As we reported on Friday, This American Life had to issue a retraction on a radio segment about workers at a Foxconn factory where Apple products are made because Mike Daisey, the man whose story is the thrust of the piece, fabricated a number of the details. And while Daisey has admitted he made things up, he says he did it all with good intentions.
Over the weekend, TAL aired a piece explaining how it became aware of inconsistencies in Daisey’s story, and gave him a chance to explain why he used fictional information for his monologue about his Foxconn visit.
[E]verything I have done in making this monologue for the theater has been toward that end – to make people care. I’m not going to say that I didn’t take a few shortcuts in my passion to be heard. But I stand behind the work.
My mistake, the mistake that I truly regret is that I had it on your show as journalism and it’s not journalism. It’s theater. I use the tools of theater and memoir to achieve its dramatic arc and of that arc and of that work I am very proud because I think it made you care, Ira, and I think it made you want to delve. And my hope is that it makes — has made — other people delve.
Meanwhile, TAL’s Ira Glass says that even though Daisey lied about some of the details regarding his trip to China, much of what the original piece reported about Apple and Foxconn was correct:
We did factcheck the story before we put it on the radio. But in factchecking, our main concern was whether the things Mike says about Apple and about its supplier Foxconn, which makes this stuff, were true. That stuff is true. It’s been corroborated by independent investigations by other journalists, studies by advocacy groups, and much of it has been corroborated by Apple itself in its own audit reports.