Reaction to Mike Daisy’s Retraction


I am very frustrated after listening to TAL’s retraction of Mike Daisy’s podcast. When I originally listened to his podcast, I guess I was a little too trusting, but the stories were full of what seemed to be personal details so I never considered questioning the validity of Mike’s story. There is no question that it was wrong of him to lie and make up stories that were blatantly untrue. Details of workers with repeated motion injuries, dorm rooms, and his emotional conversations with workers were all made up. And when Ira Glass and Rob Schmitz questioned Mike Daisy on specific details, it only became clearer that he was trying to defend and cover up his lies.

While this monologue has had good effects by drawing attention to the condition of workers in places such as Foxconn, Mike continuously contradicts himself in this second podcast. He said, “Yeah I think the truth always matters, truth is tremendously important. I don’t live in a subjective universe where everything is up for grabs. I really do believe that stories should be subordinate to the truth.” Mike’s intentions may have been good, but now that it has become public how fabricated his monologue is, he has been completely discredited. None of the working conditions can be defined as good or acceptable, certainly not by the standards that we are used to in America. This is especially true since the story about hexane that Mike Daisy told may not have happened at Foxconn, but it happened at another facility. Workers conditions are a serious issue, but this was not an appropriate way to try to affect change.

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10 responses to “Reaction to Mike Daisy’s Retraction

  1. I really like the quote you pulled from Daisey. I think it just magnifies his hypocrisy. It’s almost as if he hadn’t know the consequences of his actions. Did he really think changing the name of the translator would be enough to hid his mountain of lies? I wish I could gain better insight into his thought process.

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  2. I agree that despite Daisey’s desire for change being understandable, using deception and lies to create this change was inappropriate. Building off of your quote, another quote that I found extremely interesting was when TAL quoted Daisey in his original story about how he was going “to lie to a lot of people.” This made me think deeply about lying and how I viewed it in the context of this story. In the original context when Daisey was lying by pretending to be a businessman, I completely accepted it because in my mind he was doing it for good. But when Daisey lied to me and the other listeners, I was offended. However, according to Daisey, he would argue that he lied to the listeners again to “do good” and help the factory workers. I think that no matter the intent or purpose, lying to someone always hurts credibility and is never successful in the end.

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  3. I think the affects of Mike Daisey’s lies could have done more harm than good on the issue of working conditions. Once I heard that Daisey’s story was not truthful I almost wrote off everything he said all together, which may be wrong for me to do. I agree with you that the way Mike Daisey went about raising awareness to better working conditions was totally wrong. But it is important for people to realize that even though not all his words were factual, there is still many things wrong with Foxxcon. Something needs to change and I hope that listeners did not believe that everything Daisey said was untrue. i hope people will still strive to find a more appropriate way to influence change for this issue.

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    • It would be unfortunate if you did write everything off as there are serious issues about workers’ safety and justice in China and many other places (including the USA!).

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  4. Daisey may have had a clear vision when he started this expose project. But that vision became muddied as soon as he began altering reality for show. In your response, you quote Daisey saying that he doesn’t live in “a subjective universe.” If he values objectivity and honesty as much as he claims here, why would he purposefully corrupt the truth? Do you think Daisey realizes the severity of his fraud, or is he just satisfied that his message originally received the intended response?

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  5. I agree that his approach was not the best one. While it did raise the awareness about the issue, people are now drawn to Mike Daisey’s lie rather than the working conditions of Foxconn. He could have used this monologue still potentially if he framed it beforehand as a story based on his experiences and the experiences of people who have done research in the field. He could have even added that some characters have been added to my experiences in order to incorporate the experience of others. This way he still brings a personal aspect to his story without it being 100% of his own experiences.

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  6. I like how you point out the fact that the worker conditions are still an issue in some of the factories. Although Daisey lied about various things in his interview we cannot simply pretend everything Apple does is okay. There are still sub-par working conditions in a lot of the factories and hopefully Daisey’s lies do not make people forget about this. What Daisey did was wrong and people should be careful about what is true and what is not from his interview. Overall, Daisey’s interview brought attention to Apple’s factories and hopefully people take a stand against the way they treat their workers.

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    • RIght. For example, an international watch dog group, the ILO, tracks which countries at least have laws about freedom of association and the right to organize. Never mind enforcement. China has not passed many of these laws. See here.

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  7. I thought it was interesting what you said about being “too trusting” when you listened to the first podcast. That makes me think about what we can and cannot trust in media. Should we be questioning the validity of stories and reporting when we hear them on the radio or see them on TV? I thought the retraction did a good job of ensuring that they strongly objected to having false information on their show.

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