By definition and by my own subjective moral standards the “truth” lies in accordance with fact or reality. The retraction completely discredited what listeners of “This American Life” believed to be the truth, as well as Mike Dasiey’s own reputation. After listening to the podcast, I was utterly disgusted with Dasiey and his misleading account of his trip to Foxconn. Although Daisey did go to southern China, did meet with workers from Foxconn posing as a businessman with his translator Kathy, and did wear a Hawaiian shirt, his excess of lies that followed angered those who had vouched for him and dissatisfied listeners of his famous monologue. After further thought on the matter however, my disgust turned to somewhat of an understanding. Did Daisey betray the trust of “This American Life”, the public, and the media? Of course he did. But were Daisey’s lies necessary to bring forth questions consumers should be asking about our outsourced products? I believe so.


Throughout the podcast, Rob and Ira were basically calling Daisey out on all his lies and misleading remarks. There were no factory dorms, definite underage workers, security guards with guns, a man with a maimed hand, and n-hexane patients Daisey actually spoke to. However, among all of these exaggerations, Dasiey was able to open a lot of eyes to the harsh realities of factories in developing nations. Until this radio broadcast and the follow-up interviews Daisey agreed to attend, many of the issues presented in Daisey’s monologue were ever brought up in such an immense public discussion. His inflated account sparked the technology industry and humanitarian journalists into action, and major newspapers even corroborated his story to ignite a public reaction to Apple’s unlawful practices. I’m not saying that Dasiey shouldn’t be at fault for his embellishments, but it certainly allowed issues to surface that perhaps wouldn’t have.


It’s very easy to say that Daisey’s monologue was a desperate way to self-promote his work which he described as “the best work he’s ever made”. But is there a possibility that his purpose (stated in the retraction) to “make people care” was an altruistic act on the Dasiey’s part? One of the statements that really allowed me to analyze this story the way I did was when Kathy explained she wasn’t upset with Daisey for amplifying his experience because “he’s a writer, not a journalist – he’s allowed to exaggerate”. Daisey then supported her statement in a follow-up interview for “This American Life” claiming, “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.” When we look at the entertainment industry, many movies embellish tragedies to spark an emotional reaction out of people. Movies like Titanic, Remember the Titans and Pearl Harbor all have basic historical facts with an added storyline and fictional characters; all in the efforts to express a point and of course, bring in the most revenue. Even though Daisey’s exaggerations were used to sell tickets to his monologue, appear on radio and TV networks, and put his name out into the world with a gripping story, he found a way to make a sad story catchy enough to stay in our minds.









About Steph P.

Business Government and Society

3 responses »

  1. laf024 says:

    I completely agree with your arguments- I actually just mentioned the same thing in one of my previous comments. I think of Mr. Daisy’s monologue as a movie. Technically, his only fault was having the show labeled as journalism. As I said in my post, it’s all about labeling. If he would’ve labeled his monologue as based on a true story, then we wouldn’t be having this argument right now. He said his purpose was to make people care and get a reaction, well he did it. He presented an emotional story that captivated listeners. There’s nothing wrong with adding fictional characters and events to his story if he labeled it as part fiction. So that is my big concern with him- that he labeled it at one time as journalism. In my eyes, that was his only fault.

  2. mbc014 says:

    To me, there are proper channels for dealing with these things. His “mistake” of labeling a highly fictionalized play as a real, journalistic account of what happened wasn’t a minor accident, it was a pathetic grab at fame and an insult to the public. I think this does more harm than good because the majority of people will see this as a betrayal of their trust and begin to doubt other real accounts and reports. This wasn’t portrayed as a Hollywood movie, this was portrayed as a horrifying first-hand account of made of conditions in foreign plants, which discredited and hurt one of the most successful and influential companies in the world that has done so many good things for the world. And let’s face it, we all know working in a factory in China sucks, and we should work towards changing that, but when you start spreading lies of using toxic chemicals and working children to the point of death that’s not helping anyone. This is the equivalent of Mike Daisy leaking a secret but fake celebrity sex-tape; it’s a “scandal,” and people were outraged for a brief moment, but they still support Apple regardless, and now that they know it was a fake your entire point has been discredited and your cause has been set back even further than it was before. If you want to make a difference, do it the right way.

  3. ajc028 says:

    It is an interesting dilemma to think about, and I have to say that I agree to parts of what everyone has to say. I agree that Mr. Daisey’s work did get the word out about Foxconn, and there is no doubt in my mind that some of their practices should change to create a better working environment. However, I can’t quite decide whether I think he was right or not. In response to mbc014’s comment, I think that if he had tried to “do it the right way,” people would not have noticed. On the whole, facts and third party stories do not get our attention these days, and only that “personal touch” within the tragedy can get out attention. But, I completely agree that it does set the cause back when these lies are uncovered. And his words were at some points just plain lies. In response to this being a labeling issues, I have to agree and disagree. On the one hand, I think that if his work had been labelled as creative, and not entirely based on the facts, people wouldn’t have taken it as seriously. But on the other hand, I think it discredits many other stories of people who are telling the truth, because it makes people that much more skeptical of the stories they hear, true or false.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s