'This American Life' Retracts Apple China Factory Episode Following 'Fabrications'

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By Benge Nsenduluka, CP Reporter
March 16, 2012|4:26 pm

The producers of renowned U.S. radio program "This American Life" have recently come under fire following new reports that the show used "fabrications" in one episode which gave a critical analysis of an Apple factory in China.

On Friday, Ira Glass- host of "TAL," which is closely affiliated with both National Public Radio and Public Radio International- released a press release explaining that the show's producers, WBEZ, were retracting a Jan. 6 episode.

"We've learned that Mike Daisey's story about Apple in China- which we broadcast in January- contained significant fabrications. We're retracting the story because we can't vouch for its truth," Glass wrote.

The episode in question, "Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory," was allegedly an excerpt of theatrical performer Mike Daisey's acclaimed one-man show, "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs."

In it, Daisey claimed that he witnessed unethical working practices and questionable production methods at an Apple Factory, which his Chinese interpreter later disputed, according to BBC News.

"The China correspondent for the public radio show Marketplace tracked down the interpreter that Daisey hired when he visited Shenzhen China. The interpreter disputed much of what Daisey has been saying on stage and on our show," Glass continued.

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"Daisey lied to me and to 'This American Life' producer Brian Reed during the fact checking we did. We're horrified to have let something like this onto public radio," she added.

Daisey immediately took to his blog to defend his work, which made the now controversial "TAL" episode one of the show's most downloaded podcasts.

"What I do is not journalism. 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," Daisey wrote on mikedaisey.blogspot.com.

"TAL" has agreed to devote much of its next episode to explaining its retraction of Daisey's analysis of an Apple factory in China.

 

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