Foxconn’s string of tragedies is concerning, to say the least, but it’s only a small part of a very large and complicated problem. Let’s take a look at the media’s handling of these stories to get a better grasp of things.
Foxconn’s issues have been ongoing for a year, involving some of the top electronics companies in the world, and yet its hardly a blip on anyone’s radars. This, despite the fact that an overwhelmingly large majority of the devices so many of us use are manufactured by this company. The stories are being reported by mainstream news outlets, but with little fanfare or reprimand against the parties involved. Gary Sandusky deservedly gets shredded to pieces on the Yahoo! homepage, but child laborers making your iPhone is page eleven and with little vitriol. This muted response to the actions of big businesses is mirrored by our politicians, as well, with vague aspersions cast their way to boost poll numbers and nothing more.
I believe the problem is that the mild scolding (if any) that the media gives these companies results in a free pass when it comes to stories like these. If Sony had factories in the US employing ten year olds to produce Playstations, there’d be hell to pay. But if the crime is half a world away in China? When the enablers are the people who dream up our precious smartphones and tablets? Well that’s an entirely different issue, apparently. Whether by design or not, our media acts like it's not a big deal for companies to be connected with scandals like these.
Make no mistake, that’s not a judgment against those enjoying these goods. Most people have no clue what the name of the factory is that their merchandise comes from, and there’s nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is hearing news like this and being lead to believe that it's the factory's fault and that the companies using their services are blameless. No, what I have a problem with is the media sugarcoating these negative stories because it’s just too inconvenient to be judgmental towards Apple as opposed to a pedophile.