everybody sits on stools that have backs.
But Schmitz also airs some of the workers many complaints -- that the work of assembling iPads by hand is repetitive and mind-numbing, that favoritism among the supervisors is rampant, that they have been forced to work when they are sick, that they're sometimes not allowed to bill for overtime.
Most damning: That the raises they were promised in March -- and which were widely publicized in U.S. media -- still haven't been paid.
Below: Schmitz' YouTube video.
Why did the company keep its silence, when it knew a year ago what we know now?
Mike Daisey began performing his off-Broadway monologue "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" in January 2011. The show, which cast a harsh light on the working conditions in the Chinese factories that produce nearly half of the world's electronic devices, was presented as fact -- a description of what Daisey saw first MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 18, 2012 8:34 AM ET
A monologist who shined a harsh light on Apple has himself come under scrutiny
"Daisey lied to me," wrote This American Life executive producer Ira Glass Friday as he announced that his radio show was withdrawing its most popular episode -- an excerpt of Mike Daisey's off-Broadway show about Apple's (AAPL) labor practices in China -- and canceling a live presentation of Daisey's "The Agony and the Ecstacy of Steve Jobs" MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 16, 2012 4:28 PM ET
A 60-minute version of Mike Daisey's one-man show is now available online
UPDATE: This American Life retracted the episode described below. See here.
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If you couldn't make it to the Berkeley Rep or Washington's Wooly Mammoth or New York's Public Theater to catch monologist Mike Daisey's brilliant, funny, disturbing report on working conditions in the Shenzhen factories where most of Apple's (AAPL) products are assembled, Ira Glass has done you MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 10, 2012 10:46 AM ET
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