“This American Life”, a popular investigative journalism program produced by Public Radio International, has retracted a entire episode after learning the reporter on the piece fabricated some of the information presented. In the story about working conditions at Foxconn, the manufacturer that makes many of electronics giant Apple’s products, reporter and self-proclaimed performance artist Mike Daisey apparently lied about the number of factories he visited, the number of times he visited, and about worker complaints they were poisoned by chemicals that are used to manufacture iPhones.
The show’s host Ira Glass commented on his blog page:
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…That doesn’t excuse the fact that we never should’ve put this on the air. In the end, this was our mistake.
It seems a correspondent for another public radio program, “Marketplace”, interviewed the interpreter Daisey used while doing his research. The interpreter disputes numerous claims Daisey makes in his show.
This is just the latest in various scandals that have plagued public radio organizations in recent years, like the firing of commentator Juan Williams by National Public Radio for comments he made in his other job on Fox News. Fox News itself has felt the heat, and has taken the unusual step of retracting the last ten years of its broadcasts due to “factual errors and blatant fabrications” on the part of its staff. In related news, Dan Rather has been found hanging by a white and red striped tie, with a note pinned to his chest that says “I just can’t live with the shame anymore”, and Rush Limbaugh has revealed that he is not only a misogynist but “sometimes I want to touch men”.