I don’t think that the real question here is whether or not Mike Daisey is a liar, but whether or not his intentions were unethical. It is absolutely clear that Daisey fabricated many of the details of his story and there is no doubting that he did in fact lie to the public about what he encountered at the Foxconn factory. And while many of us want to be angry at him and believe that his fabricated story is unethical, I think it’s important to first think about what his intentions were in creating this monologue in the first place.
This story was created for theatrical purposes, not to be used as a piece of journalism. I don’t think that it was unethical of him to make this story in the first place, but I do believe that Daisey made a huge mistake in confirming that it was journalistically accurate and allowing it to be broadcasted on TAL. Daisey’s intention was to create a dramatic story about Apple factory workers in China that would elicit an emotional response from his audience. I don’t see anything wrong with this, but Daisey should have been more upfront and honest about what parts of his monologue actually represented the truth.
Even though Daisey claims that he regrets ever letting TAL air his monologue, part of me thinks that this may not be completely true either. I think that airing the story allowed Daisey to achieve what he wanted, which was to spark widespread controversy and concern about the working conditions in Chinese factories. He wanted to elicit and emotional response and make people care, even if that meant lying about what he experienced. This brings to light the fact that you can’t believe everything the media tells us, because if someone wants you to think a certain way they may say whatever they need to in order achieve this, whether it’s fact or fiction.