Published on March 17th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria2
NPR Retracts ‘Apple in China’ Story Two Months After Report
NPR is usually hailed as a great objective source of news (unless you are conservative, in which case it is denigrated as communist state radio), albeit one delivered in a mind-numbing, droning tone that kind of makes you want to shoot yourself in the face when thus exposed for ten or more minutes- but a recent expose done by the program “This American Life” on Apple’s factory conditions in China went viral when it aired in January.
Apple fans across the developed world experienced a massive outpouring of first world guilt upon hearing their prized touchscreen possessions may have been manufactured under unkind and grueling circumstances, and source Mike Daisey was happy to spin a tale of exploited underage workers and rife chemical poisonings in the manufacture of iPads he said Foxconn employees had never seen- quoting one as describing a presented unit of the device as “like magic” the first time the worker saw it. The problem is that Daisey’s story did- upon further NPR checking- not stand up to some basic veracity testing.
NPR’s scathing assessment of Daisey post-scandal calls to mind that of Oprah after she was conned over that fake drug addict’s book a while back, with organization raking the dramatist over the coals for his seemingly deliberately presented accuracies. In a blog post retracting the Apple Foxconn story, Ira Glass says:
“I have difficult news. 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…”
“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.”
You can read This American Life’s full retraction here.