Blog Post 3

The question here is “what is truth”. As noted in dictionaries and essays about truth, there are many different meetings for the word truth. Some believe that it is expressing facts, others that it is about being sincere in one’s actions. Either way, I think the real problem is labeling. After listening to the “Retraction” podcast, I realized that even though people may have differing views of what the truth is, it wouldn’t cause problems if Mike Daisy would’ve labeled his show as based on the truth. This “honest labeling”, as Ira mentioned, is helpful in many different types of media. Mike Daisy commented that he never lied and strongly believes that truth matters but his mistake was having his monologue on the radio show as journalism, instead of as theater. Daisy even admits that the main problem was labeling. It’s not necessarily about the facts that were distorted, its how Daisy presented his monologue as journalism, which implies that all of his facts were correct.

I believe there is a distinction between lying and exaggerating the truth. For example, Mike Daisy lied that he saw people who were poisoned with hexane and had uncontrollable hands. He exaggerated the truth when he said he talked to 100 people when he only talked to around 50 people. I think this difference is very significant, especially in this context. Yes, exaggerating the amount of people isn’t right, but at least he did talk to people about these issues. The fact that he completely made up the old man’s story about losing his hand making ipads and the numerous people with uncontrollably shaking hands, is a disgrace. It’s wrong to account these interactions that never happened. In this instance, I believed that Mike Daisy lied. He clearly stated something that was false and not truthful. On the exaggerations, I wouldn’t say that Daisy lied. He simply stretched the truth to better prove his points.

Finally, the issue of who decides the distinction between truth and lies becomes more complicated. Since there are many different perceptions of the truth, the decision lies in the eye of the beholder. According to one’s own moral codes, one action could be a lie to another person’s truth. Mike Daisy seems to think that he did not lie. He thinks his monologue had nothing wrong with it, except for presenting it on the radio station. Clearly many other people disagree and think that he lied. This exemplifies the predicament that exists in society. I think its quite ironic when Daisy says in his monologue “Yes, I’m going to lie to lots of people”. Technically he admits that he will lie, but only in a different context. So we’re back to the question of “who decides?”. Honestly, I don’t know.

4 responses »

  1. cjt017 says:

    You raise a great point, who decides what is “true” especially in a day and age where many people do not believe in absolutes but rather believe that everything is relative. I think a helpful tool is the deontological theory we learned in class which asks the simple question ” how would the world be if everyone acted in the same manner as I did”. I think if we apply this to Mr. Daisey we can see that it was his duty to give an accurate story, I believe that he would think he deserved a true story, and I think we do too.

  2. wmw014 says:

    You bring up a great point in your first paragraph discussing Mike Daisy’s mistake of labeling his monologue as journalism. I raised a similar point in my blog about the complex relationship between acting and factual journalism. In a video clip of Mike Daisy that I watched on youtube, he stated that the aim for acting should be to communicate the truth to the audience. However, the truth does not always attract people, which is why I think Mike Daisy both exagerated his story and flat out lied in order to enlarge his audience.

  3. mbc014 says:

    I think it is seen in this case that who decides the truth is the public reaction. If the majority of the public were fine with him lying and stretching the truth to fulfill a “higher” purpose, we would have seen that. But as you can see, most people are furious. They were betrayed. They were deceived. And they are not OK with that. Was there some truth in what he said? Yes. Was there a noble idea behind it? Yes. But noble ideas satisfied through evil means become twisted and corrupted and lose their value, as we have seen over and over again through countless case studies. So while we have discussed at length in class what principles or whom decides the absolute truth, I think we can clearly see in this case that this has been judged as untruthful by a large majority of society and has been dismissed, even though it was well-intended (presumably).

  4. Loukas T says:

    I wish we could see if Daisey’s monologue would as effective it were labeled differently. As you said labeling was the main problem, but I agree with Daisey that the monologue would not have been effective if labelled as a work of fiction. This by no means should let Daisey label it as true, rather it should force Daisey to not perform the monologue in the first place.

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