This post is inspired by a stint of research into what Apple executives’ reaction was to the “Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”. Even though on a corporate communications level, Apple has responded to the conditions portrayed by Mike Daisey, Apple’s executives shied away from making public statements about Mike Daisey’s allegations…until today… Continue reading Epic Showdown: Tim Cook vs Mike Daisey (with a guest star as well)
I actually got to meet Jason DeRulo after the concert last week– we talked ethics for a hot sec.
Do you think your goal as an artist is to be the most profitable tour or to express yourself and bring the most joy to your fans? Continue reading Jason DeRulo Talks Dirty to Me
Ok, so I understand this is supposed to be a play for educational purposes, but it’s a play about a tech company. I mean, have consumers have become so obsessed with this company that individuals are even performing plays about its history and products? Continue reading Made in China
In our third time around with the Mike Daisey and Apple story, I am left with three main thoughts, being both novel and recurring.
The first, and most prominent to me, was the question that I have not been fully able to answer across all three blogs: If this wasn’t all about Apple, would we really have cared? Did Mike Daisey’s story of Foxconn, beit true or false, only catch our attention because it was about a Man and a Company so revered by us that we couldn’t dare imagine Apple as being anything but the most ethical, the most innovative, and most popular company. But what if Mike Daisey had chosen to highlight Foxconn’s conditions under the context of Samsung, or Nokia? Would TAL have given it airtime? Would he have been asked to come to speak at tech/no? The answer I tend to believe is no, Continue reading So Why Did We Care?
In the interrupted version of Daisey’s Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, the monologue’s narrators asks, “Does truth come in ratios? Are shades of grey always the status quo?” Continue reading In the Eye of the Beholder
“Mr. Daisey and Apple” was one of the most interesting podcasts I have ever listened to (aside from being the only podcast I’ve ever listened to…). Continue reading Creative Reporting Tactics
When reading a news article or listening to a news podcast, how do you decide what to believe? Do you take everything at face value? Do you fact-check? The answer differs for each individual. It also differs based on who is reporting the news. But what happens when something written for artistic purposes is reported as news? The answer: the “Retraction” on This American Life of Mike Daisey’s story on Foxconn.
I empathize with Ira Glass’ in his anger toward Mike Daisey. The Mike Daisey mishap is an embarrassment to This American Life. Ira Glass and producer Brian Reed both vouched for the validity of a story that turned out to be false. T.A.L. was arguably justified in retracting the radio show for its journalistic errors. The issue, however, is that Mike Daisey is not necessarily a journalist. Mike Daisey is an actor, or a type of activist. He stated, “My mistake, the mistake that I truly regret is that I had it on your show as journalism and it’s not journalism. It’s theater. I use the tools of theater and memoir to achieve its dramatic arc and of that arc and of that work I am very proud because I think it made you care, Ira, and I think it made you want to delve.” Though he does so retroactively, this quote has great importance. It is less important to me as to whether Mike Daisey thinks his work is journalism or art. What is important to me is the goal of the ‘act’ in Daiseys mind. Daisey goes on to talk about how his fabrications were woven into his narrative of his trip to China because people had lost interest in the Foxconn scandal. This is taking his apology to be truth, which I am hesitant to do. “[…]And he says that made a strong impression on him, seeing the coverage vanish like that, seeing people suddenly not interested in the workers there anymore[…]And he wanted to make a monologue that would make people care. That was his goal.”
I can personally say that I felt somewhat embarrassed as Ira Glass began to break down Mike Daisey’s arguement or monologue that we listened to last week. Last Sunday, I typed out a blog post on this same Apple laptop that I’m using now about how I was startled by the “truths” Daisey appeared to expose about Apple and Foxconn. I wondered aloud what types of hardships the people who produced my keyboard faced while making it. Additionally, I believed Daisey to be sincere, passionate, and trustworthy. I thought he was the real deal, and he was doing a fantastic job of raising awareness to what really happens at Foxconn. Seeing as Daisey’s monologue was the most downloaded podcast in the history of This American Life, I’m sure I’m not alone in this situation.
All the air has come out of the sails at this point. Every minute, Daisey’s assertions such as 12 year old workers, underground union meetings at Starbucks, injured hands, and guards with guns were broken down and proven to be false. The more I think about it, Daisey’s details were questionable even the first time I heard them. However, he told a great story, and the passion in his voice made me want to believe what he was saying. I wanted to believe he was truly trying to make a difference, and not simply advance his personal career. “Everything in this monologue is built out of my trip.” This is the line Daisey answers with when asked if he simply lied to his listeners. Clearly afraid of the negative connotation surrounding the word “lie”, Daisey pauses for a long time before dodging the question with this answer. Last week, he seemed to burst with confidence and could do no wrong. Now, he sounds defeated. He seems more concerned about saving his reputation then conveying to the listeners what the truth actually is.
This is what the problem with this situation really is. I don’t doubt that Foxconn has many issues, and Apple needs to take action in some areas. I believe that the Foxconn employees do face poor conditions and a lack of worker’s rights. The problem with what Daisey did is that he takes all the good out of his argument, and forces people only to focus on the lies that he told. The Mike Daisey Foxconn story is now about Mike Daisey, and not Foxconn. He did a good job raising awareness and getting the word out there about Apple and Foxconn. However, all of that is gone now because Daisey chose to exaggerate the story and advance his career instead of focusing on honest reporting and getting the facts right. He lost all credibility. I take away from this experience a lesson about how one always needs to take news or stories they come across with a grain of salt. Mike Daisey did a lot of good things, but his failure to act ethically and with integrity tore down what once was an extremely powerful story.