Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mainstream News Claims Victory Over Report On The Tragedy of Chinese Worker Abuse

China by Dainis MatisonsChina by Dainis Matisons
In New China as in Old China, the worker belongs to the .01%

It has simply become a game in which the .01% has grown, after the elites of other nations saw a path to destroying the economic and political power of their working classes. But don't worry Mainstream News tells us. They are happy to have jobs. (Another source said they get "depressed" working in rice paddies.)

Picture shared using Flickr's native share code and allowed via Creative Commons license Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) rollover to see name of photographer who has no relationship to this blog or blogger.

Mainstream news has shot down a report that emerged in the last months on a news story it has spent years mostly ignoring. And, if you look at their arguments, Mainstream is not saying the story is false, just that so and so didn't exactly experience everything he says he did in China, "so now can we just get on with selling you stuff"?

For indeed, the main purpose of  the commercial news media is to sell stuff these days.  There may have been a time in which they were committed to getting news that mattered out, but the selling was the only way to make money and little by little the selling gets to be the reason to keep pushing words out of the pen, the typewriter and these days the computer or phone for the commercial news system. Charging for online subscriptions (as you can see by looking at the actual numbers of subscribers) does nothing to change that fact.

And, though, both major stories broken by non news venues recently have been shot down by mainstream sources, both have not actually been dis-proven but mainstream tells us that  the truth is more complicated or they didn't get their facts the way that mainstream does.  (Funny but Michael Daisey did go to China and interview people at Foxconn and other places -- though not all the ones he "claimed" in his act, and after his performance "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs " on This American Life" most major news sources sent one of their reporters to China to interview people at Foxconn working up simplistic reports that said nothing we didn't already know if they all were like the two I saw.

Mainstream News didn't bring these depressing storier up very often over the years they have known about these issues.

In fact, they had to keep up with the latest gadget being released by the Jobs Factories (Apple) or some other mega company, most of whom purchase goods from Chinese factories, and work up the narrative of what a wonderful new thing that everyone but the economically lower 75% in the US  have to have RIGHT NOW!   (This is not to denigrate Apple products, but producing products for the top 25% of an affluent society (or .01% of the world society) does not qualify one for sainthood, I believe. 

APM (which does a better job than most of Mainstream News) had to get their market news arm "Marketplace" out to help take down the Mike Daisey story, though they acknowledge the truth is that such things are happening in Chinese factories. "This American Life" which aired Daisey's monologue that brought this to the attention of Americans recently is also an APM program.  Marketplace also dutifully reports that Apple has hired the Fair Labor Association (elsewhere described as "a nonprofit organization" but so is every superPac so there is not real guarantee of  lack of bias there).  Liberal sources report the FLA isn't exactly worker friendly..

So basically, Mainstream News, is going over the facts of this controversy in the most perfunctory way possible, and making a big deal of the fact that Mike Daisey did not actually meet the people he said he met, ie people personally poisoned by hexane and child workers.  He met people who had known people poisoned by hexane and had read of child workers, etc.  He put that into an act, Ira Glass apparently saw his show or heard about it and wanted to use it if it was personally researched, and Daisey apparently prevaricated (okay straight out lied) a little.

Thank goodness, because Mainstream News (and in this case I am including tech literature) was horribly uncomfortable reporting on this, since Apple is such a big purchaser of advertising time/ad space for the news media.  Walking that fine line between getting a few spits of news out on the hardship of working in China for America's elite was really grating on their nerves as they are afraid their big benefactors will lose money and/or otherwise not want to pay them millions for ads.

Therefore, no commercial news system ever made a concerted effort to concentrate on keeping this before the eyes of the people.  Meanwhile right wing and business sources continually try to dry up government sources for funding  non profit reporting which you can understand would be the tendency of corrupt news and political systems.

When Mainstream News Media decides to become more interested in protecting political and economic equalities, then they won't have to take down people who try to get the news out that they are ignoring.  Until then they should act a little more respectful of those who will go to extreme lengths as misrepresenting the basis for their reporting when they do bring up the inconvenient truths of American business practices.