In January, the well known public radio show This American Life broadcast a story called Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory. It featured an excerpt from a monologue written and performed by actor Mike Daisey. Daisey says he traveled to China to one of Foxconn's factories which makes devices for Apple and saw a number of issues with the workers. The episode helped to spur activists to urge Apple to better police the conditions of factories run by Foxconn and others. A few weeks later, Apple said it would hold special audits of those plants.
Today, This American Life has posted word on its web site that it has retracted the episode in question. The show's host and executive producer Ira Glass writes that the China correspondent for another public radio show, Marketplace, told them that the interpreter Daisey used while he went to the country disputed much of the information Daisey said in both his monologue and on This American Life's broadcast.
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.
Glass said that he was "horrified" about having such an episode air on his program. A new episode will be broadcast tonight that will go over the factual errors that were given out in the January episode. However, the press release today already details at least some of these fabrications, where Daisey makes up or modified situations about meeting workers in Foxconn's plants.
Daisey tries to defend his actions in a post on his personal blog, saying, "What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism". He does says that he now regrets having This American Life air a portion of his monologue on their show, saying that their radio show, " ... is essentially a journalistic - not a theatrical - enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations." He does not address Glass and Reed's accusations of being lied to during their fact checking process.