The row over Mike Daisey's factually suspect monologue that was aired and then retracted in an episode of This American Life is quickly turning into a game of position taking and verbal sparring — Daisey claims in a new blog post that This American Life took his comments in the "retraction" episode out of context with skillful editing, and that "there is nothing in this controversy that contests the facts in my work about the nature of Chinese manufacturing." Daisey says that "in particular the segment with me is excruciating — four hours of grilling edited down to fifteen minutes." And despite telling his audience on Friday that he had revised the script to make it more accurate, Daisey stands behind his defense that cites the distinction between theatre and journalism, claiming that Apple's failure to provide proper working conditions has been verified by The New York Times and other news outlets. Foxconn disagrees.
Soon after Daisey's apparent backpedaling, and This American Life's concerted effort to repair its credibility, Foxconn pounced on the opportunity to discredit negative claims about its working conditions. Foxconn spokesperson Louis Woo tells Bloomberg Businesweek that "I am happy that the truth prevails, I am glad that Mike Daisey's lies were exposed," and that "people will have the impression that Foxconn is a bad company, so I hope they will come and find out for themselves." Of course, the validity of Daisey's claims are not a monopoly on the truth, and critics say that the retraction of his monologue does not clear Foxconn of wrongdoing.
A spokesperson for the China Labor Bulletin (CLB) tells Reuters that workers at Foxconn are still subject to poor working conditions including long working hours, strict management with borderline abusive practices, and unsafe work practices in some factories. He says that "all those things are very much in place. I don't think there's been any alleviation (of these problems) in the past few months. I don't think Foxconn's done anything, really." Meanwhile, Foxconn spokesperson Woo says that "I don't think the reports about this have gone far enough to find out exactly what is the truth." On that, it seems, many can agree.