“I took your word.” – Ira Glass


After hearing Daisey’s original performance and then discovering his embellishments, my views on him became tainted. I did not take his word as true, and I was eager to hear his conversation with Ira Glass explaining the decisions he made. This podcast confirmed my original feelings.

In writing this blog, I have put some thought into the questions that Jordi posed for us. The first question I thought about revolved around Daisey’s decision to make his play available for people to perform or modify. Given that Daisey made this publicly available before his deceit was discovered, I think it shows that Mike Daisy is very proud of the work that he has done. In the follow-up interview with Ira Glass, Daisey states that this research and performance is probably his greatest of all time. That he wanted to share it with the broadest audience possible by making it public tells me that he wants everyone to be aware of the issues at Foxconn, which I do believe to be admirable.

The next question I delved into was Ira Glass’ anger and whether it was justified or not. I think he has a right to be angry because he was lied to and his integrity as the host and producer of This American Life was tested. Ira says, “I took your word.” And Daisey replies, “You can take my word in the context of theater.” He can’t just admit that he lied; he twists it and makes it seem as if telling a lie is fine for the theatrical aspect of his show. Daisy states, “I really regret putting this show on This American Life.” I don’t think Daisey regrets lying; I think Daisey regrets getting caught. Glass’ responsibility as host and producer is to vet all the details of Daisey’s story, and Glass later notes that once Daisey said that contacting his translator Cathy would be impossible, that that should have raised a red flag. I don’t think Glass overreacts. In fact, I anticipated his reaction being much stronger considering Daisey evaded many questions and struggled to simply say “Yeah, I lied.” Daisey crafted nearly each response theatrically. I would have reacted more strongly if I were sitting across from a man who lied to my face.

In sum, I’m happy that we were presented with this redacted podcast. It was shocking to hear Mike Daisey, a man who captivated me with his perfect oration skills, struggle to elicit a response to questions presented by Glass. At times his pauses were uncomfortable to listen to, because I felt bad for him and for the position he put himself in. In a sense, he exemplifies the idea of begrudging admiration, a concept where an audience has reasons to vilify an individual, yet still admires him/her for some reason. Although he lied and was not too truthful in his ‘theatrical journalism’, he still brought great awareness to a serious issue.

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5 responses to ““I took your word.” – Ira Glass

  1. I strongly agree with your last paragraph. I think that regardless of how upset Ira Glass was, or how awkward Mike Daisey became when he was targeted for lying in the interview, I think one thing he did do well was bring great awareness to a serious situation. Just the effort that went into further investigation for this second podcast we listened to and for the information to be shared publicly is a huge step. Meanwhile, when all of this was appearing in the news, I’m sure it really kept Apple on it’s feet which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when the issue is working conditions overseas. I wonder if the contradictions in the truth versus what Daisey recalls brought even more attention and therefore listeners to the monologue.

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  2. I agree with Ira Glass’ frustrations over Daisey’s deceptions. I think it is justified and you did a great job summarizing the experience. I particularly like how you drew attention to the great orators’ loss for words. Most people seem to direct their anger towards Daisey. Daisey is not a journalist. Should we be more angry with Glass and his lack of diligence?

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  3. I agree with your point that Ira Glass’ anger towards Daisey was understandable. Daisey irked me in the follow up interview by not simply admitting that he had lied, instead trying to cover up his case with comments like “You can take my word in the context of the theater”. Ira Glass and the rest of This American Life should not have had to expect that Daisey’s presentation should be interpreted as art. When Glass contacted Daisey about playing his presentation on This American Life, Daisey should have been straight with them and said that it would be a mistake because his presentation was artistic and not factual. If Daisey had have been honest, both sides of this conflict would have gotten away scot-free and there would have been no issue or embarrassment for anyone.

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  4. I actually disagree with your first point about Daisey’s act of making the monologue publicly accessible being admirable. Of course there is nobility in shedding light on and publicizing an issue of human mistreatment in order to engender emotional response and incite action. My issue is that he was completely aware of the fact that his monologue was a work of theater and of the fact that it was not being explicitly presented as such. This is what made it unethical for him to broadcast his monologue on TAL, because he knew that the listeners would accept it as a factual work of journalism. Making the script publicly accessible without acknowledging its theatrical context had the same effect- the audience would not logically interpret what he presented as a first-hand account to be fiction. Ultimately, it was unethical of him to deceive TAL into broadcasting his monologue, and it was even more deceitful and underhanded of him, at least in my opinion, to try to broaden its reach and mislead an even greater volume of people, regardless of his intentions.

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  5. I really liked the last paragraph of your blog. I agree with what you said about it being uncomfortable to listen to Daisey speak at times. When he was being questioned it was very obvious he was struggling with the questions and did not really have much of a response. Comparing his tone of voice from the original podcast to his retraction was something I found extremely interesting as well. He had everyone captivated by his words in the first podcast, but this one was much different. There was not a time when I could fully believe anything he was saying, yet I originally believed every word he said. Concluding, I also like how you mention the fact that although he was not truthful it is an issue that people need to become more aware of.

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