CHICAGO – The public radio program “This American Life” on Friday retracted a story about the harrowing tale of what an artist said he found while investigating Apple operations in China, citing “numerous fabrications.”
The show’s weekend broadcast details inconsistencies in the highly popular Jan. 6 episode that was an excerpt from writer Mike Daisey’s critically acclaimed one-man show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.”
“We’re retracting the story because we can’t vouch for its truth,” Ira Glass, host of “This American Life,” said in a letter posted on the show’s website.
The New York Times said later Friday that it also had removed a questionable paragraph from the online archive of an op-ed piece Daisey wrote for the newspaper in October.
In his monologue, Daisey describes meeting young workers who put in long hours and were forced to do crippling, repetitive motions at factories that make Apple products in China. Some he claimed had been poisoned by a chemical called hexane.
But “This American Life” says Rob Schmitz, a China correspondent for the public radio show “Marketplace,” located and interviewed Daisey’s Chinese interpreter, who disputed much of the artist’s claims. Daisey, under questioning from Glass, admitted in Friday’s broadcast that he didn’t meet any poisoned workers and guessed at the ages of some of the workers he met.
Daisey posted on his website Friday that he stands by his work and that what he does is theater, not journalism.