Mar 16, 2012 8:50 PM GMT
Daisey said in the 39-minute episode that he became curious about the conditions of Chinese factories where Apple products are made after he discovered photos of factory workers that were left onto his iPhone by mistake. He travelled to the factories in Shenzhen, China and interviewed workers there, who told him they endured terrible working conditions. Daisey described meeting workers whose hands were shaking after they were poisoned with the neurotoxin hexane and meeting several children right at the gates of the factory who were as young as 12 years old.
The China correspondent for the radio show Marketplace, Rob Schmitz, wrote that he decided to track down Daisey's translator after he found it suspicious for Daisey to ferret out some of the worst labor abuses reporters have been hunting for years in a six-day trip to the site. Translator Cathy Lee told Schmitz that she never saw the underaged or poisoned workers, and that she also never saw armed factory guards, which Daisey describes.
So why didn't This American Life talk to Cathy Lee earlier, before they aired the episode? In a press release, the show says Daisey told them he lost her cell phone number. "At that point, we should've killed the story," show host Ira Glass said in the release. "But other things Daisey told us about Apple's operations in China checked out, and we saw no reason to doubt him. We didn't think that he was lying to us and to audiences about the details of his story. That was a mistake."
This American Life said it did "weeks of fact checking to corroborate Daisey's findings," when airing his original episode.
A new episode explaining how the show was duped will air Friday at 8 p.m. According to Schmitz, Daisey admits on the show that he never talked to poisoned workers.