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Fabricated claims about Apple's manufacturing prompt retraction from 'This American Life' [u]

post #1 of 108
Thread Starter 
The radio program "This American Life" has retracted an Apple-centric episode it aired earlier this year about the working conditions at Foxconn, after it was revealed a critic lied about what he saw when visiting the Chinese facilities.

The program aired an episode earlier this year entitled "Mike Daisey and the Apple Factory," which was based on a monologue by performer Mike Daisey. The show admitted on Friday that details from the episode were fabricated, and it has accordingly retracted the episode.

Both "This American Life" and American Public Media's "Marketplace" will detail "numerous fabrications" that were stated in the original program. In a statement, it was said that "This American life" cannot vouch for Daisey's claims made in his monologue.

When the original 39-minute excerpt was broadcast on This American Life on January 6, 2012, Marketplace China Correspondent Rob Schmitz wondered about its truth," the press release reads. "Marketplace had done a lot of reporting on Foxconn and Apple's supply chain in China in the past, and Schmitz had first-hand knowledge of the issues.

"He located and interviewed Daisey's Chinese interpreter Li Guifen (who goes by the name Cathy Lee professionally with westerners). She disputed much of what Daisey has been telling theater audiences since 2010 and much of what he said on the radio.

"During fact checking before the broadcast of Daisey's story, This American Life staffers asked Daisey for this interpreter's contact information. Daisey told them her real name was Anna, not Cathy as he says in his monologue, and he said that the cell phone number he had for her didn't work any more. He said he had no way to reach her."

The retraction for the program is particularly significant because "Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory" was the single most popular podcast in the history of the program, garnering 888,000 downloads and 206,000 streams. Following the airing of the program, Appel's partnership with Foxconn came under fire in reports from The New York Times and CNN.




The host of "This American Life," Ira Glass, explained the "difficult news" in a post to the site's official blog. He explained that it was not a story that the show commissioned, but rather was an excerpt of Daisey's acclaimed one-man show.

"Daisey lied to me and 'This American Life' producer Brian Reed during the fact checking we did on the story, before it was broadcast," Glass wrote. "That doesn't excuse the fact that we never should've put this on the air. In the end, it was our mistake."

One of the falsified remarks by Daisey include his claims that he met with a group of workers who were poisoned on an iPhone assembly line. That event did not happen in Shenzhen, China, where Daisey visited, but instead happened nearly a thousand miles away.

Daisey's interpreter also disputed two of "the most dramatic moments" in Daisey's monologue: his claims that he met with underage workers, as well as a man with a hand that was mangled while making iPads.

"With this week's broadcast, we're letting the audience know that too many of the details about the people he says he met are in dispute for us to stand by the story," Glass said. "I suspect that many things that Mike Daisey claims to have experienced personally did not actually happen, but listeners can judge for themselves."

For his part, Daisey has released his own statement on the matter, in which he said he stands by his work as a "theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge."

"What I do is not journalism," Daisey said. "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."

Update: A full transcript of the 'Apple exposé Retraction' episode is below. The audio can also be found through the This American Life website.

TAL 460 Retraction Transcript


[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 108
Oops!
post #3 of 108
One word, DIET!
post #4 of 108
So no actual punishment, then. So it's just pure slander and they're getting away with it.

Quote:
What I do is not journalism

Ah, see, what he meant to say was,

Quote:
I'm not accountable for anything that I say because I don't consider myself a news outlet.

Originally Posted by Marvin

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post #5 of 108
With a face like that, I'm glad he's on radio.
post #6 of 108
If I remember correctly, the stage show was originally said to have come out of Daisey's "investigations". If he is only a theatre performer and not a journalist, how did he get access in the first place? Saying he's not a journalist in this instance is like insulting someone, then saying "no offence".
It is a fact that 63% of statistics are true 47% of the time. The rest are just made up on the spot.
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It is a fact that 63% of statistics are true 47% of the time. The rest are just made up on the spot.
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post #7 of 108
Apple should sue him for slander/libel.

In other "news", sources tell me that Mike Daisey is about to marry a goat. Unfortunately my source changed his/her number and I can't verify with her to validate this claim. However, I will still post it since I'm not a journalist.
post #8 of 108
Hey, now that his show is toast, maybe he can get a job at DigiTimes?
post #9 of 108
Props to Ira Glass and the rest of his team on This American Life for delivering a full-episode-length retraction. That's professionalism.
post #10 of 108
A lie is a lie is a lie. Presented in the context if a news program, such a lie is reprehensible. Whether Daisey is willing to admit it or not, he represented his lies as truths to people whose job was to vette his claims. Sorry or not, he lied about Apple and he lied about his veracity.

Worse, he lies and apparently continues to lie to his audiences knowing that his misrepresentations will form the basis for opinions of people who are otherwise uninformed or falsely informed by other sources.

This makes him the worst kind of liar.
post #11 of 108
so, next time i lie to someone i can always just say i was being theatrical. Good to know.
post #12 of 108
This is the wrong way of approaching the problem!

what this guy has done is and will hurt future campaigns for workers' rights. Because from now on, many people may not believe some stories that may even be true! This is not just about Apple and it affects the whole industry and also the business model that China is built upon.

I do not believe that iPads are made in sweatshops but I am happy that some workers got a pay rise that they do deserve!

-- I just read this guy's response and I have to say that he is trying to hide behind freedom of speech and that his job is "not journalism". It reminds me of the credit agencies (e.g. S&P) who claim that they only make a comment on the market and it is up to others to take their opinion into account or not! Hence they are protected by Free Speech and cannot be regulated properly
post #13 of 108
Everyone who attended Daisey's "Theatrical Performance" should call and demand a full refund.

The phone number of the Public Theater in New York is (212) 539-8500
post #14 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gamrin View Post

Props to Ira Glass and the rest of his team on This American Life for delivering a full-episode-length retraction. That's professionalism.

It's too bad we can't say the same for the tech blogs that created this mess in the first place.

As much as I never liked Mike Daisey and was offended by his performance, he is quite correct that it was a performance and was described as such right from the start. The problem only arose when a lot of stupid unprofessional tech blogs (I'm not sure if there actually *are* any professional ones), spread the story around as if it were fact.

I remember being shouted down on this and several other forums when I pointed out that there was no evidence for his claims and that we only had his word for most of what he said and also that what he claimed was at odds with the known facts.

If his work was correctly presented by the tech media as the mixture of fact and fiction it was, there wouldn't be any problems in the first place. This is a failure of the professionalism of the tech media, not Mike Daisey.
post #15 of 108
Sue not only him but the producers as well! The only way they'll think about it twice next time if if you set a precedent.
post #16 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeoTheta View Post

Everyone who attended Daisey's "Theatrical Performance" should call and demand a full refund.

This!
post #17 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

As much as I never liked Mike Daisey and was offended by his performance, he is quite correct that it was a performance and was described as such right from the start. The problem only arose when a lot of stupid unprofessional tech blogs (I'm not sure if there actually *are* any professional ones), spread the story around as if it were fact.

Although you raise valid points here about Mike Daisey's work and the blogsphere, but, Mike Daisey did portray his work as "news" and did not do anything to make sure others will take it as fiction rather than "news". Now that some facts have come to light, he is claiming his work is theatre and not news! I think that is a bit dishonest and he could have done way better!
post #18 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by gargravarr View Post

If I remember correctly, the stage show was originally said to have come out of Daisey's "investigations". If he is only a theatre performer and not a journalist, how did he get access in the first place? Saying he's not a journalist in this instance is like insulting someone, then saying "no offence".

Trust me, Daisey will never be allowed in China again.

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post #19 of 108
this American Life's Excuses for their Flub is Weak.

They call they themselves a premier news outlet and they used an 'actor' as a 'source'. That should have set up GREAT BIG red flags at once and the story should never have aired but Apple was too big a target for ratings.

Would they have interviewed thriller writers and use what they say as 'FACTS' for espionage, crime or stories on international relations? American Life's next big story on U.S response to the current SYRIA CRISIS will be based on "JAMES BOND".
post #20 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFreeman View Post

Although you raise valid points here about Mike Daisey's work and the blogsphere, but, Mike Daisey did portray his work as "news" and did not do anything to make sure others will take it as fiction rather than "news". Now that some facts have come to light, he is claiming his work is theatre and not news! I think that is a bit dishonest and he could have done way better!

Perhaps Apple should file a defamation lawsuit against this fool... and This American Life could get in on that as well.

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #21 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

For his part, Daisey has released his own statement on the matter, in which he said he stands by his work as a "theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge."

"What I do is not journalism," Daisey said. "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."

He misspelled "I'm a big, fat liar".

I really hope Apple and Foxconn go after him for slander.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

Apple should sue him for slander/libel.

In other "news", sources tell me that Mike Daisey is about to marry a goat. Unfortunately my source changed his/her number and I can't verify with her to validate this claim. However, I will still post it since I'm not a journalist.

You don't have the whole story. It was an underaged goat and he didn't marry it, he simply committed adultery with it because his llama wife threatened to bite his ears off if he asked for a divorce. And my source went into a convent and is secluded, so you can't verify this claim.
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #22 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Davewrite View Post

American Life's next big story on U.S response to the current SYRIA CRISIS will be based on "JAMES BOND".

Is part of the joke the fact that Bond is British, or is that just secondary to the play on the unrealistic nature of such a story?

Because the former makes it funnier.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
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post #23 of 108
what's up with these fat dudes, Michael Moore, Mike Daisey, Ed Schulz, Rush Limbaugh, etc, etc?
post #24 of 108
i always knew this FAT DISGUSTING PIG was up to no good.

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CNN: Obamacare largest tax increase in American history

 

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post #25 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daisey

"Theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge." [...] "What I do is not journalism," Daisey said. "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."

Which is to say, not so concerned with factual accuracy of claims.

This is a bummer for This American Life. I'm glad they're taking ownership of this, though. I would consider it to be, in all probability, the most fantastic program a person could hope to tune in to on the radio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post

what's up with these fat dudes, Michael Moore, Mike Daisey, Rush Limbaugh, etc, etc?

So... do you only notice the asses that are overweight?
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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post #26 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

With a face like that, I'm glad he's on radio.

Your comment just made Rush Limbaugh cry.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #27 of 108
This American Life.
post #28 of 108
In spite of his defense, he knew that what he was doing was dead wrong, proven by how he gave the wrong name of his translator and claimed her phone was disconnected. What a schmo.
post #29 of 108
In life, sometimes the sequence of steps is important.

Correct Sequence of Steps:
1. Check the facts.
2. Air/publish the news story.

Wrong Sequence of Steps:
1. Air/publish the news story.
2. Check the facts.
post #30 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

As much as I never liked Mike Daisey and was offended by his performance, he is quite correct that it was a performance and was described as such right from the start. The problem only arose when a lot of stupid unprofessional tech blogs (I'm not sure if there actually *are* any professional ones), spread the story around as if it were fact.

it wasn't just the blogs. The common man that goes to see the show is told it is based on his personal 'investigations' etc and they believe that means that he is speaking truths. Or at least more truth than fiction. It could be the case they are not.

Daisey wants folks to think that there's truth to all that he is saying because the ire about those truths is what sells tickets, what gets schools etc to want to do his little show and get him more fame.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #31 of 108
Quote:
Mike Daisey and the Apple Factory

Really? I guess the "Apple Factory" needs to stop making The Xbox, Wii, PlayStation 3, Kindle and everything else non-Apple related. Also, all labor issues in China are Apple's fault. Got it. Anything else, Michael Moore wannabe?

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #32 of 108
Why didn't this a-hole say that the story had fictional parts when they were fact checking it? Why'd did he lie about his sources? Simple, because he knew exactly what he was doing, he wanted to have an entire episode to himself on the #1 podcast in the world.
post #33 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnesota_Steve View Post

This American Life.

As punishment for actually taking ownership of the mistake? \
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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post #34 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

So no actual punishment, then. So it's just pure slander and they're getting away with it.

Quote:
What I do is not journalism


Ah, see, what he meant to say was,

Quote:
I'm not accountable for anything that I say because I don't consider myself a news outlet.

Well this is Fox News' argument whenever they're dragged into court. They've always claimed to be an entertainment program and not a "news" program that should be held up to journalistic standards. Which always made me wonder why most people even watch most of that crap?
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #35 of 108
Seriously I was just in a conversation last night about an injury at work. It happens often due to stupid behavior. However we seldom see vast articles condemning an unrelated individual or corporation. Well in this case a "performance", I'm pretty much convinced this is alert wing feeble attempt at a grab for power.

Really it seems like the thought here is that people work for aliving and that is bad! It isn't like injuries at work are a good thing, some of them can be pretty horrific, but you can never zero out risk.
post #36 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

So... do you only notice the asses that are overweight?

I think this guy had the same problem.

Crying? No, I am not crying. I am sweating through my eyes.
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Crying? No, I am not crying. I am sweating through my eyes.
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post #37 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

As punishment for actually taking ownership of the mistake? \

I am glad they took ownership. Doesn't mean I have to respect the bad work? Path also got deleted for violating my trust. They also had a nice apology.
post #38 of 108
It certainly seemed to be stated as real journalism and not satire yet the intro to Real Time with Bill Maher does show an image of a theater playbill which could give a legal out, though not a moral one.

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post #39 of 108
Ah... the Rush Limbaugh defense. "I just make absurd comments in order to illustrate my points."
post #40 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

Well this is Fox News' argument whenever they're dragged into court. They've always claimed to be an entertainment program and not a "news" program that should be held up to journalistic standards. Which always made me wonder why most people even watch most of that crap?

People will go to extremes to get validation for their beliefs. Frankly this is no different then the mentally ill getting a pass for murder. The old he isn't responsible because he is I'll routine is accepted by many in the same way that these entertainers are. He isn't nuts he is an actor, which excuses all. Come to think of it this seems to be what Hollywood is all about.

Frankly these guys are just sleazy examples of the do anything for a buck. They make the common whore look like an angel.
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