Mike Daisey got busted. BBBBUSTED! He was called on the — I’m assuming — lush carpets of This American Life on Friday by Ira Glass himself. Mr. Daisey, who is to solo performance what Louis CK is to stand-up comedy (that is, The Gold Standard), had been on an episode of TAL in January where he told an exceptionally compelling story (an excerpt from his solo play, The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs) about going to China and inspecting Apple computer factories and uncovering corruption beyond anything any one journalist had ever discovered. But unfortunately it wasn’t exactly … ummm … errrr … true.
Daisey says he stands by his story. And he certainly has gotten people talking about important issues. But that’s not the point of This American Life. The show wants truth. I take no pleasure in Daisey’s bust. The retraction episode on TAL was brutal. BBBBRUTAL. I do think Mr. Glass did a remarkable job of walking the fine line between, “Just tell me the truth and everything will be okay.” and “NEGRO IS YA CRAZY?” (No, Ira Glass would never say that. No, Mike Daisey is not black. That’s just what a Defcon 1 level of interrogation sounds like in my head.)