Tri States Public Radio Staff
The Mike Daisey Controversy
Tue March 20, 2012
Shop Talk- March 20
The panelists discuss the retraction aired over the weekend by This American Life.
TAL in January aired an adaptation of storyteller Mike Daisey's one-man stage show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. The show looks into abuses at Apple factories in China. It became TAL's most popular podcast, but host Ira Glass said he has since discovered Daisey fabricated certain people and incidents.
The Shop Talk panelists agree it's difficult to imagine other media -- such as Fox -- admitting a mistake, alerting the audience to it, and spending any amount of time examining what went wrong.
But the panelists also feel TAL could have avoided problems by clearly pointing out the stage show was just that -- a show, not a piece of journalism. While Glass is concerned about the truth of what was aired, it should be noted TAL's fanciful storytelling techniques could leave listeners unclear about whether they're listening to hard journalism or something else.
In addition, some elements of Daisey's show appear to be true, and the abuses he cites are getting overlooked in the hub-bub over the TAL adaptation.