The BBC's report lost its way early on. To make Apple the villain, they show Apple's success and then turn it against them. Apple has designed and created some of the greatest flagship stores in the world, especially in London as their report presented. Fans of Apple products and consumers looking for a great retail experience appreciate the incredible detail found in the architecture of these stores. They appreciate the Genius Bars when looking for device problem advice, repair and replacement in a friendly environment. For an optional $100/yr., buyers of new products could actually be professionally trained in how to use their products. Only recently have other companies even tried to emulate the Apple Store experience and still can't achieve it. Somehow, fans of products that are the best in the world are still being insultingly vilified as being fanatics and cultists. Just saying those words within the context of a documentary shows the mindset of the producers of this so-called documentary.
To get the show going in the direction that they needed it to go, the BBC presents this shadowy figure that I'll call Mr. Shadows, in an attempt to dramatize their show. The BBC report frames this man as being from "inside the machine." The reporter must be a fan of the Pink Floyd song called Welcome to the Machine. So what does Mr. Shadow say to make this a gripping scene: "I just want the customers to know that Apple operates heartless factories."
With Apple dedicated to at least trying to get factory and worker conditions better, imagine how much worse it is in factories with absolutely no guidelines or regard to workers. Yet the one company on record trying to make a difference for workers is the very company that the BBC decides should be the poster child for the problems in Chinese factories.
With Apple being bold and honest enough to put their projects for better working conditions in Chinese factories on paper, the BBC decided that they were going to have a field day making Apple the evil one. And when the BBC decided to have the likes of Ralf Nader step into this documentary, you knew that balance had just been thrown to the wind. Nader is a man who can make the late Mother Theresa look like the demon in the Exorcist.
Then the BBC reporter with his snarly face, as we captured below, stated the following:
"At London's swanky Covent Garden store there's an almost religious fervor. Apple has an extraordinary relationship with its consumers. These people don't feel like customers, they feel more like followers. Fanatics, even – to the cult of Apple."
Apple goes out of their way, created the best consumer gadget stores in the world, to make the customer feel like they matter. They back it up with programs to educate their customers like no other. But this BBC bozo reporter wanted to even taint this aspect of Apple.
If the so-called "documentary" is vilifying Apple by going out of their way to insult Apple customers and Apple for creating architecturally marvelous stores instead of Best Buy-like warehouses, you know that this BBC team is out to muddy Apple in any way that they possibly can. The villain must be a villain through and through. In fact their deep-seated hatred for Apple would equal anyone sitting on Samsung's board. There's a bent fanaticism baked into the BBC report to make Apple an evil company, even in England. I mean, just look at that reporter's contorted face talking about Apple's customers. It's disdain.
After cuing up that Apple fans are abnormal, even cult-like, the BBC juxtaposes that image and view point with a "Brand Expert" that's insinuating that the way Apple fans describe their affection for these great devices is abnormal behavior.
Rebecca Battman stated that "People describe Apple products with words like – ah it's gorgeous; I love it; when have you heard anybody talk about other technology brands in the same sense it's got that desirability."
Even though the BBC reporter supposedly owns Apple products, he continued to say that "there's almost an aura that somehow that Apple is better," said sarcastically of course. "It's better in the things it produces and in the way it behaves." Ah, here we go. The reporter notes that "Apple is almost worth a half trillion dollars" and on that note the knives came out.
"Apple doesn't just sell you products, it sells you its ethical model," states the BBC reporter. Apple supposedly is out to protect people and the planet. The next twist is that the brand expert who tried to make it abnormal to love the digital products that you buy is now weighing in again negatively.
"Apple is clearly trying to make sure that it is seen to be an ethical and responsible company and therefore everybody's eyes are looking at the company to say are you fulfilling your purpose. Are you being a true leader ..." The BBC injects the statement: "But is it true."
The documentary then shifts to China and they begin with the line, "This is where the Apple dream is manufactured." In our initial December 15th report we noted that the BBC report sounded like a report published by China Labor Watch with the same title "Two Years of Broken Promises." It turns out that we hit the nail on the head. Who was next to pop up in the BBC report; yes – a representative from China Labor Watch.
China Labor Watch kept their Broken Promises special report up on their home page for years and they continue to slant their reports against Apple more than any other company by a long shot. So the documentary is a way to try and get China to establish an effective Union and slamming Apple is what they needed to do. It's why Ralph Nader was purposely and strategically injected into this documentary.
So why didn't the BBC just do a story focused on the need to have a stronger union in China? – Because they knew that no one outside of China would have cared a hoot about a story about a Chinese Union. Therefore they needed to find a villain that was highly recognizable – and that was of course Apple.
Imagine that, a documentary custom designed for the labour movement and a huge political party in the UK who claims to be the party of the many. So this is what's really playing out in this so-called documentary.
The BBC's report isn't really about Apple; it's about unions and the need for a stronger one in China. Now that I've actually seen parts of this BBC program to understand its purpose and context, I see it as nothing more than propaganda of the highest order.
Once you understand the premise for this so-called documentary, then you realize without going any further in watching the video, that those trying to form a stronger union within Foxconn are the ones behind the camera filming the so-called abuses and exhausted workers. They're the so called "reporters" that the BBC worked with while in China.
Isn't it easy for those trying to form a stronger union in China to set up the filming to exact the outcome they want to portray to the world and to make the conditions worse? - Of course. And that's what makes this documentary such a farce. It's not that there aren't problems in China, there are. But calculatingly vilifying Apple from the starting gun isn't really what you expect from a professional documentary. In the end it's a political and labor union's script being played out. Are the loud managers screaming at workers real? Yes of course. In camp like conditions, it's bound to happen at any plant, Apple or not.
Foxconn today is having labor problems in India as reported by the Times of India. Why isn't the documentary about Foxconn? Again, who would watch a documentary about Foxconn who make the products for all gadget makers around the globe? No one, hence the desperate need for a globally recognizable villain to pin it all on.
The BBC stated that Foxconn increased wages and bettered conditions and that those measures saved lives. Yet why wasn't Apple credited for pressuring Foxconn into those new measures. Apple's Tim Cook went to China during this period to start new programs to better conditions for workers. It didn't happen out of the goodness of Foxconn's heart.
In one video shot, a worker adamantly decides to stand and the company rep tells him to sit down. He doesn't on purpose, just staring around like a moron. Yet we're supposed to be angry at the boss telling him to sit down. Then Mr. Shadow that we presented earlier in our report clearly tells the BBC that he saw workers sleeping during break time. That's what Mr. Shadow said, and that's what we reported on yesterday that upset so many commenters on our site. In the end, after seeing the program, Mr. Shadows admitted that this was indeed the case.
If some people were falling asleep at work, were they drunk the night before? No young man will fall asleep under a long day at work. Ask lawyers and especially associates who work long 15 plus hour days ongoing and you're not going to hear about associates falling asleep. During the summer as a young man I worked in factories and 12 plus hours regularly and loved it. I loved the work and enjoyed the money. These workers in China aren't lifting boulders for Apple all day – they're sitting down assembling devices. It's so easy to take one incident and stretch it out to whatever you want it to look like - especially if you're working for a union trying to film problems.
In January of this year we presented a report covering Intel's keynote at CES. At the end of the report we covered a huge segment on "The Journey towards Conflict-Free Products."
This is an industry issue, not an Apple issue. Our report presented the facts, as they were presented, concerning the battle with conflict-minerals used in computer products in general. The report presented what Intel and Apple are working on – way before there was ever a BBC documentary. Where was the BBC then?
But the BBC still went head long into presenting their finding in a place called 'tin island" to expose problems with mining tin. Even though mining has been given license by the Chinese government, Apple gets nailed for even that process. The operatic music was so dramatic in this segment I almost laughed.
You could see the BBC program in its entirety below. I'm sure that many will find this report a great investigative report. Though for me, I couldn't see this as anything but a labor movement program, bought and paid for.
Are the conditions really bad in China? - Yes, without a doubt. But China has a population that needs to work as they leave communism behind to a certain degree. They and the elite still use their workforce like labor camps. This is not an Apple created problem. Do I believe that Apple is trying to make a difference? Yes I do. Are their measures working out everywhere word for word? No, that's for sure. Are others on record trying to make a difference? Not that I'm aware of.
A century ago before there were unions in the US, there were similar circumstances and abuses in the workplace. Unions were needed to give hard working employees a chance at reaching a middle class life. Is there a need for unions in China that have some teeth? Yes, there most certainly is. But this is going to be an evolutionary process and with Companies like Apple pushing for change it could occur over time.
In the end, if you're really "shocked" by the documentary, then do your part. Throw out every single electronics device that you have in your home from your toaster to your TV. Throw out your sneakers, shirts and 90% of what you have in your home. Sit on the floor and say, there, I'll teach those bastards not to mess with me. And before you know it you'll either be in a rubber room or come to the realization that sometimes you have to work through a problem and push and fight for change rather than unfairly yap about it and point fingers at those who are trying, like Apple.
Some of our Other Reports on this Subject
The Debate on Bloomberg:
Related News Update December 22, 2014: Pegatron to probe China plant over worker mistreatment claims
Dec. 23, 2014: BBC report prompts probe into Pegatron