This American Life Retracts ‘Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory’

Ira Glass:

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. On this week’s episode of This American Life, we will devote the entire hour to detailing the errors in “Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory.”

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.

Kudos to Glass and This American Life for getting on top of this and devoting as much time to the retraction as they did the original story.

I’ve only mentioned Mike Daisey once on Daring Fireball, when I linked to This American Life’s now retracted episode, and when I did, I added no commentary. I caught much shit about this from critics, who posited that my lack of analysis or coverage of Daisey’s claims was proof of my hopeless bias in favor of Apple, no matter the evidence. But the thing is, Daisey’s supposed stories always set off my spidey sense — one guy claiming things that no one else was claiming or reporting, all uncovered during a single six-day trip to China by a man who doesn’t speak Chinese and with no prior investigative reporting experience. Ends up my spidey sense was right: Daisey made it up.

Friday, 16 March 2012