I’m still stunned by all the lying Mike Daisey has apparently done. Gruber points out two examples. From CBS Sunday Morning, January 29, 2012:
“Daisey went to Shenzhen. Foxconn wouldn’t let him in, so he stood outside the main gate with his translator, talking to workers at shift change. ‘In my first two hours of my first day at that gate, I met workers who are 14 years old,’ Daisey said. ‘I met workers who were 13 years old. I met workers who were 12. Do you really think Apple doesn’t know?'”
In an op-ed piece Daisey wrote for the New York Times, he said:
“I have traveled to southern China and interviewed workers employed in the production of electronics. I spoke with a man whose right hand was permanently curled into a claw from being smashed in a metal press at Foxconn, where he worked assembling Apple laptops and iPads. I showed him my iPad, and he gasped because he’d never seen one turned on.”
The problem isn’t that Daisey bent the truth in the name of entertainment during his stage show (which he recently released under an open license). It’s that he blatantly and knowingly lied to the New York Times, CBS Sunday Morning and This American Life. That’s not “a tool of theatre,” Mike. That’s called lying.
This American Life has retracted an episode entitled “Mr. Daisey And The Apple Factory,” after learning that it was “partially fabricated.” Ira Glass:
“Daisey lied to me and to This American Life producer Brian Reed during the fact checking we did on the story, before it was broadcast. That doesn’t excuse the fact that we never should’ve put this on the air. In the end, this was our mistake.”
Wow. “Daisey” is Mike Daisey, whose one-man show, “The Agony And Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” describes the time he spent at Foxconn, posing as an American industrialist. This American Life — produced by WBEZ in Chicago and distributed by Public Public International — aired a portion of Daisey’s monolog. That episode, “Mr. Daisey And The Apple Factory,” was the show’s most popular to date. An entire subsequent episode has been dedicated to the retraction.
Meanwhile, Daisey defends himself on his personal site, saying:
“What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism. For this reason, I regret that I allowed THIS AMERICAN LIFE to air an excerpt from my monologue. THIS AMERICAN LIFE is essentially a journalistic - not a theatrical - enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations.”
I’m floored by this. “The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism.” Really, Mike? Is lying to NPR fact-checkers a “tool of theatre?”
If I make shit up while standing on a stage, and tell you it’s fact, or knowingly permit you to assume its fact, it’s OK. Because I’m standing on a stage. Theatre!
I bet Ira Glass is spitting nails.