Who’s to blame?

Where and when is the truth either important or paramount?  I think the first conflict or question that struck me while listening to the retraction was, ” On whom should the true blame lie?” At first I was quite angry at Mike Daisy for the blatant lies. I wondered how he could present his story as a completely factual recollection. He seemed to me to be the quintessential reporter who uses deception and lies to create a story that would give him fame and fortune. Obviously any situation including this one is more complicated than some simple stereotype. So instead of condemning Mike Daisey outright, we must ask who else is to blame. As is stated, Ira Glass knew he should have checked the facts more thoroughly. He partially blames himself for the debacle created. So the question arises who should the blame rest on?

I am disgusted that Mike Daisey could lie to the public without explaining himself or the monologue further. He says he lied, or embellished, to draw sympathy or passion from the reader or listener. He wanted to create awareness and empathy for the factory workers in China. Do his ends justify the means? Would he be ethical under the Utilitarianism school of ethics? I believe its a little early to judge from that point of view. Perhaps if his piece truly led people to better the working conditions overseas, then his actions could be accepted if not condoned. I think perhaps the best standard of ethics would be those of the Deontology school of ethics. He wrote a piece for a journalist site or organization. His duty was to create a journalist piece. He deliberately misrepresented factual evidence which violated journalism standards. This could therefore be deemed an unethical action. However by this standard Ira Glass did not perform his duty in verifying that the monologue was completely accurate, however he tried to atone for this mistake with the retraction, while Mike Daisey seemed to simply explain his actions and say they should have been meant for theater and not journalism. This seems like a cop-out to me.

Other than that whole debacle, I think the actual working conditions are obviously not perfect. However I don’t truly know enough to give my own opinion on the how these things could or should change. I would first like to talk to workers myself to learn about their realistic working conditions. There is too much information available on the issue to be able to discern the cold, hard facts. I simply would need to see the conditions myself before I could give my opinion. As to my own feelings about my responsibilities as a consumer. I do not own any Apple products and therefore cannot comment on my feelings as an Apple consumer.


5 thoughts on “Who’s to blame?

  1. So if we agree that there is a moral “fact” that due to our interconnectedness in the global economy due to the iDevice we all have a stake in the working conditions in China (or anywhere), then as, you say, the next step is to want to know more.

    Which raises more practical and epistemological questions. how to know more? How to trust? Who to trust?

    • I believe every person has a different degree to which they can trust. I personally would need to have data from either my own experiences or from someone I personally trust. Trust in my opinion comes down to past actions. You have to be well acquainted with someone or some organization before you can completely trust their word. If that person or organization has historically proven their honesty and devotion to truth then I could believe them, otherwise I would need more evidence. Ultimately it comes down to every individual to decide the extent of evidence for them to place their trust in someone else’s words.

  2. The fact is that Daisey Lied. He was given a chance to rectify the situation but still lied. This unwillingness to clear the air puts all of the blame back onto him in my mind. If the lies truly were part of his “art”, he should have had no problem admitting or verifying what Cathy had said. In terms of making a difference in the interconnectedness of the global economy, going beyond not purchasing the companies product or service is unnecessary. If everyone practiced this the company’s revenues would dip and cause them to alter their practices to what the end-users demand.

    • It is true that Daisey blatantly lied and refused to admit it outright. However there is still some responsibility on Glass to edit what he exposes to the public on his website. He has the final word, and therefore he bears responsibility for doing everything he can to make sure he isn’t giving false information. Obviously I agree that Daisey did wrong and Glass can pursue some recourse or compensation, however you can play Devil’s Advocate and say that Glass knew something was fishy but decided to run the story anyway. So perhaps a good portion of blame for the debacle lies on his shoulders, however he did try to rectify the mistake. It can be very complex when you get to the details.

  3. Thank you Kyle! I completely agree. Daisy really angered me when he came on the second time.. I initially thought he came to confess more lies and clear the air. But in his second retraction interview, he just defended himself. If he intended it to be a story from the beginning, why didn’t he argue that in the first retraction interview? It took him a week to gather his thoughts and tell Ira that. Even Ira was surprised that he came back to defend himself.

    I am not saying that his piece loses complete credibility. It is a great and informative story that can reveals many injustices about Foxconn and Apple. My only problem remains that he made it is now hard to trust any report on Foxconn. Naturally, people already mistrust the media. Every report or article could be fabricate in anyway for any topic. Therefore, it all comes down to faith in the reporter and where your getting your information. People rely on reports like Daisy’s to provide facts. Now that he lied, people will mistrust media about Foxconn from here on out.

    I don’t know the answer to who we can and can not trust. In the end, that all comes down to personal preference. But to gain credibility within the media industry, reporters have to gain trust through their publisher, magazine or whatever. So whenever an article exaggerates or lies, it looks bad on everyone in that company and topic. Saying that, it is extremely important for reporters to tell the truth. However, it is completely up to the reader/listener to believe them.


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