I didn’t find the retraction of the This American Life episode or the ‘lies’ told by Mr. Daisey to be quite as shocking as some of my classmates. I think the main reason for this was because I anticipated that some of the stories in Mr. Daisey’s monologue were not quite the truth. The events of life do not happen in a way that is a fit to tell a story. There is no climax fit into daily life, or a series of events that lead to it, or an emotional end that makes us think about morals and ethics. These key features of stories must be crafted intentionally. It is Mr. Daisey’s job, as a writer and an actor, to portray the events of his trip to China in a way that will be appealing to an audience, and I believe that is exactly what he has done. The show is on Broadway after all, which should give some indication to the audience that the events of the story would be exaggerated, dramatized, and controversial. Mr. Daisey’s intention was to bring light to an issue which he felt needed the support and attention of American citizens. There is no doubt that he has achieved this goal as thousands of people are signing petitions, writing news articles, conducting their own investigations, and conducting news broadcasts about the conditions in Chinese factories. That is not to say, however, that Mr. Daisey did not take many missteps to achieve this end goal.
Where Mr. Daisey got himself into trouble was allowing This American Life to portray his theatrical work as reputable journalism. Not only that, but he continued to lie, avoid questions, and skirt around the truth in order to present his material as factual information. He had many opportunities to fess up and admit that some of the details were fabricated for the sake of drama, but was too blinded by the fame and message he believed in, to take these opportunities. Like Ira Glass, I too have doubts about the truth of any of the things he now claimed to experience. And why shouldn’t I when it has been shown that he lied about how many factories he visited, the number of people he talked to, the dorm room conditions, the government blacklist, the hexane poisoning, and many other details.
This podcast revealed in particular that Mr. Daisey never even saw the actual dorm rooms that the workers lived in, although he described them with detail in his original monologue. I decided to investigate the actual conditions of these dorm rooms to see how accurate his description was. I found an article (http://gizmodo.com/5678732/exclusive-look-where-the-workers-who-made-your-iphone-sleep-at-night) which describes the conditions and provides photos, of Foxconn dorms. Although the conditions are far from desirable, they are not as gruesome as he described. I doubt that any person would expect much more than this when thinking about the living quarters that a company would provide its factory workers with. They workers sleep on bunk beds in a small room but have access to TV viewing rooms, cyber cafes, and exercise equipment, which hopefully makes their life a little less bleak. In fact, it is probably better than some of them could afford to have on their own. So although I strongly disagree with Mr. Daisey’s decision to present his work as factual truth, I believe he has brought light upon conditions which truly should be adjusted. But I am left with the question, was the end worth the means?