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.
Many listeners of the This American Life radio program were shocked during the broadcast of an excerpt from comedian Mike Daisey’s one-man-show, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” where he visits a Foxconn factory in China that makes Apple products, and encounters tales of terrible conditions and sad life stories of its workers. Turns out that much of that controversial story was just made up, and the show’s host, Ira Glass, is issuing a retraction for the segment, “Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory.”
A recent episode of This American Life-the fine, fine public radio show-has an excellent piece on the health insurance industry’s use of “rescission.” This is when people with individual insurance policies come down with an illness (or get pregnant) and the insurance company denies coverage by claiming it was a preexisting condition.
Last week, “This American Life” featured a 30-minute piece on people who scam the scammers—in this case, three guys who prey upon small-time Nigerian con men and try to trick them into placing themselves in mortal danger. “This American Life” tells how they almost got a guy to enter a Western Union office in Chad carrying an anti-Muslim/pro-Bush note that announces his intention to rob the place. Whether you think these stunts are funny probably depends on your level of empathy even for criminals, and whether you think the avengers ever fully succeed. But c’mon, getting someone in another country to hold up a sign that’s offensive in your language is pretty much always funny.
The fuel and engine for the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and the credit crunch was Allen Greenspan and the doubling of the global monetary supply, according to the This American Life episode “The Giant Pool of Money” I just got around to listening to. Basically, a bunch of poor countries got rich all of a sudden selling TVs and the like, and in 6 years, doubled the worldwide supply of money. The giant pool of money was hungry for places to invest itself.
Last week the best radio show ever, This American Life, tackled the housing and credit crisis by talking to some of the real people involved with packaging junk no-proof loans into “sensible” investments. In the words of host Ira Glass and friends, it all comes back to “The Giant Pool Of Money.” [This American Life]
One of the producers over at the lovely This American Life radio show was overbilled by MCI (which has since merged with Verizon) for $946.36 and was sent to collections and told lie after lie that they were going to fix the problem. It’s not until host Ira Glass gets involved and starts recording the customer service calls that her issue is finally resolved. The account is credited, the company apologizes, and the Senior VP of Customer Service send her a gift basket of cheese chocolates and crackers. Aw. You can listen to the story here, it’s the second act, about 30 minutes into the show.