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Retracting Mike Daisey

March 27, 2012

Tags: Mike Daisey, Ira Glass, Apple in China, fabrication, retraction

Ira Glass, host of the popular NPR radio program This American Life, discovered that one of the show's most popular episodes contained numerous fabrications. A second episode, called Retraction (aired 3-12-12), reveals the errors in Mike Daisey's story about visiting Foxconn, which makes iPads and other products for Apple in China. Marketplace's China correspondent Rob Schmitz discovered the fabrications. Here's a transcript of "Retraction". Daisey admits he fabricated parts of the story, but says that's because he's "performing a monologue," not reporting as a journalist.

aisey points out in his own blog post that the essential point--that Apple is ignoring appalling conditions in its Chinese factory--is true. But in a story on Huffington Post, he is quoted as addressing journalists who interviewed him about his Foxconn piece: "In my drive to tell this story and have it be heard, I lost my grounding," he wrote. "Things came out of my mouth that just weren’t true, and over time, I couldn’t even hear the difference myself."

You can still read the transcript of the original episode: Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory, on the This American Life website.

On Poynter Online, you can read Roy Peter Clark's piece, The Ira Glass Retraction: Half full or half empty? (3-19-12) and Andrew Beaujon's story This American Life retracts Mike Daisey story about Apple factory in China (3-16-12).

You can listen to archived This American Life stories here.