After listening to Mike Daisey’s podcast last week, like many other people I was left in shock and disgust. I was left contemplating myself as a human being letting people who seemed so helpless make those products day after day while not doing anything about it, and even buying and enjoying the products they made. The idea of making someone’s life so terrible and hard making a product that makes my life so much easier seemed ironic and sad to me, and I felt terrible about it. But what also had me thinking was how could a company so successful like Apple really do something so bad? Are they really solely concerned about their shareholders and simply maximizing profits that they can’t just give their employees better working conditions? Those are the questions I had at the time, and the ones that were also answered after listening to the “Retraction” podcast. During the podcast they explain what was fact, what was fiction, as well as many other things that also left me thinking about different issues.
One of the issues brought up in the podcast was Daisey’s exaggeration of the truth about his visit to Shenzhen and Foxconn. One of the things that stuck out to me was the fact that Daisey lied about Cathy. He first lied about her name, but eventually owned up to it, as well as to not telling her she would be mentioned and his fear of people finding her. I think it’s wrong of him to even put her in the podcast in the first place without telling her; while it’s definitely unprofessional, it may also be illegal. After hearing from Cathy that many of the things he said were either false or exaggerations like the guns and amount of factories they visited, I stepped back to think what else could Daisey have lied about. His podcast seemed so real, especially after watching a clip on Foxconn a few years ago with the same issues, I assumed everything he said was fact and not made up or exaggerated.
Finding out that many of the things Daisey said were indeed false was a little disappointing to me for a few reasons. For one, what else did he lie about? He could have just lied about 90% of it and had some small facts that were actually true to make it seem even more believable. Secondly, with all the lies he said, the credibility of Daisey’s podcast probably goes out the window. The problem I have with that is, while I am glad Apple doesn’t actually do all of those terrible things, I’m sure there are still some ethical problems with Apple and China in general with factories and workers, but now people won’t believe any of it seeing just how much he lied. People will be lot more resistant to believe factory problems that are brought up now, even if its not with Apple. People will remember the Retraction podcast and think twice before believing what comes out about different companies and their ethics.
I am also disappointed he lied so much and claimed it to be journalism. While he does eventually admit to his show being more like a theatre than actual nonfiction, it’s not right. Claiming something is journalism and fact just to get people’s attention is wrong. I do believe he is a liar, not necessarily 100% unethical though. I do think he wanted to reveal the truth about how things are different in China and need to be changed to better working conditions in factories, but I don’t believe lying about it was at all the right approach to take to handle the situation. His podcast and the retraction podcast proving his lies makes me think twice about journalism as a whole and whether people actually publish the truth all the time or if they ever exaggerate just to make their stories more effective.