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Daniel Nations

The Year of iPad Retractions

By March 26, 2012

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When announcing the iPad 2, Apple called 2011 the "year of the iPad." 2012 may very well be the year of iPad retractions.

After the New York Times posted an article on the human cost of the iPad, some facts used in the article were disputed in an open letter by the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), who stated that it was untrue that Apple had consistently disregarded advice that BSR provided relating to working conditions in the supply chain.

And earlier this month, Mike Daisey's The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, a monologue in which Daisy relates the conditions he saw while traveling to China to see how his Apple products were manufactured, was retracted after being aired on This American Life. Daisy willfully misled host Ira Glass and This American Life producers by insisting that he had lost his translator's phone number. Once tracked down, the translator contradicted key elements in Daisey's story.

Yesterday, Daisey took to his blog to apologize for failing to "honor the contract I'd established with my audiences over many years and many shows." In his post, Daisey relates the inaccuracies as a failing to make sure the audience knew the difference between the facts he represented as truth and the flights of fantasy he used to illustrate his point.

This might be a fair assessment under certain circumstances. After all, we don't go to the theater to become informed. We go to be entertained. And we understand that an artist may exaggerate the facts in order to tell a good story.

Unfortunately, this isn't one of those circumstances where Daisey simply failed in his art. His deliberate misleading of This American Life in order to keep them from fact checking his story shows that he willingly and willfully passed off fiction as fact, perchance feasting in the buzz generated by the impending iPad release. Hopefully, he will learn from his mistake and do better in the future.

Meet the New iPad
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