We all watch the news and believe everything they tell us. The media would never lie, right? Or are we just expected to take every single thing we hear with a grain of salt? In my opinion, many people are too busy to come up with their own interpretations and would rather just listen to what they hear on the news. But many times, stories are reported through different perspectives and given different twists based off the views of their network. For example, when Fox news airs a story, they tend to take a conservative view whereas MS-NBC leans more to the left. Does that mean that all the facts are really shared? I love to watch Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, but I know that he tries to put a comedic spin on his stories so if I really want to know the facts behind something, I have to do my own research. How different is this than Mike Daisey presenting his show with his own spin?
I believe that there is no difference between art and journalism when it comes to the “truth”. No one can deny if something actually happens, but they don’t necessarily have to report all the facts. Jon Stewart, as a late night personality, cares a lot about telling the truth as well as getting good ratings and being funny. However, he tends to take clips from news reports so that he can spin them however he wants rather than showing the whole report, which would add context and probably a different light. People watch The Daily Show and it is very possible that it is their only news source from the entire day. So why wouldn’t they believe him? People go see Mike Dailey’s show and are emotionally touched and impacted by his words, so why would they ever doubt his accuracy? The difference between art and journalism when it comes to telling the “truth” lies with the beholder; what ever interpretation we choose to believe is what will be true in our minds. One should know that when they are listening to Jon Stewart as their only source of news, that they are hearing a show… if they want the facts from both sides they need to go to a credible news source.
So was Mike Daisey an unethical liar? No, I don’t think he was. As he mentions in his second interview with TAL, he is telling a story that is supposed to evoke emotions in the listeners, and it’s true that his words will have a great impact on people’s interpretations. However, people know that they are going to see a play, it’s a credible news source. I do not think that Daisey was being an unethical liar; he told truths, but spun them in a way that would evoke more emotion in his listeners. It’s true that people were poisoned by hexane in Chinese factories and it’s true that workers are treated poorly, so why can’t Daisey add a little twist to his own experience by adding that? Jon Stewart twists clips and takes things out of context almost every night, and people don’t give him much slack. Daisey’s goal was to tell a story, in a theatrical setting, and shed light on the true life of a Chinese factory worker. He shared (what he claimed to be) his personal experiences, he never said that he did months of research to back up the stories he heard in China. So, in my mind, “truth” is in the eyes of the beholder.