To answer whether or not Mike Daisy was an unethical liar is a far more complex question than I had originally thought. After fist hearing the Retraction podcast I immediately thought that Daisy was an unethical liar, I think however that Daisy would dispute this. The BBC’s code of ethics page describes that something is a lie if “that liar intends to deceive (or at least mislead) the person they are lying to. It says nothing about whether the information given is true or false”. While Daisy later admits that some of the “facts” had been inflated such as the number of factory workers he spoke to or factories he visited he still seems to believe that he didn’t intend to deceive anyone. His story is meant to “tell a story that captured the totality of my (his) trip… I wanted to have the voice of the people I was meeting with”. Despite this it is hard to believe that any of Daisy’s story is true as a result of a number of factors such as giving the wrong contact details about his translator, struggling to answer questions about his trip, and his history of fabricating stories.
The bigger issue regards the ethics of what Daisy did by presenting the monologue as a journalistic peace opposed to a work of fiction. Daisy’s main concern was trying to make people care about factory workers in China however presenting it as a factual piece deceived the audience. The podcast was downloaded just under one million times, he told this story to multiple theatres and presented the story on the news. Spreading this story, as unbiased journalism to such a vast audience is what I think is truly unethical. While I am able to sympathize with him lying in a way that describes his trip as one series of events opposed to alleged separate events from different places I struggle with the way he went about distributing his “story”. I think the fact that he describes being conflicted and felt sick about his story shows that while he never comes out and says it, he knew at least deep down, that he was acting unethically.
Access to truth is something that I believe to be extremely important and journalists often play a large role in shaping public opinion. In order for people to have access to the truth journalists have to be clear on when they are reporting facts and when they are stating their own opinion. By reading news from multiple news providers as well as from sources around the world it allows people to take a balanced holistic view of stories and events.