Blog 2: Deception


I strongly believe that it was incredibly unethical of Mike Daisey to pose his play as factual when it was, in reality, a work of fiction. Not knowing anything about this discovery prior to researching for this week’s blog post, I was shocked and taken aback when I heard the details of all of the fabricated aspects of his effective story. Perhaps if he had posed it as a compilation of facts from different researchers and journalists to make a dramatic piece of art rather than posing it as a personal account, this scandal would not have taken place. The fact that he made this play available to the public showed a false sense of confidence that his story would not be revealed for what it really was overtime. While a successful means of communicating this issue, this retraction could have been avoided in a number of different ways.

The biggest problem that I had with this falsification was that this is such a real and prevalent issue that effective speakers should be communicating to the public, but with the truth of this story coming out, it almost makes the situation seem less severe. The truth of the matter is that many of the things that he mentioned in his play are very feasible scenarios and encounters, but just did not happen during his visit to the Foxconn factory. If he did not dramatize the parts of the story that were real and attributed the other facts to the other circumstances or factories, this could have still been a successful work of “art” that had actual value. The fact that he felt the need to make up information to pose as fact downplays the gravity of the conditions in China with these suppliers. These lies almost let Apple and Foxconn off the hook after this play had likely affected many individuals who now feel deceived. There are plenty of real-life tragic and shocking examples that he could have used for the sake of dramatics and effectiveness.

That being said, I do believe in the difference between art and journalism. However, when trying to communicate an issue, the facts of which are scarcely known, it is far more effective to use journalistic fact rather than a piece of art that is largely dramatized. A work of fiction can quickly be thought to be exaggerated or overstated when the issue truly is increasingly severe.

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One response to “Blog 2: Deception

  1. I really resonate with what you said about his exaggerating of the facts downplaying the gravity of the conditions in China. Glass even says to Daisey at one point during their interview that “you’re saying that the only way you can get through emotionally to people is to mess around with the facts, but that isn’t so.” Based on what we actually know to be true about the conditions in China from the Retraction, the truth is certainly still severe and emotional enough to captivate and motivate the audience. Furthermore, Daisey getting caught in his lie and causing a controversy about the monologue itself actually has the effect of drawing attention away from the real issue: the fact that there are poor labor conditions in China and we, as Apple consumers, have an indirect hand in that. Everyone focuses on the fact that Daisey lied and it turns into a debate about journalism vs. art, which, although a valid discussion in its own right, is not what we really should be focusing on in the scheme of things. Daisey’s intentions to make the public aware of the issue and care about it effectively had the effect of detracting attention away from this critical issue, and I think that’s the real shame.

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