The public radio program "This American Life" on Friday retracted a
story about the harrowing tale of what an artist said he found while
investigating Apple operations in China, citing "numerous fabrications."
show's weekend broadcast details inconsistencies in the highly popular
Jan. 6 episode that was an excerpt from writer Mike Daisey's critically
acclaimed one-man show "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs," which
currently is at the Public Theater in New York.
the story because we can't vouch for its truth," Ira Glass, host of
"This American Life," said in a letter posted on the show's website.
New York Times said later Friday that it also had removed a
questionable paragraph from the online archive of an op-ed piece Daisey
wrote for the newspaper in October. Daisey also twisted the truth about
his time in China during an interview with The Associated Press late
In his monologue, Daisey describes meeting very young
workers who put in very long hours and were forced to do crippling,
repetitive motions at factories that make Apple products in China. Some
he claimed had been poisoned by a chemical called hexane.
"This American Life" says Rob Schmitz, a China correspondent for the
public radio show "Marketplace," located and interviewed Daisey's
Chinese interpreter, who disputed much of the artist's claims. Daisey,
under questioning from Glass, admitted in Friday's broadcast that he
didn't meet any poisoned workers and guessed at the ages of some of the
workers he met.
"This American Life" said in its statement that
staffers asked Daisey for his interpreter's contact information while
fact-checking the story and he said the cellphone number he had for her
didn't work anymore and he had no way to reach her.
point, we should've killed the story," Glass said. "But other things
Daisey told us about Apple's operations in China checked out, and we saw
no reason to doubt him."
Daisey posted on his web site Friday that he stands by his work and that what he does is theater, not journalism.