By FOX KAHN
CUPERTINO (China Daily Show) – A barely suppressed sense of gratitude is in the air among executives this week at Apple and Foxconn – and it’s directed, for once, at the US media.
For years, working at Apple’s PR office had been the easiest gig in the world, with the company not bothering to comment on any development unless it was part of a meticulously stage-managed Apple event.
Over the last year, though, journalists have spoiled much of the fun for everyone, asking pesky questions about the methods of Apple’ manufacturing, mostly centered on the Foxconn plant in Shenzhen, China.
An extensive New York Times investigation into the “iEconomy” found evidence of Apple’s willful ignorance towards abusive conditions, though failed to unearth any “smoking gun.”
Nevertheless, PR execs at Apple’s California headquarters were annoyed.
“Why the Times couldn’t just keep taking our free iPads and giving them largely adoring reviews, tinged only with slight, techy misgivings, I don’t know,” asked chief press officer Jessica Goldblum.
But it took a one-man play, The Agony and the Ecstacy of Steve Jobs by monologist Mike Daisey – which was extensively profiled in January on This American Life – to really put the vinegar in Apple’s soup.
In just six days, with no media experience, the English-speaking Daisey uncovered crimes at Foxconn’s Shenzhen plant that hundreds before him had missed. Shocking allegations included underage labor, Hexane poisoning, armed guards, incest, bestiality and a vibrant culture of Satan worship.
The revelations plunged Apple into crisis mode, as renewed public scrutiny forced the company to question its methods and bottom-line culture under public scrutiny.
To the relief of many, all that’s over now. After some of Daisey’s revelations were proved false, a combination of sloppy fact-checking followed by near-hysterical overcompensation has taken the headlines off Shenzhen – and onto US journalism.
“This is the break Apple has been waiting for,” said Goldblum. “We can finally catch some rest, while the press corps tears itself apart.”
Corporate executives are not the only ones enjoying some welcome relief from the spotlight. A depressed Joseph Kony is also said to have “bounced back,” following repeated viewings Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell masturbating naked in a San Diego street.
The advocacy group’s hugely popular “Kony 2012” video, in which Russell urged Western leaders to hunt down the Ugandan war criminal, had initially left Kony “bed-ridden with the blues.”
Now “Joe is back to his old self,” according to a close friend. “There’s nothing like seeing some hotshot bullshitter flame out to put a downtrodden evil bastard back on his feet again!”
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