Journaliar


Last week’s blog post prompt required us to listen to a podcast in which Mike Daisey, American actor, reveals the dark truths about Foxconn and Apple’s factories in China. After listening to this weeks podcast entitled ‘retracted,’ it turns out that many of those ‘truths’ were actually fabricated by Daisey to “make people care.” This revelation came about after Marketplace reporter Rob Schmitz tracked down Daisey’s interpreter in China, Cathy Lee, who disputed much of Daisey’s story.

First of all, I want to say that listening to this guy being awkwardly interrogated for half an hour was both painful and weirdly satisfying. I do commend Mike Daisey for going through with this as it definitely takes a lot of balls to admit any lie, much less answer questions about it on the radio. Any listener could hear the great amount of sadness and regret in his voice and in the long silences that preceded pretty much everything he said. He was very clear in his argument that everything in his monologue was to make people care, and I get that. I see where he’s coming from in that so much of our society is blind to what goes on behind the scenes in these poor working conditions. If somebody hadn’t come out with an exaggerated, dark story, nobody would even think twice about it. That being said, I still think it’s quite messed up that Daisey would come out and present this monologue as journalism. He mentioned himself in the podcast “it is theater.” So why not label it as theater and get people to care that way?

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4 thoughts on “Journaliar

  1. I find it interesting that you mention Daisey’s categorization of the monologue as theater, because it is just that. In the podcast, we all heard the shakiness and regret in the tone of his voice, but did Ira truly have the right to interrogate him? Did he deserve that? I believe that Ira’s crude and condemnatory remarks were not warranted. Daisey never lied about the facts, just what he personally experienced. I also found the podcast “painful” to listen through, especially since the tones of both Ira and Mike changed drastically in comparison to the prior podcast. Again, I question whether Mike Daisey deserved all of the negative attention and embarassment he received.

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  2. It makes me wonder if society is genuinely blind and has no knowledge as to what is happening or if they know about it and are choosing to ignore it and turn a blind eye to it. I’m inclined to believe that it’s the latter, especially given the fact that it was something I was exposed to in High School as well as in some of my courses here at Bucknell. I agree with you though – if Daisey had labeled his work as “theater” rather than “journalism” a lot of the anger being directed towards him would not exist but it also would not have generated as much interest as it did.

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  3. I do agree that the interview was extremely awkward at times when Ira Glass was becoming frustrated with Mike Daisey, but I don’t give him that much credit for doing the interview. He could have come forward before he was caught and released a statement saying that he had lied about the majority of the story. Instead, once he had been caught, he came forward and only apologized for having the piece aired on TAL. This gave him fame and fortune. I don’t respect the guy that much because it seems like he is still trying to cover up the fact that he lied about most of his experience.

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  4. It was even weird that Daisey had to clarify what the silences meant. There would be a silence, and then he’d say: “That was me pausing and feeling X.” Super strange. I also agree that if Daisey simply came out and said that the story was pure theater from the beginning he would have been much better off.

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