“Yes Cathy, I’m going to lie to lots of people.”

Would working conditions really be different oversees if we, as Americans, demanded different working conditions? Come to think of it, would we really even take the time to demand different working conditions? Would we really boycott the products that we are so obsessed with until Apple gave their suppliers a greater profit margin? While I am confident that there would be some Americans who would do so, I am uncertain that the majority of Apple consumer would take such actions. Doing so would likely be “too inconvenient” or “too much work.” Well, yeah, so is working 24 straight hours in an awful factory just to produce that device that is glued to your hand 24 hours a day. So maybe we should reconsider which of these situations is a bigger burden.

I know, easier said then done, right? I, for one, believe there would be a SIGNIFICANT amount of change in working conditions in Chinese factories if Apple were to provide their suppliers with a greater profit margin. To be honest, it’s not like Apple is financially struggling to exist or anything. It is outright selfish and unethical for Apple Inc. to exploit the lives of others at the expense of their own greed and desire for greater profitability. If Apple were to give their suppliers even a slightly larger profit margin, how much do you think the company’s total revenue would suffer on the year end financial statements? I believe it is safe to assume that providing said suppliers with a greater profit margin, on behalf of better working conditions for hundreds of thousands of people, would not put them in to debt. Perhaps, such actions would actually attract more consumers, who, perhaps may have boycotting Apple products due to their unethical practices and conditions.

Switching gears to the other main concern of This American Life’s: Retraction, I find it to be quite egotistical of Mike Daisey to deceive thousands of people at the expense of his own career. I believe it to be both astonishing and outright stupid that he would be so senseless to lie about details that can easily be researched by any listener. For example, the population of Shenzhen- just type “Shenzhen population” in to Google, and there it is. Or, stating that the guards outside of the factories had guns, when, anyone who may have traveled to China, or reported on the events at these factories, could tell you that only the Chinese military and Chinese police carry guns. With this information in mind, I have to question Daisey’s moral character based on what he mentiond during the podcast about admitting to the fact that he continued to lie to This American Life, even when the radio show contacted him regarding the validity of his information. Daisey not only put his own reputation on the line, but the reputation of the radio show, by letting them report false information.

Daisey mentioned that he “was kinda sick about it. Because [he knew] that so much of [his] story [was] the best work [that he] had ever made.” Hearing him say this really, really made me upset. I sincerely believe he did not “feel sick” for having lied to so many people, and that he did not sincerely feel bad for making a mockery out of a dire situation for his own individual professional gain and benefit. He just felt sick that he had been caught. Finally, I find it quite interesting that Mike Daisey chose to use the word “made” in describing the quality of his work. While he probably used this word in reference to his monologue, I believe his word choice further builds upon the fact that he “made” this story up by combining his own experience with the experience of others. While I understand that Daisey wanted to make people care about the situation, he very easily did not have to go to the extent that he did to convenience thousands of people that these were his own personal experiences. Just like he admitted to Cathy, he was well aware of the fact that he was lying to lots of people.

5 thoughts on ““Yes Cathy, I’m going to lie to lots of people.””

  1. While I do agree with your point that Americans could drive change at factories overseas, I also believe this is not a feasible possibility. Additionally, Apple hires suppliers that are overseas, the factories are not specifically a part of the company, they are contracted. Thus, it is with the factories that the problem exists. Yes, Apple does not do much more than audit these companies; but where else are they supposed to turn for production if all the supplier options are factories like Foxconn? This is the problem that I believe needs to be addressed.


  2. While listening to the first Daisey podcast this semester, I brought up the point that upon reading about the working conditions of the FoxConn workers, nobody threw out the iPhones or MacBooks out of disgust for the working conditions, but we instead continued to use our Apple products. I think that it would be very difficult to convince all of Apple’s cult-like followers to stop buying their products. In terms of the TAL story, I’m having a difficult time deciding if Daisey lied to gain attention for himself, or if he truly cares about the working conditions of the FoxConn workers. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s a mixture of both. He likes the attention that his story brought to him, but he also does care about trying to change what goes on in those factories.


  3. Your post made me think more about the specifics on how Mike Daisey fabrications came to light. You’re raised a good point that he really only seemed apologetic about his actions only after being reprimanded by people who trusted his word, rather than recognizing his exaggerations when the media started reacting to his then believed to be accurate monologue.


  4. As I commented earlier, the guns one is even more understandable because we are used to guns as symbols of power. Journalists have been beaten up outside of Foxconn (see 2010 Fortune article ). you don’t need a gun to wield authority, especially in a country with limited civil society or free speech.


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