Blog 3

Based on a true story…

When I first listened to Mike Daisey in his monologue on Apple, I was shocked at some of the information I was hearing.  I had always thought there had been some issues, but nothing quite as bad as what Daisey was describing in his story.  I immediately started to rethink my attitude towards Apple and the cost of getting me a shiny new IPhone.  I thought to myself was it really worth it?  Is having this latest and greatest Apple product worth the hazardous conditions Chinese workers face?  It got me thinking about the subject for much longer than ever before.  This leads me to say, kudos Mike Daisey.  You did exactly what you intended to do.  You produced the exact emotional response you wanted, at least out of me.

However, this emotional response has been tampered due to the revelations of the podcast “Retraction.”  While listening to this podcast I was not disgusted nor appalled at what was being said.  In all honesty, I was just irritated.  And this irritation was not solely due to Mike Daisey, although clearly he had a part, but also because of the “verification” he supposedly received from This American Life.  As I was listening to this podcast, I couldn’t help but think about the movies and how so often we hear they are “based on a true story.”   So many movies nowadays are “based on a true story.”  And this in my mind is what Mike Daisey did.  He is an actor who created a show which was based on a true story.  Sure, he did go to Shenzhen and yes he talked to workers.  However, what really happened was not enough to create the emotional response he needed.  Thus this monologue became based on a true story…

I remain very irritated at this entire situation.  Although Mike Daisey is a performer, he did submit his monologue to be completely verifiable and that it met journalistic standards.  This is false and he did lie about it.  In my opinion this is where he is ethically incorrect.  He stated that a story which he knew was false was completely true.  This is the major issue for me in regards to Mike Daisey.  Then there is the issue I have with This American Life.  I am baffled as to why this thorough verification was not done before this monologue was aired, especially seeing as it involved Apple.  And what is worse is that supposedly this is not the first time Mike Daisey has done something such as this.  Apparently the same situation arose with regards to James Frey.  How could you let this air knowing full well that historically Mike Daisey has shown himself to be a performer first and a journalist second?  This is what irritates me.

When I listen to a news report or journalistic entry I would like it to actually be verified, instead of just based on a true story.

One thought on “Based on a true story…

  1. I completely agree with your comment about popular movies being categorized as “based on a true story”. After listening to this post, I too and reconsidering how I feel about my favorite films that I felt connected to simply because they were based on something true. It’s amazing how much more powerful a story becomes when you believe every part of it is real!
    I also felt irritated when TAL was trying to apologize for airing something they didn’t check. That is there job! I have definitely lost respect for the show, sadly.

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