“But were the lies necessary?”

Does art do a better job of getting to the truth than journalism? This question really stuck out to me, especially as we dig deeper into this controversy between Mike Daisey and Apple. As we all know, this question is brought up from the fact that Daisey’s emotional monologue turned out to be not quite as truthful as it is made out to be. However, even after knowing the facts, I am still touched by Daisey’s story. Why would it still have a positive affect on me if I didn’t believe it? I think this is an important point to bring up when deciding if art does in fact bring out the truth.

I decided to do a little of my own research and this article best described the thoughts I was having: “But until the radio broadcast Dasiey took part in… this problem was never discussed in such a big, public way. Daisey’s lies inspired honest questions about the gadgets in our pockets. Did he betray the trust of the public and journalists by lying?” I completely agree with this – there is a reason that I am still interested by what Daisey has to say, and I haven’t just signed him off as a complete, power-hungry liar. Without him, no one would ever know the truth!

It’s true, his lying definitely had an effect on journalists like Ira Glass on TAL because his job is to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. However, when Daisey is interviewed on Retraction, he points out that he stands by his work and that his only regret is “that he aired his show on TAL“. His story brought this controversy to the attention of millions who wouldn’t have paid it any mind had it never been discussed. So I think that, yes journalism is the best place to find FACTS, which in turn will give the truth depending on who is interpreting them. Art is not necessarily a better resource by any means, but it does a good job of putting images in people’s minds who can go on to find out however much TRUTH they want to hear.


5 thoughts on ““But were the lies necessary?””

  1. I enjoyed reading your blog and think you brought up a few interesting points. Like you mentioned, it’s certainly true that before Daisey’s monologue was broadcasted on the radio, not too many people had taken the time to consider how our beloved Apple products were made and by whom. In that sense, although his story contained numerous fabrications, it did succeed in bringing awareness to the situation. I still wonder, however, how the reactions of people would have been different had his story lived up to the journalistic standards of TAL. Would it have been seen by less people had the details of his experiences not been so emotionally capturing? Also, you mention, at the end of your post, how art can inspire people to go out and find out more through additional research. This is undoubtedly true, however it makes me wonder how many people had seen Daisey’s original monologue, or heard the podcast, yet did not hear about TAL’s retraction or the fact that he fabricated and exaggerated details of his experiences throughout his visit to China. Was it unethical for him to portray his story as the truth, and nothing but the truth? Does it matter? Did people deserve the right to know before hearing his story for the first time? From your post, you seem to be taking a look at the bigger picture and realizing that while his story may have been unethical in a sense, it accomplished the goal Daisey had intended.


  2. Zach great response I agree with alot of your points and reactions to the post. I too think it is important to consider the reactions that Daisey would have gotten from people if he had not embellished his trip to Foxconn. I would like to think that people would still care about the issues, but the truth is I really don’t think it would have had the same impact. I don’t think that Daisey’s monologue would have gained as much traffic, which would leave these issues in the dust. If theres this line between journalism and art, journalism being purely facts and art having the ability to be embellished, which do you think people would choose? Would their motives be art so they are painted a more vivid picture even though everything may not be accurate?


  3. Zach, I also want to comment on your reaction – it’s true I am looking at the bigger picture here, and it’s true that Daisey’s intentions were in fact the result of all this publicity. As they say in show business, “any press is good press”, which ironically resonates with this situation. I like that you bring up how many people may have just listened to the original podcast and not gone on to find out more. This is what’s scary about the media, but for me, I choose not to make an opinion until I know both sides of a story. I find it hard to hear other people’s opinions when I know they just heard one side and are sticking with that as the truth.


  4. Great insight Emily. That is a good way of looking at it that “any press is good press”. I find that it is more difficult in today’s day and age to hear both sides of the story when it comes to a lot of stories that are popular in the media. I think that this is difficult due to the competition in the media industry to keep their viewers entertained and tuned in.


  5. You are digging into important questions about the relationships between facts and truth.

    After experiencing all this, I find myself describing truth-in-details (facts) and narrative truth. The dishonesty of the details, to rephrase your WaPo article, illuminates the narrative truth: Apple and Foxconn and the Chinese government are allowing or encouraging exploitation of workers to make products marginally cheaper. Who benefits? Apple, Inc. Once we know the narrative truth, we can and should find the facts, but until the sum of them accumulates to change the narrative truth, we can not escape that.


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