"This American Life" Retracts Apple Story

Officials with public radio program say details of report broadcast in January were fabricated

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Employees work at the Foxconn factory in China.

    The public radio program "This American Life" is retracting a story broadcast in January about Apple's operations in China, citing "numerous fabrications."

    The program said in a statement that Friday's broadcast will detail inconsistencies in the episode that originally aired Jan. 6 and is the program's most popular podcast.

    Ira Glass, the show's host and producer, wrote:

    We're horrified to have let something like this onto public radio. Many dedicated reporters and editors -- our friends and colleagues -- have worked for years to build the reputation for accuracy and integrity that the journalism on public radio enjoys. It's trusted by so many people for good reason. Our program adheres to the same journalistic standards as the other national shows, and in this case, we did not live up to those standards.

    The initial program was an excerpt from a one-man theatrical show by writer Mike Daisey. In it, he describes meeting poisoned and mangled workers at Apple's factories in China.

    "This American Life" now says Daisey fabricated the workers and his interactions with them.

    The discrepancies were uncovered by a correspondent in China for the NPR show "Marketplace."

    Daisey said in a message posted on his website that he stands by his work and that what he does is theater, not journalism. 

    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. THIS AMERICAN LIFE is essentially a journalistic --not a theatrical -- enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations. But this is my only regret. I am proud that my work seems to have sparked a growing storm of attention and concern over the often appalling conditions under which many of the high-tech products we love so much are assembled in China.

    "This American Life" is produced by Chicago Public Radio at its Navy Pier studios.