Wednesday, March 21, 2012

When Reporters Lie

Putting the Peel Back on the Apple

“In a surprising turn of events, This American Life announced this afternoon that it is retracting its exposé of the working conditions at Apple’s factories in China. . . .

“‘Regrettably, we have discovered that one of our most popular episodes was partially fabricated. This week, we devote the entire hour to detailing the errors in “Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory,” Mike Daisey’s story about visiting Foxconn, an Apple supplier factory in China. Rob Schmitz, a reporter for Marketplace, raises doubts on much of Daisey’s story . . .

“‘Ira [Glass] also talks with Mike Daisey about why he misled This American Life during the fact-checking process. And we end the show separating fact from fiction, when it comes to Apple's manufacturing practices in China.’

“In a statement on his website, monologist Mike Daisey, whose one-man show provided the basis for the episode, explained that he was standing by his work: ‘My show is a theatrical piece . . . . What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism. For this reason, I regret that I allowed THIS AMERICAN LIFE to air an excerpt from my monologue. . . .

“‘My mistake, the mistake I truly regret, is that I had it on your show as journalism. And it’s not journalism. It’s theater.’

“In another statement . . . host Ira Glass insisted, ‘Our program adheres to the same journalistic standards as the other national shows … in this case, we did not live up to those standards.’”

—Forrest Wickman,
“This American Life Retracts its Apple Exposé,”, March 16, 2012
Image: Mike Daisey doing his show, “The Agony and The Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.” (AP Photo/Stan Barouh)

• Editorial Comment: In journalism, there’s only truth, not some reporter’s (or “artist's”) “larger truth.” Got to hand it to Ira Glass for his response, though

This American Life retraction
“An acclaimed Apple critic made up the details,” Marketplace

• Mixed Bag: Did you miss yesterday’s WORDs from the Pew Center on the state of the news media 2012? Click here.

• Faculty Wanted!
The JCOM Department at Utah State is taking applications for a multimedia instructor, teaching our new required multimedia class and assisting with the Aggie TV newscast classes. For full position description, click here.

News from our award-winning student news site, The Hard News Café
USU Eastern student journalists win 11 Utah Press awards
Aggie journalists win 17 regional SPJ Mark of Excellence Awards
Review: ‘West of Memphis’ is chilling, heart-wrenching, by Natasha Bodily
Teams vie to live healthy in Live, Love, Nutrition Challenge, by Kristi Ottley
Mendon’s GOP caucus: Record turnout, strong support for Hatch, by Josh Ruggles
Backyard beekeeping 101: Smithfield class attracts honey of a crowd, by Jessica Wilkinson
JCOM Scholarships for 2012-13. Deadline: April 2
Hard News Café March News Roundup
(March 19)
The Aggie TV News Team (March 7 edition). Bookmark ATV News

PeezPIX by Ted Pease
Catalog here

Spring Break at Houda Beach, Northern California


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