Stop bullying “Lil” Daisey


While listening to the “hot debates” between Mike Daisey, on one side, and Ira Glass with Rob Schmitz, on the other, I caught myself creating an image, kind of like a video, of what was going in the studio. The whole conversation reminded me of a child talking to his parents, trying to justify his “little” lies. It was a public beating of Mr. Daisey, who himself did not even make an attempt to behave maturely. Perhaps it, the Retraction, was theater all along. I cannot say for sure.

“Lying is bad” – our parents said. Subconsciously we do know that, however, when it comes to justification, it is hard to determine, even for those who taught us, what exactly is bad about lies. The most common argument that I have heard against any forms of “not telling the truth”: “Would you want to be deceived yourself?” I wouldn’t say no to that in any case. As you might yourself come up with an example of a “lie for good”, and therefore successfully achieve contradiction.

So, why is lying bad? I think that the problem associated with lies is the confusion it creates. By deceiving other people one becomes unpredictable and therefore less trustworthy. “What to expect from this person?” “What to believe in?” By lying, especially to the public, one creates instability in information delivery chain and impairs society’s perception of that information. Today, data is the most valuable thing. At the end of the day, millions of lives depend on reliable information. Hence, all the knowledge received is not reliable, due to the uncertainty, and therefore can be neglected, which is simply stupid in the Information Age. Chaos awaits us, once lying becomes publicly acknowledged to be acceptable.

So, how is Mike Daisey even related to what I was writing about? Mr. Daisey has not admitted to lying, because “it is inaccurate to say so”. Couple of questions asked, and he desperately starts to alter his story, just like a little child before his parents. This reminds me of myself at the age of 15: once I came back home late at 1am and was altering the story, adding some details hoping that I would not be punished as much. What is even worse – everybody knew Daisey was lying.Lie to me I would like to paraphrase Ira Glass: “Mike came to explain his story, rather than to admit his lies”. Mike Daisey turned the radio show of journalistic format into a theatrical performance – farce. “Must let the show go on”.

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7 thoughts on “Stop bullying “Lil” Daisey

  1. Great questions about what is wrong with lying, or not, and the conundrums it poses. I liked your use of theater language. I was puzzled by the “show must go on” ending. What do you mean? TAL and/or Mike Daisey must carry on even if they are lying? Is that meant to brush off the issues?

    • “show must go on” refers to Mike Daisey, who wouldn’t just admit his missteps, but instead just continued the comedy. He couldn’t give up his version and therefore had to “keep the show going”.

  2. Love this post. You really asked some great questions. You ask “Why is lying bad?”, and I completely agree with your answer. There is also sometimes a gray area in certain circumstances, as I believe there is with this scenario. Sometimes one may lie in order to protect one’s feelings, to protect one’s life, to enhance one’s career, or protect one’s career. The problem, as you clearly identified, is that lying is deceitful. It creates doubt and lack of trust. One’s character will always be in question, and they will forever be known as the “liar”.

  3. Wow, your description of what it was like to listen to Daisey be confronted with his lies was completely accurate. This was exactly how I felt as I listened to his responses to being integrated about lying to them. You could hear his heavy breathing, and one could just tell that he was so nervous. My only question is this: if he admits that his story would unravel with press then why even lie in the first place? Was it even worth it?

  4. i agree wholeheartedly with your response. If his intention was for this to be a creative art based depiction of a story, then why would he agree to put it on NPR? The ways he explains himself is completely ineffective and doesn’t add up, so I tend to wonder if he he something more to hide.

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