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Was Change.org Apple petition astroturfed?

3 May 2012 1,142 views One Comment

Remember how Mike Daisey got in deep doo-doo for lying about what he saw and heard from workers in China about Apple’s labor practices? Or, you might call to mind Greenpeace and its own Daisey moment in blatantly skewing the facts to make Apple’s squeaky green iCloud server seem dirty? Or, for that matter, New York Times and its own dalliances with willful misrepresentation of the facts?

Well, here comes another one.

News.com writes that Mark Shields, the person that started the Change.org petition that netted more than 250,000 online signatures demanding Apple change its labor practices in China, is a professional activist. In fact, he works for Spitfire Strategies, a company that creates, directs and carries out targeted campaigns very much like the Change.org petition.

Not spooked yet? Shield’s boss, Kristen Grimm offers this bit of enlightenment regarding Spitfire’s methods, “Remember, not all campaigns are big, splashy public affairs. Sometimes your goals are best served by keeping your campaign behind the scenes.”

Whereas there’s no question the Change.org petition captured popular angst over how the products we love are made, it’s just as certain that the movement lost momentum after Mike Daisey’s blatant lies about Apple and its practices were revealed by This American Life.

That said, it isn’t known if Shields was on-the-clock vis-a-vis his role in the Change.org anti-Apple petition, but the fact that he’s not just “some guy” certainly casts a pall over everything he does vis-a-vis “activism”…

What’s your take?

Recent Apple posts:
— Apple taxes: New York Times pulls a Daisey
— Greenpeace pulls a ‘Daisey’

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