In a painful blog post, This American Life host Ira Glass has retracted his most popular episode because Mike Daisey lied to him.
He lied about where he went, what he saw, and who he talked to. He lied in his stage monologue “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” and he lied on the radio.
NPR finally caught up with his Chinese interpreter (who Daisey claimed had a different name and couldn’t be reached.) She was surprised to hear about all the horrible things they supposedly saw, and she remembered a completely different course of events. While that could just as easily be coverup from Foxconn or the Chinese government, Mike Daisey now willingly admits that large portions of his story were made up for the sake of “theatre.” His heart-rending conversations with underage, oppressed, or crippled workers simply never happened.
Consider that Daisey was the one that originally sparked this most recent wave of Apple-China outrage. The New York Times articles published mere weeks after his NPR monologue. The protests and online petitions. The Nightline documentary. Throughout it all, a bewildered and offended Tim Cook asserted such claims were “patently false” while inviting press to tour the factories.
It was Daisey’s word vs Cook’s. Now one of them is now a proven liar, and it’s sure as hell not Tim Cook.
In one day, my opinion of Mike Daisey has gone from “ethical, talented performer and amateur investigator” to “assclown.”