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Foxconn Hires Top Spinners To Defend Its Image

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the thank-you-for-smoking dept.

China 162

An anonymous reader writes "Foxconn is insisting that it has done no wrong. But it has hired Burson-Marsteller to deal with the press failout from recent child labour allegations. Burson-Masteller is a PR heavy hitter called in when outfits have big image problems. It handled Tylenol poisonings, and, according to Corporate Watch, the Bhopal disaster, and Three Mile Island. It represented the private military group Blackwater after Baghdad allegations. Its clients have included the Argentinian military junta led by General Jorge Videla and Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu and Saudi Arabia after it was pointed out that most of the September 11 attackers were from that country."

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If you need PR firms, you've failed. (5, Insightful)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157313)

Foxconn has done plenty of wrong - consulting with this(or any) PR agency only affirms it. There's only one option that should be on the table - confess the truth no matter how bad it is, correct the wrongdoings of slave labor and mistreatment of their workers, and then make sure it never happens again.

It's kind of hard to justify your actions when people catch you doing not-so-good-stuff (to say it lightly) and then catch your lies as well. That, and it's even harder to do it when people keep on catching you do it.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (3, Insightful)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157329)

Foxconn doesn't care about justifying their actions, or about being honest. Far from it, that's the entire point of hiring major league PR firms. There will be confessing of any truths, but there will be plenty of shiny happy propaganda spewed around the globe.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157335)

s/be confessing/be no confessing/

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157371)

Not always. Sometimes you can confess but in such a way as to minimise the damage, and thus prevent a worse response should the information become public later on. An easy way is to make the confession during a major news event, thus ensuring next to no media coverage as more important things dominate the headlines. There's a biggie coming up in November, but I think that is too far away for Foxxcon to use, so they'd have to find something sooner.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157535)

Not always. Sometimes you can confess but in such a way as to minimise the damage, and thus prevent a worse response should the information become public later on. An easy way is to make the confession during a major news event, thus ensuring next to no media coverage as more important things dominate the headlines. There's a biggie coming up in November, but I think that is too far away for Foxxcon to use, so they'd have to find something sooner.

that's right. They were saving the children's lives... by keeping them out of nasty homes with disease and squalor. :>

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158091)

Sometimes you can confess but in such a way as to minimise the damage, and thus prevent a worse response should the information become public later on.

And sometimes you hire a major public relations firm and spend the money on spin instead of addressing the problem.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (4, Informative)

El Torico (732160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158285)

You hit the nail squarely on its head. The only company that I can think of offhand that handled a debacle well was Johnson & Johnson during the Tylenol poisonings. They pulled the product quickly and developed tamper evident bottles immediately afterward.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (3, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158135)

A boring, brief admissions is what PR firms usually advise, right? It ends the news cycle, because there's nothing more to dig up. Then you drip feed out some good stuff.

Good PR firms don't spin when things are bad. They take control of the news cycle, but in a really boring way.

Foxconn doesn't want PR. They don't care what you think of them, as long as you stop talking about them. And the best way to do that is to release dry boring facts.

Rebuilding their reputation will take years. Remember Nike? They ran sweatshops. It's taken them over a decade to lose that stain, despite being good employers. Foxconn doesn't need good PR now. They need to shut down the speculation-driven media cycle, but putting out boring but informative releases. They need a good PR firm when they have something positive to work with, and when people don't hate them so much, in a year or so.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158213)

You can replace the name "FoxConn" with any corporations name and still be as correct.

Hell you can put in any Politicians name and still use that statement.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (5, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158441)

You can replace the name "FoxConn" with any corporations name and still be as correct.

Sort of.

Burson-Marsteller should be familiar to all Slashdot denizens - they've been long-term astroturfers here for both Microsoft and Facebook. Both companies have been caught using them for smear campaigns against Google.

Now it looks like Apple/FoxConn have joined the pack, I'd say the Axis is complete again.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157451)

Slave labor implies these people are held against their will. That is not the case, they can quit any time. It's not Foxconn's fault those people are uneducated and can't find another job...

Quitting: Technically possible, not feasible. (3, Insightful)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157485)

Quitting presumes that alternatives exist and that the government wouldn't find some charge to hold them up on if they quit at the wrong time.

Re:Quitting: Technically possible, not feasible. (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157525)

Yes, but then Capitalism is the slave-master, not Foxconn.

Re:Quitting: Technically possible, not feasible. (3, Interesting)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157761)

What China practices is not capitalism. It is simply a more multinational-friendly version of despotism.

Re:Quitting: Technically possible, not feasible. (1)

joebagodonuts (561066) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157869)

People (and their ability to do work) are capital

Re:Quitting: Technically possible, not feasible. (1)

michi883 (843387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158365)

China practices a false capitalism, where all capital ultimately belongs to a despot.

Re:Quitting: Technically possible, not feasible. (5, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158067)

Do you actually live in China because you seem to profess much about a situation you have no clue? These people can quit. No one will hunt them down. The problem is that a competitor is likely only to have the same or worse conditions.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (4, Insightful)

migla (1099771) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157517)

Slave labor implies these people are held against their will. That is not the case, they can quit any time. It's not Foxconn's fault those people are uneducated and can't find another job...

Not their fault, but very convenient for them.

It is wondrous system, funneling money upwards to the owners of the world by means of voluntary association of the poor in China and everyone in between.

And you can make it too. With a dream, some hard work and sticktoitiveness, you too can be a multinational megacorporation and bazillionaire.

The playingfield is not level, though, so in general, the richer you allready are, the more likely you are to make even more money in the babylon system.

If you have the nerve to be ruthless, not hesitating to trample down your fellow earthicans in the climb up, up, up the ziggurat, you'll have an edge.

Good Luck!

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157797)

Bush/Rommey/Gingrich... is that you?

You are ill indeed...

Failed? Define failed? (5, Insightful)

coder111 (912060) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157457)

If you screwed your employees or raped the environment or society and walked away with millions or billions in profits, in what way have you failed?

Remember, corporations have no morals. They cannot have morals by definition. Their only goal and measure of success is profit. If did some bad things and hired a PR company afterwards and still profits are up, you haven't failed.

--Coder

Re:Failed? Define failed? (2)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157503)

They lied, got caught lying, got caught trying to use a shill organization like the "Fair Labor Association", and stand to lose money trying to defend their own lies. Their own country's propaganda department is so incompetent that they could not contain it or explain it. Those billions are going to be spent on figuring out how to not fail any worse.

Unfortunately for you, I (along with many other reasonable people) don't have the idea that profitability should come at the cost of morality.

Re:Failed? Define failed? (3, Insightful)

Macthorpe (960048) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157587)

He's not saying he doesn't have any morals. He's saying that they haven't failed at all, seeing as the only thing that they've done wrong is betray morals that they literally cannot have.

Re:Failed? Define failed? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157783)

If you screwed your employees or raped the environment or society and walked away with millions or billions in profits, in what way have you failed?

Remember, corporations have no morals. They cannot have morals by definition. Their only goal and measure of success is profit. If did some bad things and hired a PR company afterwards and still profits are up, you haven't failed.

--Coder

They are, however, bound to act within a social/legal framework. If profits are up but you broke some laws, then you're not a corporation, you're a criminal organisation. Yes, there are a lot of criminal organisations.

Re:Failed? Define failed? (2)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157803)

If profits are up but you broke some laws, then you have to spend more on lobbying.

Re:Failed? Define failed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39158109)

(Haruchai posting as AC due to previous moderation)
Does that apply only to Chinese or foreign corporations? Does corporate personhood in the US contradict that? I'm not being facetious here as I genuinely don't know but I'm concerned that corporations may have the best of both worlds, having all the rights of a person but without the obligations.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157589)

I love how we just hand over all of our jobs to India and China and on top of it, we get worked up about how they're treated. It's like someone stealing your car and then getting worried about whether the bucket seats are comfortable enough for the thief.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (0)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157703)

I love how we just hand over all of our jobs to India and China and on top of it, we get worked up about how they're treated. It's like someone stealing your car and then getting worried about whether the bucket seats are comfortable enough for the thief.

They are simply sue conscious.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157603)

...and then close your business. You forgot that part.

Labor markets are a tricky thing. The only way to do away with such practices is to make them all stop unilaterally. Someone here on slashdot related a story about a town in the south where slavery was made illegal while all surrounding areas still permitted it. It wasn't long before competition was able to have its affect on the town and they had to permit slavery after all. Those WalMart prices are simply too irresistible.

But this is the norm all across the planet. Occupy protesters on iPhones and on and on. Even the protesters support this kind of human exploitation. Business, left unchecked, can and will ruin humanity. Regulations on the markets and exchanges have proven to be necessary for decades and even centuries. Regulations on utilities have shown to be necessary. Any time or place where there is an unlimited demand (power, fuel, food, air, water, etc) or an artificial control on an unlimited or otherwise natural supply (copyright, creativity, knowledge, information, seeds, etc) you will find business [run and directed by humans] trying to leverage those things to their most potential even and including at the cost of human lives... 10s, 100s, 1000s, 1000000s of lives... they don't care. Apple doesn't care. Consumers don't care. The few who care have to make the difference and it has to be someone's job to care so that others don't have to. That's what government is supposed to be there for.

Granted, that's not the way things are.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158371)

the problem is 'free' trade, free trade only works between equals and near equals, free trade between US, Canada, Germany, UK, etc. would be fine, including developing countries just turns into exploitation

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (5, Insightful)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157613)

Foxconn has done plenty of wrong - consulting with this(or any) PR agency only affirms it.

No it doesn't. All it indicates is that Foxconn perceives advantages from improving it's public relations. Anything else you wish to take from it is merely reaching from your personal subjectivity and preconceptions.

Maybe Foxconn has done wrong and seeks to spin the story to it's advantage. Maybe.

Or maybe it's done wrong and seeks to do right - PR firms don't only offer consulting for public communications, they can help guide genuine change within a company. Often "bad guy" companies have such a corporate culture because the board have a lack of expertise and influence on how and why to be a "good guy" company, a PR firm can fill in that gap. Any year one, nay, week one marketing student

Or, maybe the media have got it wrong and Foxconn seek to get the truth out there. Perhaps Foxconn are good guys and these reports are all lies. Well OK, probably not, but it's entirely plausable Foxconn's failings and their lack of response have at least been exaggerated in the media. When was the last time you read an article or watched a news report on something you have a very high level of knowledge about, and shook your head about how completely they'd got it wrong? Maybe I should re-phrase that: can you recall the last time they got it right?

I'm not trying to argue any of the above is the case, merely outline a few of the possibilities. Slashdot generally has a healthy respect for science on issues that clearly fit within the realm of science, but it would be easy to read the submissions and comments and conclude it's readership is totally incapable of applying any of it's lessons for any other topic.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (2)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158083)

My take is company that does not have $SPECIALIZED_SKILLS hires outside company that is good at $SPECIALIZED_SKILLS. News at 11.

Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157683)

Foxconn has done plenty of wrong - consulting with this(or any) PR agency only affirms it.

From what I've been seeing in all of the electronic media and their ability to make things look much worse than they are, Foxxconn may not be as bad as they seem.

Look, they're the manufacturers for Apple. A lot of people want to give Apple a black eye and if they can't do it directly to Apple, they can find something with their suppliers and make that a huge issue. Or let's use a political candidate analogy: if he's squeaky clean, go after his associates or his spouse.

I agree that working conditions at those factories should be exposed and it is rampant in the electronics and apparel and every other off shored manufacturer.

But at the same time, I'm a little hesitant to believe everything that's being said about them - just most of it.

Re:Maybe (2)

madprof (4723) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158189)

What I find most irritating is the sancitmonious attitude of some Apple users who think their choice of table/phone is superior in more than technology.

Re:Maybe (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39158339)

What I find most irritating is the attitude of Apple users who think their hardware is superior in anything other than number printed on the price tag.

you act like it was some kind of fluke (2)

decora (1710862) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157693)

mistreatment of workers is the entire purpose of outsourcing manufacturing to China in the first place. if you make Foxconn stop abusing people, you essentially put it out of business, because now the playing field is leveled so that other countries that are not brutal dictatorships will have a chance to enter manufacturing again.

the destruction of unions and the lowering of wages and the destruction of environmmental regulations was the very purposes of existence of companies like Foxconn, and their American enablers. you seem to think these people are just going to say 'oh woops sorry' and somehow reverse the last 30 years of history, including the huge profits they made for private equity firms, investment banks like Goldman Sachs, and hedge funds.

Easy to say (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158011)

Easy to say, when _their_ spin doctors went at it first.

Sometimes silence is interpreted as guilt, for obvious, or, and that is a f***ing big OR unfounded reasons.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39158311)

Foxconn has done plenty of wrong - consulting with this(or any) PR agency only affirms it.

The two parts of your sentence (before and after the hyphen) having no logical connection to one another. Consulting with a PR agency affirms nothing in and of itself.

One may hire a PR firm to defend against false smear tactics used by a malevolent opponent / attacker. Not saying that's the case here, but there are valid reasons for hiring PR firms that have nothing to do with being guilty of any malfeasance.

Re:If you need PR firms, you've failed. (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158315)

There's only one option that should be on the table - confess the truth no matter how bad it is, correct the wrongdoings of slave labor and mistreatment of their workers, and then make sure it never happens again.

And destroy the Chinese economy? You think Foxconn is the only Chinese manufacturer where this goes on? The whole Chinese economy is based on slave-level labor. Why do think the American manufacturing industry has been sodomized over with a stiff wire brush in the last few decades?

Track Record (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157315)

When you need a company with a track record like that , and notice the list of clients , you know that there's substance behind all allegations and that Foxconn is simply trying to hide reality behind a veil of corporate hogwash and smokescreens .

Totally proves the allegations against Foxconn imho . In fact .. sounds like they just pleaded guilty.

Re:Track Record (2, Insightful)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157377)

Doonesbury ran a series of storylines on a firm like that a year or so ago.

Blaming the Saudis directly for 911 is stretching things slightly: Saudi Arabia is run by religous conservatives mired in the middle ages, the people who carried out the 911 attacks considered the Saudi rulers to be hypocritical liberals. They were incandescent with rage at the Saudi rulers allowing armed infidels onto their sacred soil during the first Gulf War and its aftermath.

Re:Track Record (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157437)

Saudi Arabia is run by religous conservatives

No, Saudi Arabia is run by clever, worldly people whose preferred tool for oppression is religious conservatism. If you believe that the Saudi Arabia is ruled by the religious, the USA by bastions of freedom and USSR was controlled selfless communists then the PR has worked on you too.

Religion is a symptom, not a cause.

Re:Track Record (1)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157507)

Yup, thats the mindset of the 911 crew!
With one little insignificant addition - they *cared*, really cared about this.

I could give you my opinion of the US, freedom and even the old USSR but that would take this thread waaay off topic and I really can't be bothered.

Re:Track Record (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157655)

I honestly haven't given it much thought but what in your eyes rule each of those nations?

Re:Track Record (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157829)

Money and petty power struggles mired in deeply seeded inertia-laden cultural institutions that have a surprising influence on the first two and can at best only be manipulated and guided rather than completely deconstructed.

Re:Track Record (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157875)

Dang, why are you just an AC? I like this a lot.

Re:Track Record (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157837)

The same thing that's always truly ruled every nation of size, a morass of competing interests trying to take over so they can run everything.

The only reason we're not all just plugged in to a system ala The Matrix is that competing interests fight for the right to plug us in.

Many of us, of course, might as well be already.

Re:Track Record (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157881)

I wonder if it's just human nature on a macro scale. Fighting like animals but using politics as a weapon and the people as fodder.

Re:Track Record (3, Informative)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157475)

The situation is a bit more complex than that. Saudi Arabia is run by the House of Saud, [wikipedia.org] a monarchistic dictatorship, who have backed the dictators [foreignaffairs.com] in the Arab Spring [wikipedia.org] including the sending of troops and tanks to Bahrain to brutally suppress protests there. They are also accused of assassinating the leaders of their own protests. [wikipedia.org] And some of the upper parts of the monarchy, and parts of Saudi Intelligence, are accused of backing terrorism, see The Kingdom and the Towers: [vanityfair.com]

In support of his claim that Saudi Arabia supported terrorism, Khilewi spoke of an episode relevant to the first, 1993, attempt to bring down the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. “A Saudi citizen carrying a Saudi diplomatic passport,” he said, “gave money to Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the World Trade Center bombing,” when the al-Qaeda terrorist was in the Philippines. The Saudi relationship with Yousef, the defector claimed, “is secret and goes through Saudi intelligence.”

When Khalifa returned to Saudi Arabia, in 1995—following detention in the United States and subsequent acquittal on terrorism charges in Jordan—he was, according to C.I.A. bin Laden chief Michael Scheuer, met by a limousine and a welcome home from “a high-ranking official.” A Philippine newspaper would suggest that the official had been Prince Sultan, then a deputy prime minister and minister of defense and aviation, today the heir to the Saudi throne.

In sworn statements after 9/11, former Taliban intelligence chief Mohammed Khaksar said that in 1998 Prince Turki, chief of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Department (G.I.D.), sealed a deal under which bin Laden agreed not to attack Saudi targets. In return, Saudi Arabia would provide funds and material assistance to the Taliban, not demand bin Laden’s extradition, and not bring pressure to close down al-Qaeda training camps. Saudi businesses, meanwhile, would ensure that money also flowed directly to bin Laden.

Re:Track Record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157505)

So when someone hires a lawyer for legal problems, it 'totally proves their guilt'? Foxconn has a PR problem, so they hired a PR firm. It proves nothing other than they are concerned about their image.

Totally proves the allegations against Foxconn imho . In fact .. sounds like they just pleaded guilty.

I find this entire Foxconn issue a bit silly at this point. People are lining up to work there, literally storming the gates to get inside and get a job. This doesn't ring true that conditions are so horrible that people are lining up outside to get a job. The pay is better than most other factories there, yet someone on /. can throw around a few buzzwords like 'slave labor', "horrible work conditions', etc. People don't line up to partake in torture and slave labor.

To date we have an 'inside' report from the New York times, which didn't actually go inside, but rather talked to some ex-employees (which itself should raise a few eyebrows as to their accuracy), and a few 'anonymous' sources, yet everyone is doing the dog pile without a whole lot to back it up. It's obvious Foxconn does have issues to resolve, mostly around working conditions rather than safety conditions. Even the NYTimes noted this.

I can't believe how quickly /. is to react to sensationalism reporting without the evidence to back it up the buzz words. To the contrary, the actions of the folks lining up to get a job contradict most of the hearsay.

Seriously people, show a little intelligence.

Re:Track Record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39158177)

Part of it may be because images of nets that Foxconn had installed to catch suicidal jumpers were posted online. So there's clearly a problem.

Re:Track Record (1)

clemdoc (624639) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157619)

Those Burston-Marsteller guys have a great list of clients though. Maybe Foxconn just wanted their name on that illustrious list of people/achievements/events. It's not like that weren't an accomplishment. Certainly, they've managed to escape mediocrity.

Re:Track Record (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39158023)

You mean a track record of success? There's a thought, you need a PR firm but you don't hire the top one because of the public perception, wtf?

Quite simply this is one of the oldest and best PR firms globally. Tylenol and Three MIle Island... Half of OWS wasn't even born when these incidents took place.

The good guys (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157317)

Sounds like Hitler would've liked to hire these guys.

Do they cost 35 cents/hour? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157333)

And does this PR agency charge 35 cents per hour and work 12 hour shifts 6 days a week?

Re:Do they cost 35 cents/hour? (1)

peppepz (1311345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157427)

Spot on.

They could give $100 per worker instead (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157543)

If they spend say $25 million on PR and advertising, and have the quarter of a million workers I've seen quoted, then they could give each worker nearly $100 bonus, or the equivalent of 285 hours work.

Why not just give them the bonus instead and let the PR fix itself.

Re:They could give $100 per worker instead (2)

Shajenko42 (627901) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157611)

Because then they wouldn't have control over the workers.

Business as usual (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157345)

I realize this is going to be either ignored or modded into oblivion, but I feel compelled to point out that enlisting a PR agency is a very common procedure when facing negative publicity regardless of what the scenario is. Regardless of what your message is, it makes sense to seek aid in communicating it when the stakes are high. It's somewhat similar to demanding the presence of a lawyer when you're accused of a crime you know you're innocent of - You might think you don't really need one, but you would probably want one.

Note that I'm not defending either Foxconn or Burson-Masteller. I just don't see how this is news-worthy.

Re:Business as usual (4, Interesting)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157459)

The problem is that Foxconn had to bring in a PR firm known for whitewashing despots.

Their regular PR agency, known as the PRC's propaganda arm, just wasn't cutting it.

Re:Business as usual (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158021)

Their regular PR agency, known as the PRC's propaganda arm, just wasn't cutting it.

Let's face it, the PRC is shitty at propaganda. Nobody believes anything they say. They're pretty good at strong-arming, which is why people believe anything they want them to believe, but it's not on the strength of their words, but on the strength of their strength.

I'd prefer a news report rather than an editorial (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157353)

I can get the level of bias and innuendo in that editorial easily enough from the MSM with the same thin layer of 'news story'.

Why is it so many alleged news sources feel the need to try and bend their readers to their view? The MSM is dying from this disease as there are now better and more plentiful sources.

Press Failout? (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157359)

What's a "Press Failout"? Is that a deliberate play on "fallout" or an actual fail in itself?

was it their idea to compare apple to nike? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157361)

and umm. did they run any successful campaigns?

how did their sales pitch to foxconn go..
foxconn: so.. what previous employers you've had?
b-m: well, you remember blackwater? they're thought of as a pretty cool company now, right? and good old Ceaucescu? and of course everyone knows how forward thinking and free country Saudi Arabia is right??

(FLA is a shill organization. the article says that foxconn was tipped about about the inspections? well doh, there were fucking headlines on papers about how there was going to be inspections at foxconn before they were done.. fucking headlines! that's not a too subtle tip. and they're comparing it to a real child sneakers sewing work anyways.. how about they send over labor health and safety people from german electronics industry?)

All I have to say is 'suicide nets' (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157363)

if anyone actually literally built those.... well... you're guilty as shit. Unfortunately they make my motherboard and everything else I love, and no one will ever do anything to stop them because we know big boys always get off on stuff like this so it's best not to even think about it, it's unfortunately a part of life. I do hope they find other jobs with better conditions though.

Re:All I have to say is 'suicide nets' (2)

Vaphell (1489021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157417)

What if they built them because of westerners whining about exploited people who have suicide as the only way out, not because there was a problem per se?
Does anybody know what was the reason people commited suicide there? There are hundreds of thousands of people working there in factories, were the suicides all work related or maybe some/most were a result of broken heart or bullying in their out-of-work social circles or any other thing people commit suicides because of?
Besides, can't people simply walk away instead of killing themselves?

Re:All I have to say is 'suicide nets' (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157479)

Walking away would get them in trouble with the local authorities, whether it be on an actual charge or not.

That, and they would not be able to find alternative work.

Discussion versus action. (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157365)

How many people here are willing to forgo purchases of anything that Foxconn is involved with from a manufacturing standpoint? Regardless of all the noble bluff and bluster that will inevitably fill the comments here, my guess is that approximately zero people here will actually vote with their wallets. Yes, that includes me.

Re:Discussion versus action. (0)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157381)

Foxconn isn't a well-known brand, they just make the parts that go into the well-known brands. I am sure the vast majority of people using Foxconn products have never heard of the company.

Re:Discussion versus action. (1)

philip.paradis (2580427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157399)

I agree. That still doesn't change the fact that those same people will continue to buy products with Foxconn components in them, regardless of how much you tell them about the evils of Foxconn.

Re:Discussion versus action. (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157823)

What is the ethical alternative? If we're talking about an iPod you can just not have one, or you can buy used. If we're talking about a new computer, it's downright difficult to not have a PCB in there made and populated by Foxconn. And Foxconn has actually reformed their processes, doubling worker pay recently for example, so it's likely they are actually better than many or even most other manufacturers. That doesn't change the need to continue to shine a light on the subject. Foxconn can get the light off of them in only one way. They can admit everything they've done wrong, and help us to discover and eliminate wrongdoing in other companies — which they can only do without hypocrisy after attending to their own house.

Re:Discussion versus action. (1)

Hellsbells (231588) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157583)

I am less likely to buy a product produced by Foxconn, and awareness of these issues have tarnished a few brand names to me.

Even a 1% drop in sales for a company like Apple would result in billions of dollars in lost sales.

To rip Foxconn's claims apart... (2)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157379)

Anyway, Foxconn is telling us that it has strict recruitment regulations to ensure full compliance with worker age regulations and laws.

That presumes that the records are accurate and that nobody falsifies them - including the Chinese government.

"We have sufficient access to workers who are of legal age and there is no incentive for us to break our own strict policies and Chinese law on the matter. Let us be very clear, Foxconn does not employ, in any capacity, any underage workers," the spokesperson said.

When you have to make a lot of product in a short amount of time, there is huge incentive to break your policies. Never mind that Chinese law only gets enforced if you're from the wrong family or alignment of families.

"It is a clear sign that SACOM is not interested in seeing actions that bring real benefit to workers in China. As such, they do a disservice to those companies who do provide competitive wages and benefits," Foxconn said.

SACOM is interested in bringing benefit to workers in China, just that they would rather see workers have some freedom - especially if it means openly speaking out against the multinationals and government officials that only want a pliant workforce.

In a sideways swipe to SACOM, Foxconn is working with "credible outside organisations such as the Fair Labor Association" to "ensure that our over a million employees in China have a safe and positive working environment and compensation and benefits that are competitive to everyone else."

Foxconn's definition of credible is "as long as they say things we like".

Foxconn top brass Terry Gou has been quoted as saying: "Hungry people have especially clear minds".

If his definition means willing to comply just for the meager rations given, even if one sees unspeakable acts.

Terry Gou also allegedly said [techeye.net] , speaking at a zoo in Taipei: "I have a headache how to manage one million animals."

He sure has a very low opinion of the people that work for Foxconn if that's so good of a place.

Calling Burston Marsteller a PR firm is a joke (2)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157391)

There can't be many PR companies which have had clients like the Argentinian military junta led by General Jorge Videla who helped 35,000 people to disappear. Burson-Marsteller looked after the image of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu and Saudi Arabia after it was pointed out that most of the September 11 attackers were from that country.

With clients like these, Burson Marsteller might as well be a propaganda firm given how many despotic countries outside the US are on the list.

Re:Calling Burston Marsteller a PR firm is a joke (3, Insightful)

jalefkowit (101585) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157455)

Countries that treat their citizens with respect and dignity generally don't need help improving their image.

Re:Calling Burston Marsteller a PR firm is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157515)

I really don't know how they helped the Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu. As far as I know he got the FULL execution platoon 22 years ago. So, I'd say that's a pretty bad example.

Re:Calling Burston Marsteller a PR firm is a joke (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158027)

I really don't know how they helped the Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu. As far as I know he got the FULL execution platoon 22 years ago. So, I'd say that's a pretty bad example.

PR firms always say they can never guarantee results, they can only provide efforts and their professional judgments.

And a monthly bill for services, describing all the wonderful efforts they made in your behalf.

Re:Calling Burston Marsteller a PR firm is a joke (4, Insightful)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157531)

I didn't know there was a difference between a PR firm and a "propaganda" firm.

Re:Calling Burston Marsteller a PR firm is a joke (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158563)

I didn't know there was a difference between a PR firm and a "propaganda" firm.

Propaganda firms are usually government employees. And PR firm employees are usually better dressed.

But it is essentially the same old shit they shovel.

PR is PRopaganda, duh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157639)

Eddie Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud and the father of modern advertising, was a military propagandist during World War I. He was the first to apply his uncle's psychological theories to propaganda design. Working for civilian employers, he coined the term "Public Relations" as a replacement for "propaganda" because of the negative connotations of that word.

For a history of modern propaganda and its role in the development of today's consumer culture, see Adam Curtis, The Century Of The Self, available at archive.org Spoiler alert: Propaganda was the primary formative influence behind what we laughingly call 21st century civilization, and remains the dominant, if hidden, guiding hand behind popular culture.

Re:PR is PRopaganda, duh (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158037)

Ed Bernays, the man who got America's women addicted to cigarettes by subverting feminism in the service of his tobacco industry clients.

Good Guy Putin (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157401)

It would be more interesting to know what kind of campaigns these companies run. The "Good Guy Vladimir Putin" campaign comes to mind: It was all over reddit and other image boards on the internet, even though Putin is far from a "Good Guy".

Most of 9/11 attackers were Saudis.. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157405)

Yet we invaded Iraq, killed 100,000+ and our companies are in charge of their oil?

Re:Most of 9/11 attackers were Saudis.. (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158549)

How is this relevant to this topic?

Why PR? (2)

pertinax18 (569045) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157647)

Why do you need an expensive PR firm when you already have David Pogue working for you?

Why is this an Apple story? (2)

kthreadd (1558445) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157679)

It's not about them.

Re:Why is this an Apple story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157705)

The most powerful baron bears the most responsibility to his subjects.

Re:Why is this an Apple story? (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157805)

Apple is reputed to be Foxconn's largest customer. It is about them.

hahaha flamebait (0)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158003)

Discuss apple in negative manner, receive down mod. Enjoy shillbombing. got enough karma to play this game with the iFanbois, though.

Re:Why is this an Apple story? (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158217)

No. Apple is their largest profile customer. Foxconn is Apple's principal manufacturer. By volume, Foxconn probably makes more stuff for Dell. And Foxconn makes things for practically everyone.

What a top spinner (1, Funny)

I Read Good (2348294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157731)

might look like [typepad.com]

Don't Blame Foxconn (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157811)

I'll get modded flamebait for this but it's true. Everyone I know does not give a single f-ck about upgrading for the sake of having the newest, latest, greatest whatever gadget is coming out. Apples 'record sales' are largely symptomatic of a several much bigger problems. Greed, envy, waste, and more. 37 million iphones? with sales up 128% from last year. 15.4 million ipads - also doubled from last year. Apple isnt the only offender but they are tge biggest.

* http://allthingsd.com/20120124/apples-record-iphone-and-ipad-sales-beat-expectations/ [allthingsd.com]

Best PR - but for Folke Bernadotte (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39157947)

Best PR - for Folke Bernadotte, the uncle and godfather to the currently ruling King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf.

King Carl XVI Gustaf received his first grand-daughter two days ago. She has been announced to be named Estelle, after the the Folke Bernadotte's wife, Estelle Bernadotte (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estelle_Bernadotte), born Estelle Manville (of the asbestos Manville family; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johns_Manville).

Folke Bernadotte is known for having saved 30,000 people, of which about 10,000 Jews from the concentration camps during WWII (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folke_Bernadotte#The_White_Buses).

Still, Folke Bernadotte was assassinated by terrorist Jews!

Read more about that dark part of Hebrew history at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folke_Bernadotte#Assassination

What an excellent choice of name! Estelle! The name of a White Knight, slain by religious Jewish zealots.

Why doesn't the current government of Israel proclaim a no-religious State of Israel? Please, give up that hebrew-yoda-yahweh-yiddish-crap as a state religion; let it be a house-hold event. Get real. Accept it, Israel is a pluralistic state already, and 15 millions of Jews will never put the rest of the Earth's population into any oven. Like Jews did, other people will fight back, with the same fervor. So, let politics and religion be formally two separate issues.

The Foxconn issue here, may well serve as an allegory, but for China. Other examples are around were nationalism is concealed as religious contempt, or, obedience.

Foxconn is essentially culturally Chinese in ownership. Still, the outcome may well be seen as ethnic, religious, financial and nationalistic. Where do we end the barriers? On what grounds? Who is to determine? Etc...

Still, Folke Bernadotte was brutally slain by the orders of an asshole, a sole licking excuse for an intestinal disease that later became known as minister of what the international community traded off as a country, Israel.

Yes, I respect the international limits set out by the United Nations.

Yes, I have the greatest respect for many Jews.

Re:Best PR - but for Folke Bernadotte (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39158421)

Wtf?

Good for Foxconn, a large successsful business (4, Insightful)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39157959)

How is this an eyebrow raising story? Is Tylenol somehow like Bohpol? Tylenol was a corporation which was a victim of an attack on its brand and business practice, and hired a PR firm and made changes to bottle caps which are taught as the textbook business response to a press emergency. Having been to Foxconn / Han Hai and worked with people from there, and having read the hysterical descriptions of their operations in the USA press, I think they deserve credit for A) having already identified a scaleability problem (plan to put in robot labor), B) having raised the salaries significantly within weeks of the bad press, and now C) hiring a professional western PR firm to help them in a dilemma in western PR.

I'm not excusing everything that has happened in the course of Han Hoi Precision's growth curve, but they seem to be handling the industrial revolution reform at a pace in years rather than decades. Sure some of it is reaction to criticism, but rapid response is not the same as "cover up"! Some commenters seem to have no default setting between fanboy/troll, and any story with Foxconn in a headline becomes 5-Mod v. 0-Mod debate, more like American politics than indication that anyone is in any way concerned about China's development, pollution, or unemployment balance.

Re:Good for Foxconn, a large successsful business (4, Insightful)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158167)

Most here only seem to see the sensationalism of certain aspects and ignore details that make the story less interesting.

Workers sometimes work 30 hours straight during a rush period for which they were paid for every hour. I've worked 36 hour shifts myself during plant startup/shutdown but since I was salaried I didn't get any extra pay.
These workers live in company dormitories because the surrounding areas have no housing for them. If the company didn't built dorms, they could not attract any workers.
Workers don't have hot running water in their dorms much like the surrounding area.
Workers don't even know their roommates which is not unlike large, densely populated cities where neighbors don't know each other especially if they don't share the same work shift.
Workers work for little pay according to US wages. For China their wages are better than normal.
There have been 20 suicides in the last two years for a work population of nearly 1 million which is well below the national average.

I don't pretend that work conditions are the best in the world. It's a minimum wage factory job and some people don't like those jobs whether they are in China or on an assembly line in the US. For the most part, Foxconn doesn't really care about their workers any more than a company should. They don't go out of their way to harm workers which some people seem to think.

Re:Good for Foxconn, a large successsful business (2)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158289)

A voluntary non-slave workforce with choices of places to work is the cure for most workplace ills. For better or worse, Foxconn is a place that people can quit from, and many people do, it's high turnover. For now, Foxconn is better than the textile mills in the area, so it's not a management emergency yet. But they appear to be responding to these complaints, and responding to them professionally to constructive criticism. http://bit.ly/x5VT83 [bit.ly] Personally I like the melting-pot story... when Cantonese and Mandarin and Hong Kong and Taiwanese people find themselves not defined by their language or culture but by the positions (management, labor, services, etc.), creating wealth and resolving problems, it's been a good thing.

Let's look at Foxconn's Wikipedia page... (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158051)

... and see if we can find any influence yet.

Ok (2)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 2 years ago | (#39158457)

If you hire a guy like this one, then you have more than a little bit of shit up your sleeves.

Spinner eh? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39158541)

My gf is considered a spinner. She doesn't have to be on top though.

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