Gossip Magazines & Ethical Missteps

The obsession with knowing everything about the lives of celebrities has manifested in many areas.  From the boom of reality television shows, to the access of social media sites, to the nonstop production of gossip magazines and websites, the demand for this type of information is clear.  This obsession brings up two main issues.  The first being celebrities’ rights to privacy and the second being the purposeful slandering of celebrities in an effort to sell magazines, regardless of the truthfulness of the stories.

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Paper 1- Apple

For paper 1, I plan on using Apple as a real world example to discuss the conflicting theories of stakeholder ethics and shareholder ethics.  I plan on focusing on the struggles of creating value for the wide variety of stakeholder’s that Apple has, and the difficulty in identifying which stakeholders are the most important for certain decisions. Furthermore, I want to investigate the changing ethics Apple has undergone over the past few years, the true reasoning for this change, and if they could ever become a socially responsible company to their core.

What would Ira say…

And when Apple would call journalists who had spoken to me, and tell them, “You know, I don’t know if you want to be associated with him. He’s kind of unstable. You know, he does work in the theater.”

I would keep my head down. And I would tell my story.

And tonight—we know the truth.

Ira Glass:

The truth? The truth is that you lied. We trusted you. We trusted you to come on our program and share what you had learned on your visit to Foxconn. And you lied! You flat. out. lied. And you knew it, the whole time. What kind of person does that? Did you feel any sense of guilt in doing that?

Yes, we made a mistake in letting you on our show. And yes, we should have been suspicious from the very beginning when you said there was no way to contact your translator in China.

But how hard is it to tell the truth! Working in the theater is not a valid excuse. Because you knew. You knew you were expected to tell the truth on This American Life, and you knew you were lying. And now, you’ve embarrassed me, you’ve embarrassed my coworkers, and, most of all, you’ve embarrassed yourself.

Mike Daisy Integrity

Mike Daisy: Before I start my monologue there is something important I need to say. I want you all to know that this play is a portrayal of real events. Some of these events were taken directly from a trip I made to China about a year ago while others have come from stories which you may have read about in the news.

The purpose of this monologue is to get you, the crowd, thinking about your products and gadgets as more than just toys which appear on in the store. There are real consequences to our buying habits. This monologue is going to display those consequences and what life is like in China for those people who make your products. I hope you all enjoy the show.

Make it up as you go…

The following reaction is from my own perspective as a student who uses Apple products, but is also conscious of the plight of workers in Foxconn:

 “Well, we talk a lot, we have a lot of meetings—we meet at coffeehouses, different Starbucks in

Guangzhou, we exchange papers, sometimes there are books…”

And it’s so clear, in this moment, that they are making this up as they go along.

The way so many of us do.

The way pirates do. The way rebels do.

The way the crazy ones who change the world do—they all make it up as they go along.


Now wait just a second here, Mike. You are going to sit here ranting and raving about unfair working conditions, low wages, and facilities with armed guards but then try to convince me these disgruntled union workers are kicking it at Starbucks throwing back lattes? You’re the one who is making this up as you go. It’s just not plausible and you know it, Mike. You can’t spend so much time telling me workers are underpaid and then expect me to think that THESE are the Chinese citizens drinking overpriced (and might I add, overrated) coffee.

And then you go off and say making it up as you go is how the world gets changed?! You certainly must hope that’s true since it’s quite obvious you are on a mission to change something. But what is it you are trying to change here, Mike? You want to rally the troops and march on down to Cupertino and give Tim Cook a piece of your mind? You want to start a vendetta against every company out there who outsources their production? You have so many holes in your story I’m just about ready to stop listening, let alone join your ranks. But you press on Mike Daisey! You fearless pirate! You brave rebel, you! But how about you do us all a favor and stop making it up as you go. 

Dorm Room Diaries

So here I am, sitting at my standard wooden desk, in my typical cement-walled dorm room, at my classic American university listening to the Daisy Retraction podcast from The American Life through the silver speakers of my Macbook Pro. Did I feel a little guilty when the original podcast warned me that the solution that once cleaned this beautiful Macbook Pro might have caused the hands of Chinese workers to shrivel and melt? Yeah, duh.

After hearing the retraction, that feeling of guilt has not disappeared. But it has been slightly overshadowed by a feeling of deception. Like I had been forced to feel helpless regarding the horrible events at Foxconn, forced to accept these terrible working conditions, and even forced to question my position in the world and my decisions in life. I may be a little overzealous in this reaction, but mustering words to describe feelings is a difficult task.

So, here are some of my original thoughts from the first podcast: “Let me get this straight – there were security guards… with guns? What is this, a scene from Prison Break? I think about even the secured French embassy in DC where I had to apply for a French visa for study abroad. They had a guard at the gate and my parents were forced to wait outside for me. But that guard was about as ferocious as a mall cop. But guns – guns evoke fear, even when I can’t see them for myself, or feel the stern eyes of the guards watching me as I pass though the gates.”

In reflection, it seems absurd. My reaction was clearly influenced by my personal prejudices as an American teen who is accustomed to democracy and red, white and blue and all that shit. We have this image of China as a communist nation and apparently it involves gunmen standing outside of office campuses. How would I feel if there were gunmen standing outside the gates of Bucknell, keeping me inside this little dorm room of mine – or maybe their purpose would be to keep other people out.

But anyway, who does Daisey think he is? How can he sleep at night knowing that he played off this irrational image and further solidified this absurd and over-exaggerated pre-conceived notion of how China is run? Or was his goal not to encourage anti-China sentiments, but instead to cast a dark shadow on American enterprise? Guilt, fear, deception. It’s all there. But what can we, as American consumers, really feel guilty about? Can the image of an armed guard standing outside a building on the other side of the world really induce fear? And did Daisey really deceive us, or force us to pay attention to what was really going on? After all, the truth about Foxconn did have to surface eventually.