If you’ve never experienced a painfully awkward conversation…

YOU HAVE NOW!  I agree with many of the other posts when commenting that this Podcast was painful to listen to.  After being so moved by the first piece, I found myself disgusted with Mike Daisey.  He has lied to ever person that has listened to, downloaded, and read about his rather famous piece.  I felt lied to.  I was completely enraptured in his fictitious tale and hearing Cathy and reporters prove fact after fact to be incorrect, I was almost embarrassed for Mike Daisey.  This Podcast made him look entirely incredible, and for lack of a better term, like an idiot.

I was first appalled about Mike Daisey’s efforts to keep his translator, Cathy, away from the public.  He lies to say that he wanted to shield herself from media attention, but in fact he knew that she could prove his falsities.  She was there, heard the stories, saw the action, and could testify that most of what Mr. Daisey claims to be ongoing and true, it in fact a lie.  When Cathy was contacted, she hadn’t been aware that the story was published, or how much she had been incorrectly quoted.  She was able to go through the script and separate what truly happened from fabrications.  I agree that TAL should have checked with her before every publishing the story.  Of course a professional actor/story teller wants to put a riveting spin on the truth – that is their job.  His credentials should have been a flashing red light of caution when the story was ever heard.  The tale is so moving, that people want to believe its true.  When in fact, even the most moving aspects of the piece, are fabricated.

One thing in particular that resonated with me from the original piece was Mike Daisey’s encounters with underaged employees.  Mike Daisey still recalls that he met a group of underaged workers, while Cathy says this is not true.  She says that Daisey may have assumed their age based on looks but they didn’t meet a group of girls that were definitely underaged.  In Daisey’s account he says he met a twelve year old girl, but admits that this is not true.  

I found a ABC reported segment where a reporter actually entered and got footage of Foxconn and met many workers.  He commented on how young the workers are but immediately says that the workers are not thirteen like you hear in horror stories of the factory (like Daisey’s account), but instead seventeen and eighteen.  http://abcnews.go.com/watch/nightline/SH5584743/VD55173552/nightline-221-apples-chinese-factories-exclusive.  Although this is still a young age, it is legal.  Mike Daisey seems to have fabricated this encounter with a group of workers of such a young age.  

The ABC report above shows the factory that Daisey talks about and givers viewers an inside look.  I was very surprised when I watched the segment because it was not at all like the image Mike Daisey had conjured in my mind.  While the conditions aren’t spectacular, and I am not dying to work there – it seems like he embellished every detail possible to get an emotional stir from his audience.


4 thoughts on “If you’ve never experienced a painfully awkward conversation…

  1. I really like how you phrase everything here. I definitely experienced similar feelings of betrayal and a newfound skepticism of “breaking news stories”. I thought it was really interesting that he lied about not having Cathy’s contact information, and even went so far as to lie about her name. Whereas the entire first podcast we listened to was riveting due to Daisey’s engaging storytelling, I was most enraptured by Cathy’s accounts in this podcast. It was really interesting to listen to her reactions upon hearing about all of Daisey’s lies. I also think that the thing that upset me the most about the initial story was that Daisey claimed to have met and spoken to (what he made seem like) lots of 12 and 13 year old workers. This seems like a pretty huge stretch given that the factual news stories say that they were 16 at the youngest.

  2. I really enjoyed the Nightline video you posted. Having a true investigative reporter go inside the factory with a video feed was a lot more believable than just listening to narratives. The reporter did a great job of stating the facts clearly, and showing video proof of what he was saying. I thought the interview with Louis Woo, the Foxconn executive, was really eye opening. I thought that Woo seemed genuinely concerned about the problems, and whether or not he was motivated by publicity reasons, he seemed easy to admit the company’s mistakes. More importantly, he was an educated business man.
    Visiting the poor villages most workers come from made me think once again about the other side of the story. The young workers at Foxconn are improving lives for their families, and making more money than they would at home. I still remain very conflicted about where I stand on this issue.

  3. The article you found is really cool on the underage workers at Foxconn. That’s a great story that you found and was very interesting. And the fact that he found 17 and 18 year olds working rather than 13 truly makes Daisey look like a liar. I was working at 16 and 17 years old. Granted it was for my dad’s company in probably a much more comfortable setting. But it still just shows that the conditions are not nearly as horrifying as Daisey portrays. Like you said it is young but still legal…even in America. A stir from the audience is certainly what he was looking for.

  4. You know, in a way, I care more about how a worker is treated than her or his age. I mean the age matters, but if I had to choose between my product being made by a 13 year old who freely chose the work and has other opportunities and is in an environment where the highest standards of safety are met versus a 23 year old who is coerced into overtime, has no options, and is verbally or physically threatened not to organize, I would pick the first.

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