'The American Life' disavows show on Apple factory in China

Mar 16, 2012 5:35 pm

Adrian Chen at Gawker reports that the radio show "This American Life" is now retracting an episode that aired in January about labor practices at the Foxconn factory in China which make Apple products, and was based on the monologuist Mike Daisey's work "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs." In a statement, "This American Life" boss Ira Glass writes, "Daisey lied to me and to This American Life producer Brian Reed during the fact checking we did on the story, before it was broadcast. That doesn't excuse the fact that we never should've put this on the air. In the end, this was our mistake." The show will devote this week's entire episode to the retraction. The episode in question told of Daisey's trip to Shenzen, China, where he claimed he met with workers who made Apple's iPad and iPhone. Chen writes, "A reporter for NPR's "Marketplace," Rob Schmitz, interviewed the translator Daisey used in China and she disputed some substantial facts, including two of the most dramatic moments of Daisey's story: When he claimed to have met a worker whose hand had been crushed by a machine that made iPad cases, and others that had been poisoned by a chemical used on the iPhone assembly line." On his own website, Daisey says he is not a journalist. "The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism. For this reason, I regret that I allowed "This American Life" to air an excerpt from my monologue. "This American Life" is essentially a journalistic ­- not a theatrical ­- enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations. But this is my only regret." Read the full story at Gawker.
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