Last March, Ira Glass, host of This American Life found out in disbelief that Mike Daisey’s story on his visit to Shenzen was not entirely factual. Today, after listening to the TAL episode “Retraction” I was in shocked and in disbelief too. Less than two weeks ago, after listening to Daisey’s monologue, I was starring at my Apple products dumbfounded and questioning Apple’s corporate ethics. Throughout “Retraction”, Rob Schmitz and Ira Glass refuted many of Daisey’s moving stories and facts; and my opinion began to change. I began to realize Apple is not what Daisey makes them out to be, but the same old Apple that I have admired for the last few years.
Although I was glad to hear Daisey fabricated much of his story I would not label him as an unethical liar. I believe there is a big distinction between a liar, and one who is unethical. Daisey’s lies were not life changing nor did they have much substance behind them, they were a handful of immaterial lies and exagerations. You could say, he was trying to ruin a corporation and bring down Apple, but Daisey lacks the power to do that himself and there is bad press about businesses on a daily basis. Yes, these press releases might be more truthful, but not enough that I believe it makes a difference.
Daisey is teetering between the line of art and journalism, using his talents to help spread his opinion. If his monologue was not about Apple, and almost any other corporation in the world this “lie” would not gained the coverage that it did. Apple is a world-renowned company, that has many strong, almost cult like followers. The shock factor of this story being about Apple allowed it to gain so much momentum. I also believe we as listeners have some personal responsibility to follow up on stories to hear before we form an opinion. This was something I did not do, and I clearly learned a lesson from it. WIthin two weeks, I went from loving to hating Apple after listening to Daisey, and now after “Retraction” I once again love Apple and its products. Yes, we can label Mike Daisey a liar, but what I got most of this is we as listeners need to take some responsibility in obtaining knowledge before we form any opinion.