I was initially shocked to hear everything that had been fabricated in Mike Daisey’s enthralling tale about the hardships at the Foxconn factory. Some of the stories that had triggered the strongest reactions had been completely fabricated! I had been under the spell of Daisey’s story, completely believing everything he had said. However, this was while I was under the illusion that it was a piece of journalism. This is not true, as Daisey is a performer, an actor, who wanted to convey the concerning atmosphere at Foxconn. The difference between art and journalism became so clear to me as I listened to Ira Glass and Mike Daisey discuss the reaction to his monologue about Apple.
Journalism has a certain responsibility to convey the truth. When people read a newspaper, they expect to be looking at facts. On the flip side, art is a warped version of reality. It is a way of expressing a version of the truth that is colored with fiction in order to engage the audience. Mike Daisey was not apologetic about his story- and I can understand why. It was his version of art and his goal was to encourage the audience to care. He was apologetic for appearing on TAL, which I also understand. He regretted telling his story under the pretense of journalism, as it is absolutely not journalism. It is a form of art, and I believe that if people had seen it as such, they would have been less hesitant to take everything to heart. This piece, no matter how controversial, did encourage many people to investigate Apple, Foxconn, and the truth behind the technology we own. If this monologue results in some sort of change, then perhaps there is an upside to Daisey’s ‘lie.’
Unfortunately, the distinction between art and journalism was not clear in this case, nor is it in many aspects of today’s society. Nowadays, falsification and embellishment seem to be everywhere in the business world. There needs to be some way in which journalism and art are kept completely separate, so that lies like that about Foxconn are not spread to epic proportions. Performers like Daisey should be upfront about their intentions, otherwise people can become swept away in their tales and blindly believe every detail. However, we should also be more inquisitive and question the validity of the things we hear. If more people had questioned Daisey’s story, as Rob Schmidt did, perhaps this would not have been blown out of proportion.