The radio program “This American Life” and WBEZ 91.5 FM said Friday that they have cancelled the live presentation of Mike Daisey’s “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” at The Chicago Theatre on April 7. The announcement cited "the revelation of numerous fabrications in Daisey’s story," which he has told at both at the Public Theater in New York and on "This American Life."
The crux of the issue here appears to be whether or not Daisey, as a theatrical performer, should be held to strict journalistic standards. On his website Friday, Daisey defended the work as theater (and it was performed in that context at the Public Theater).
"I stand by my work" he wrote. "My show is a theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge."
“This American Life,” which subscribes to journalistic standards, broadcast excerpts of the show. Daisey said he regretted allowing that. "It operates under a different set of rules and expectations."
Investigations apparently found that "Agony and Ecstasy" does not meet the expectations of "This American Life" for factual accuracy. In a letter Friday to WBEZ members, hostIra Glass wrote that Daisey's interpreter in China, contacted by fact checkers, has disputed much of what Daisey wrote.
"We didn't think that he was lying to us," Glass wrote. "That was a mistake."
Daisey's show has been widely credited with sparking investigations into Apple's subcontracted manufacturing process, resulting in improved conditions for Chinese workers.