テクノロジジャーナリストは全員腰抜けだ…毒舌芸のMike Daiseyインタビュー

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映画マイノリティ・リポートのような対話型街頭広告がニューヨークに出現

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このビデオでぼくが黄色いTシャツを着ているのは、Mike DaiseyがTechCrunchTVにまた出てくれたことを祝うためだ。Daiseyは偉大なるモノロジスト(monologist, 独演芸人)で、彼の大好評のショウ、”The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”は今、ニューヨークで上演中だ。彼は今回のTCTVの中で、テクノロジジャーナリストは腰抜けだ、テクノロジが労働と環境に与える影響の現実を書こうとしない、と言っている。Daiseyがとくに言及するのは、Shenzhen(深圳)の巨大工場Foxconnにおける、劣悪な搾取と非人間的な労働環境だ。

これまでDaiseyは、Foxconnに融資しているAppleなど合衆国のハードウェア企業の道徳的責任に関してきわめて批判的だった。しかし最近の彼がとくに怒っているのは、The New York TimesのDavid Pogueなどに代表されるテクノロジジャーナリストだ。彼らはそういう問題にまったく無関心で、 “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”も無視している。Daiseyは、テクノロジジャーナリストたちは彼らが扱う企業の小間使いみたいなものになっていて、だからAppleのような企業を批判することは怖くてできないのだ、と考えている。その結果、Daiseyによれば、これらの腰抜けのテクノロジジャーナリストたちは、Shenzhen(深圳)のFoxconnを支える”凶暴なファシストたち”の仲間になっている。なお、本誌のライターJohn Biggsは今月の初めにShenzhenを訪れ、今日(米国時間11/21)から当地の状況を綴る連載記事を開始している。

今回は、二部からなる、偶像破壊者Daiseyのインタビューの、第一部だ。明日の第二部で彼は、製造を中国にアウトソーシングするシリコンバレー型のビジネスモデルを、アメリカ全体としてなぜ模倣すべきでないか、を説明している。

[ビデオトランスクリプトは英文ママ]

I’m wearing my yellow t-shirt today as you can all see, in honor of all technology journalists. Because I suspect that our guest today might dazy, the distinguished monologist and author or hour of the agony and ecstasy of Steve Jobs is going to say some things about the cowardliness of technology journalists.

Mike, welcome to Tech Crunch TV again. Great to see you. Good to be here. Mike, I know you’re not happy to put it mildly about technology journalists and their coverage particularly of Apple. Would you like to say more about that? Well, I mean, the problem is that every one should be unhappy with technology journalist.

I think one of the things we forget about technology journalist is that their journalists. I think we often put the emphasis on the technology first. sort of understandable. A lot of people come to technology journalism through their love of technology, but fundamentally, without a vibrant free press, that is actually working hard to uncover stories, no field, no area can be healthy and so I’m upset, and I think we all should be upset, because the failure of technology journalism to act as journalists affects everything in the tech industry, everything that we do.

That’s a pretty big bomb, Mike, to throw. Can you be more exact? What are they failing to do, technology journalists?

Well, specifically, you know, I am performing this monologue, you know, the agony and the ecstasy of Steve Jobs, that we’ve talked about in the past, but it’s about the conditions in the special economic zone that exists in Shenzhen, China, and the conditions under which Apple and other electronics makers manufacture our devices and many people in technology don’t like talking about this because it’s unpleasant.

It’s unpleasant to discover that people are being exposed to nerve agents when they clean the screens of your iPhones and sustain permanent nerve damage. It’s unpleasant to discover that people work 34 hour shifts and die on the line. All these things are very unpleasant to deal with because they necessitate a response.

They demand a sort of a response when basic human rights are perspective and the problem is that technology journalists live in this universe where because they need the devices from the corporations to review, the corporations have an incredibly effective technique for choking off the scent. In fact, they don’t even have to choke it off, if the scent doesn’t exist in the first place.

They are utterly suborned. In fact, most technology journalists, I believe don’t actually see themselves as being truly separate from the companies they cover. They do see themselves as arbiters, but there are a number of companies and they see themselves as admiring one or another and trying to be impartial.

about judging their devices, but they don’t actually see themselves as being representatives of a public good or a cause large than any corporations at all. and these kinds of issues like the environmental issues that are plaguing all of China, the labor issues about how these devices are made, These are sort of over-arcing concerns that technology journalists should be sinking their teeth into.

In fact, in a better world, these are fantastic stories. People should be, you know, diving into them because they’ll have chance to really make a huge difference.

Do you think that a certain kind of cowardly person is attracted to technology journalism, or is it the process of technology journalism which is turning these journalists into cowards? I think it’s the…I think it’s the process. Like anything where you interact with corporations a lot, you know, causes an ongoing degree of as you’re engaged, you begin to make compromises, you know.

And the entire process of working in China is a process of compromise. You know, China is a fascist country run by thugs. And, as a consequence, because we base a huge amount of manufacturing out of there, if you’re covering that area, you begin to engage in a system of engagement with that government, with that system.

You try to work within the system and you become suborned. And I think, we can’t dismiss that a large part of this is that, I think a lot of people drawn to technology journalism, technology was the love, like I don’t know if a huge number of the journalists who were covering this, have the journalist chops, frankly, to do real investigative journalism.

They always certainly don’t see it very often. And I can see that, in how my monologue has been covered. There’s ample coverage in the mainstream press. The mainstream press has actually written a number of op eds, pieces have been written about the pie
ce, engaging with
the ideas and things going on it.

Other reporters have started to pick up the ball and call Apple and call other electronics makers and start to dig in to some of the things I brought up, but that’s not coming from the tech journalists. In fact, I have trouble getting tech journalists into the room. There are a number of prominent tech journalists that still haven’t even seen the monologues by the fact that it is running in their city.

Would you extend your criticism also to coverage of technology companies that are focused on software. Companies like Facebook and Google, because it’s not only the hardware manufacturers who can be criticized. Is that fair?

I suppose. I mean, my, for the purposes of what I’ve been examining, you know, what I care about, in large part, are the labor issues and the environmental issues that exist, in how the devices are made. My concerns mostly focus on the hardware, you know. I think there are concerns that come out of software.

There are certainly concerns about how locked down and unfree software can be and, like, what our future looks like in terms of that? But to be truthful, The focus of my investigations both monologue and outside of it is just trying to get people to look at a really fundamental human story we are talking about basic human rights.

people being worked to death. Not as a metaphor, but literally dying in factories. And the fact that we can’t even the journalists, who represent technology, come as a group into the room and begin to really engage with that. I’m not saying that we can get them to disagree or agree. We can’t even get them to start talking about it.

Well, your show is currently on in New York, is that correct?

Yes it is.

So we’ll have to get our editor, Erick Schonfeld, to come and see you. I don’t know if he’s been there yet. Have you, do you know Erick?

I don’t know Erick.

Well perhaps you can give him a public invitation and we’ll ca him.

I’d be happy to. and some of them are really striking. I know that David Pope has come in to see the show. David Pope, in my experience, would walk over broken glass on his hands and knees to see anything that’s about Steve Jobs or the Mac or Apple.

Apple.

And the fact that he hasn’t been in to see something, that very publicly in his papers has been covered repeatedly, both the show, my own op ed that ran in The Times’ Op Ed section. Talking about the issues that it raises is exactly the kind of thing he is supposed to be having his hands around and the fact that I can’t even get him in the room says something.

I agree, what about Walt Mossberg because with Pope, he’s the most influential cheer leader within the media for apple, has he been to see your show?

He did. He saw it in DC, which, you know, I’ll give him credit for. The same time we talked after the show and I brought these issues up in the lobby. I talked to him about where the response was from technology journalists, the people who could be so spearheading this kind of an investigation, putting their boots on the ground.

A flight to Hong Kong is not that expensive. I understand that all our budgets are shrinking but there is room when there is a major story to go and investigate and he didn’t have even a remotely satisfactory answer. He didn’t know what to say. And I found that really disturbing. I was glad that he came, but it certainly hasn’t changed or influenced any of his coverage since he saw the show.

You would have no idea that he’s actually been in to see the show. Mike, can I be really cynical for a moment?

Sure.

Even if you would have said no, I would have said the same thing. Do you think it might be fair to say that the problem, as much of the problem with technology journalists, is with, of course, the journalists and that yellow perhaps kind of journalism, but it’s also the yellow nature of the technology consumer, because after all, if there was a huge appetite for these kinds of stories, with perhaps the TechCrunch audience or the kind of people who read the tech columns in the Wall Street journal or the New York Times and the journalists would be all over this, but the consumers don’t want to read bad news, particularly technology consumers.

They only want to read about sexy new products.

I don’t know if that’s fundamentally true. I think that, that speaks a lot to how we shape the metaphor, that we expect people to live inside of. You know, like we often, we very often, say that we know, we in the media people – who tell stories
that we know what the public wants, what they want to hear.

This is actually the same narrative that was used during abolition. This was the narrative that was used, was that the public didn’t want to talk about slavery. This is what was used during the Civil Rights movement was that, you know, people don’t want to hear stories like this. It’s even the story that’s happening right now with Occupy Wall Street, is that there aren’t that many protesters, nobody actually cares, there’s nothing to see here, look way, look away, look away.

One of the ways the media represses stories, is that you talk about a story this way. You say, not worth covering, not worth covering, not worth covering, not worth covering. Been covered, been covered, been covered, been covered. You know that’s exactly what happened with the Wired magazine article, where Wired…you know, people are not always aware of this.

I talk about in the show because it was so shocking. Wired did a cover story. On Foxcon and Shenjan and they send a tech blogger who never done any investigative generalism before, they flew him to Foxcon and the company of Foxcon PR reps walked him around some buildings and he never spoke to a single worker.

And then he filed a story about that that ran as the cover on Wired and told everyone that they could just go back to sleep. So, I feel like it’s a mutual system. You know the public, the tech public, wants to be coddled, wants a sweet story filled with reassurances that we are heading towards a bright utopian future were everything is going to be fantastic at the same time the media enables that story.

We can’t actually learn how outraged…how much people can be pushed to action until they start hearing real news. And the fact that there isn’t that much news to report in technology is part of what’s so appalling. I read a lot of tech journalism and I read and I’m in it. I love all this stuff. And, I mean, doesn’t is strike anyone else how fundamentally boring most of it is?

How it’s the same stories over and over again and over? You would think there would be this hunger to actually talk about something! Something interesting! Finally! Finally! And I bring this story and I’m like, I am a monologist. I am not a journalist. I went there. I saw these things. Go and do likewise.

Fly to Hong Kong, get your visa, take the subway to Shenzhen, which you can do from Hong Kong, get out of the subway, go to the gates of the factories, and start talking to people. And I swear to God, it feels like I’m going to eventually have to fly them myself in a plane over there before they’ll do anything.

And I am convinced at this time that mainstream reporters who do other kinds of reporting will tell the story of what anyone in the packed press actually gets off their ass and starts and I think that’s a disgrace.

Well, I think that’s a great challenge, Mike, I think. I’m happy to make it, really. If there’s anyone out there. We run in New york for three more weeks. Any tech journalist. I don’t care how big or small small your credentials are, email me. My name is my website, there’s an email when it comes to me.

I will set you up with things. Absolutely.

I’m on the plane Mike and thanks.

Oh good! We’d love to have you!

See, and I’ll change my t-shirt.

Good.

Mike, as always a pleasure and an honor and best of luck with the agony and ecstasy, which is still playing in New york City.

Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.

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(翻訳:iwatani(a.k.a. hiwa))