Apple in Your Eye

Everyone Got Over Their Foxconn Guilt Just in Time to Buy a New iPad

Foxconn who?
 Everyone Got Over Their Foxconn Guilt Just in Time to Buy a New iPad

Workers in a Chinese Apple factory. (cultofmac.com)

Remember that whole Apple/Foxconn debacle, wherein the New York Times questioned the human cost of the iPad’s Chinese production? Yeah, neither do we.

It turns out that the majority of Americans have succeeded in ignoring the gnawing guilt they displayed a few months ago over the whole ordeal just in time for the release of the new iPad. Congratulations, short-term Internet memory! You win again.

A few dozen dedicated protestors showed up to voice their concerns about Chinese Apple factory working conditions at stores in both New York and San Francisco, largely spearheaded by Change.org.

Wired reported that there were a few protestors at Apple’s flagship 5th avenue store, but they were overwhelmingly outnumbered by gadget-hungry fanboys. “Eager new iPad owners emerging from the store were unfazed by the presence of the dozen-or-so protesters,” wrote Dave Mosher. “And some of those waiting to buy new iPads thought the criticism of Apple was a little overblown.”

Perhaps they’re right. Today, NPR Public Radio International retracted the most listened-to segment of “This American Life” in the show’s history, having discovered that the Foxconn-centered piece was partially fabricated. The episode featured a story by actor Mike Daisey, who Ira Glass, the show’s host, says lied to PRI fact checkers about the truthfulness of his story.

“We’ve learned that Mike Daisey’s story about Apple in China – which we broadcast in January – contained significant fabrications,” wrote Mr. Glass on the “This American Life” blog. “We’re retracting the story because we can’t vouch for its truth.”

Whatever the facts of Foxconn’s factories may be, we can’t help but return to that famous quote by an Apple executive in the original Times piece: “Right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China.”

It may be a tough pill to swallow, but look no further than today’s winding iPad lines for confirmation on that.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com