If you listen to NPR’s “This American Life” regularly, as I do, you probably recall back in January when the show devoted some airtime to human horror show that is Foxconn — the Chinese factory. Well much of what was revealed about Foxconn in that episode appears to be fictional.
The makers of the popular public radio program “This American Life” are now retracting a January episode that contained a damning monologue on Apple and its manufacturing practices in China.
That monologue came from actor Mike Daisey, who penned his one-man play, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” after traveling to Shenzhen, China, to visit a handful of factories. That trip included Foxconn, where most of Apple’s hardware is manufactured.
On the show’s website, host Ira Glass elaborated further.
We’ve learned that Mike Daisey’s story about Apple in China – which we broadcast in January – contained significant fabrications. We’re retracting the story because we can’t vouch for its truth. This is not a story we commissioned. It was an excerpt of Mike Daisey’s acclaimed one-man show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” in which he talks about visiting a factory in China that makes iPhones and other Apple products.
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.
Now, it’s important to remember that while this report, which you can still listen to here, was largely bullsh*t, numerous other journalistic enterprises have investigated Foxconn and have all concluded that it’s basically hell on earth. So if you were hoping that this would make you feel less uneasy about buying an iPad 3 this weekend, well, sorry bout that — Apple products are still essentially made by slaves.
(HT: Jason Kottke)
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