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”.


Wake Up and Smell the Daisy

When I first heard Mike Daisy’s story I did have some concern about its validity. However, I brushed it off and continued to listen because if it’s on public radio and my professor told me to listen to it. By the end, Mike’s monologue further convinced me that Apple allowed Foxconn to treat their employees horrendously.  I actually called my mom to inform her about the “facts” I learned about how a thirteen year old, over worked Foxconn employees manufactured her new IPad. I soon informed everyone who pulled out an IPhone about the blood, sweat and tears that created their technology. To me, Mike Daisy’s monologue presented the cold hard truth.

Before I even heard Mike’s monologue, I read multiple article’s about Foxconn’s working condition.  I read stories about nets to prevent suicide, unbelievable working hours, standing for hours, dangerous chemicals and the horrific dorm conditions. So when I heard Mike’s first-hand accounts, I felt like his experience just solidified all of my previous knowledge.  But when I found out Mike Daisy lied, I immediately started questioning everything I read and heard about Foxconn and Apple.

Listening to his confession I felt torn between feeling sorry for him and angry at him. I felt sorry because his intentions were somewhat good, yet he still lied to people who depended on him to provide the truth. He lied about the guards, under aged employees, blacklist, dorm cameras, the man with the mangled hand, working conditions, and much more. The “facts” to his story were lies. I understand he wanted to make people care through telling a story that captured the totality of his visit, but he cannot lie about facts. Once you lie about facts, you can ruin the credibility for the whole topic. People now will question the validity of any Foxconn and Apple news they hear. In reality, his lie’s only give power to the very people he is trying to stop.

When Daisy performed on This American Life, he committed to telling the truth. He made people think his stories were true. The truth is not elusive, objective truths do exist. However, constantly people are forced to look at everything skeptically because our media has a reputation for fabricating or exaggerating facts.  The common image of media depicts desperate, wired reporters that will do anything for a story. This image causes people to mistrust articles and stories that present facts about different topics, not just apple.

To a certain extent, I believe the image is accurate. By no means I believe every reporter acts unethically, but I believe that it is extremely important to think critically about stories we hear. This is why Sociological Imagination is important. The Sociological Imagination calls for people to look at the whole story before you make judgments and decisions. Look at the ENTIRE picture, not just what you want to see. The Sociological Imagination forces you to look at both sides and make an education decision. If I would have done more research about Daisy and Apple, I would have discovered the different opinions and probably discovered that he lied a lot sooner than I did.

Overall, you can see how easy it is to spread news about something as big as Apple. Hell, after thirty minutes of listening I called my mother and told her about what I just heard. This exemplifies the importance of telling the truth. If you don’t, rumors and lies will inevitably spread.  Even worse, when you lie like Daisy, you aren’t the only one who loses credibility, your cause does as well.