In January, American Public Medial show This American Life aired a powerful episode exposing labor practices at the Foxconn factory in China which make Apple products, based on the monologuist Mike Daisey's work "The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs." The episode detailed Daisey's harrowing trip to Shenzen, where he said he met with workers who made Apple's iPad and iPhone. Now This American Life is retracting it, saying Daisey lied to them and portions of his story were fabricated.
Radio host (and nerdy girl pin-up) Ira Glass turns 50 today. Actress (and girlfriend of Justin Timberlake) Jessica Biel turns 27. Lucky editor-in-chief Kim France is 45. City council member David Yassky is 45. Food Network host Tyler Florence turns 38. Famed choreographer Karole Armitage turns 55. Former Rangers star Brian Leetch is 41. Actress Miranda Richardson is 51. Julie Bowen from TV shows Ed and Weeds is 39. And David Faustino of Married... with Children fame turns 35 today.
Somebody tell Biz Stone and Evan Williams to get the zin and gruyere ready, because here comes the NPR set. This American Life host Ira Glass and Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody just joined Twitter. Glass's first reports need more dramatic music: "I already have 4 followers and I haven't told a soul that I've created a twitter account. This is fun!" Cody seems more comfortable. " My Dog is Currently: showing a dehydrated cow penis who's boss," she writes. Meanwhile, Hitwise reports that Twitter ranked #439 among social networks and forums last week, and #4,309 among all websites. So, despite growing eightfold in the last year, the site remains quite small. Expect it to remain so. That is, until it's featured on Things White People Like.
Remember when I freaked out that Malcolm Gladwell, the most successful pop-non-fiction writer of our time, was bragging about pulling pranks at the Washington Post? And remember how I was further irked that Gladwell was lying about lying? And remember how Pareene was like seriously, Rebecca, this is tired? Actually, you might not remember that, because it was a private conversation we had. But Slate media critic Jack Shafer thinks it's interesting.
Last week, Ira Glass, host of This American Life spoke with This American Life contributor David Rakoff at UC Berkeley. What a nice thing for the students! But the engagement was spoiled by New Yorker writer Cynthia Gorney, who can't moderate an event to save her ass. The Berkeley student paper wrote, "In addition to her excessive exaltation thinly disguised as interview questions and an inexplicable penchant for interrupting the witty banter between Ira and David, Gorney's determination to get Ira to elaborate on precisely how he decided to mix in one song over another was an utter failure." Her moderating was so uncomfortable that the school offered tickets to another show to make it up to the guests. After the jump, Berkeley's admission of Cynthia Gorney's failures.
In the mini-dust-up regarding New York Times Grand Inquisitor Deborah Solomon's whimsical approach to journalism and possibly acrobatic use of time and space in an interview with "This American Life" fella Ira Glass, we'd like to note—as the original presenter of these charges in the New York Press did not—that Glass' wife Anaheed Alani is a part-time fact-checker at the
Press Times magazine.
Blood is in the water over at public radio, where top brass has apparently decided that Jesse Camp didn't teach big broadcasters enough lessons back in 1998. Officially, it's the "Public Radio Talent Quest," but Ira "I Am Shattering" Glass is calling it "This American Idol." The game is that people submit a short radio piece, and after a couple weeks of voting, the field starts to narrow and a panel of radio experts/personalities choose the best. If you win—and three people will—you get 10 grand and a mentor, who will help you produce a pilot of your show and shop it to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.