Edited and translated by People's Daily Online
The U.S. radio program “This American Life” recently announced that U.S actor Mike Daisey's monologue on working conditions in Apple factories in China contains fabrications. In the monologue, Mike Daisey revealed with "his personal experience" that Shenzhen Foxconn Technology Group of China, which assembles Apple phones and tablet PCs, employed child labors.
The program contained a large part of Mike Daisey's performance in his program "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs." The two-hour monologue started performing in U.S. theaters in as early as 2010, and more than 50,000 audiences have watched it. Currently, it is still performed in public theaters of New York.
However, after the reporter of the program "Market" of the National Public Radio, who is in charge of reporting Chinese news, contacted with and interviewed Daisey's translator in China, he found that the translator's statement was quite different from Daisey's words. The part of "seeing employees poisoned by ethane" is fabricated, and he also got the ages of the employees "by guessing."
Daisey defending himself
Regarding this scandal, Daisey defended himself in his blog that he felt regret for his mistake, the wrong point was that his performance in the program was regarded as news, but actually it was not news but a performance of theater.
Daisey's words denying his mistake are widely questioned and criticized by U.S. media. An article on the New York Times said that, Daisey, who claims that he is not a reporter, did not claim that in his program, and what he called "things he personally saw" are actually things fabricated. At the end, the article says that Daisey was actually aimed at showing that Chinese factories are violating human rights, and therefore he did not care about facts.
Liu Chang (vice dean of Institute of Communication Studies under the Communication University of China): This is not an individual case, and in the current ever-changing ecological media environment, untrue reports of this kind, which involve ethics and morals of media, are increasing.
The major reason is that the broadcasting station is extremely similar to some "foreign publicizing" media with government background, and news reports of these media usually highly accord with the government's foreign policy.
International reports of Western media are usually interested in bad news, especially bad news of the countries with different political systems from theirs. The U.S. media's mistaken reports on China are not technical mistakes completely caused by such things as hasting for efficiency or "not understanding China enough."
Due to the Cold War, stereotyped images on countries with different ideologies have deeply formed in minds of the Western media, and therefore, they, based on political considerations, do not care about whether their reports accord with facts. Western media have a double-standard for their domestic news reports and international news reports. The so-called "one medium, two worlds" situation is a reality admitted by many U.S. scholars of journalism.
The ethics and morals of media are turning into increasingly hot global topics, and both the press and academic circles are making self-examinations. The more the ecological media environment changes, the more the media should treat the news report objectively and cautiously. All media must stick to traditional values of news report, such as the objectiveness, faithfulness and justness.
Read the Chinese version at http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrb/html/2012-03/20/nw.D110000renmrb_20120320_1-22.htm