The number "2,204 pounds of gold" comes from page 17 of this PDF https://www.apple.com/environment/pdf/Apple_Environmental_Re... which prominently displays Liam on the cover page.
Second, the video clearly states that the gold from iPhones is recycled. It would be clearer to say that the phone parts which happen to contain gold are put into refurbished phones. It's not extracting the gold at all, and that's why it's misleading.
And 2 lines above the gold it says 61,357,800lbs of total material, in a figure much more clearly connected than the ostensible paragraph.
When Liam is introduced on that page, Apple explicitly says it is "a line of
robots designed to disassemble 1.2 million phones a year." Unless you think the average phone weighs 61 pounds, it's obviously not responsible for the total material recycling chart above.
Nobody could possibly read this report and come away thinking that Liam is recycling millions of dollars of gold.
If they learn anything here, it will be that they can do less verification on the rest of their stories.
Let's be real wars have been fought over similar misrepresentation of the facts, nothing is going to change because all the parties involved make money on this kind of stuff. Tech journalism cares about getting views today, and only today. They can put out a correction tomorrow that no one will read because its about yesterday's news. Apple doesn't care because the initial press makes them look great. It's good for the goose, so don't expect their behavior to change.
It's an important point that this whole problem with media is the old axiom 'any publicity is good publicity.' If that wasn't true, I think the media would be hella more accurate.