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HBO On Trial For 'Fabricating' Child Labor Story

Host Bryant Gumbel speaks onstage during the 'Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel' panel at the HBO portion of the 2015 Winter Television Critics Association press tour at the Langham Hotel on January 8, 2015 in Pasadena, California. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
Host Bryant Gumbel speaks onstage during the 'Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel' panel at the HBO portion of the 2015 Winter Television Critics Association press tour at the Langham Hotel on January 8, 2015 in Pasadena, California. (Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

In a federal court this week, the British sportswear and equipment supplier Mitre Sports International is claiming HBO defamed the company in a 2008 segment of "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" called "Children of Industry."

The segment portrayed the story of children under the age of 14 hand-sewing Mitre soccer balls for little to no money. Mitre claims that the interviews were edited to be misleading, that parts of the story were fabricated and that the children were coerced to say what they did on camera.

NPR Media Correspondent David Folkenflik has been following this story and joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to talk about how the case has been presented so far in the courtroom. He also explores the practices HBO's "Real Sports" used when reporting the story, and whether that tells us anything about the journalism in question.

  • See more media analysis from David Folkenflik
  • Guest

  • David Folkenflik, media correspondent for NPR. He tweets @davidfolkenflik.
  • Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.