When listening to The Retraction of Mike Daisey, I found the episode to be gratifying yet somewhat insensitive. Within his monologue of the Apple factory, Mike Daisey exaggerates and fabricates the truth regarding various topics such as: businessman he had met, his encounter with factory workers, and conversations with his translator, etc. For the producers to feel manipulated on This American Life is completely understandable and I agree with their decision to create a retraction episode. However, I feel a sense of severity in the way they went about questioning Mike Daisey. I understand that his fraudulent misrepresentation not only effects this radio show, but the livelihood of many Apple affiliates yet, I feel the point he was trying to make was to cause a public reaction – which he did. His exaggerations may have been inaccurate, but his message was inhuman treatment of factory workers and people took notice. Although wronged, This American Life employees could have handled the situation in a more amiable manor.
On the other hand, I feel that Mike Daisey handled his confrontation tastelessly. He never admits to lying; he instead deflects the fraudulent statements onto everyone but himself. He continuously claims his monologue was created in a “theatrical context” but he never prefaces his dishonesty in his performances. The way in which he approaches the situation tarnishes his monologue; if he had been more compliant of his fraudulence, his monologue could still hold some substance.
With that being said, the fact checks in the episode weren’t 100% accurate, defiling some of their credibility as well. At one point within The Retraction Episode, the producer and one of his affiliates discuss the fabrication of child labor in Mike Daisey’s encounter. They modify his encounter and respond that Apple has rare incidences of child labor. They then address the actions Apple has taken to eliminate all child labor occurrences within their factories.
This VentureBeat article describes how this past year, child labor is not necessarily being witnessed however, government personnel fear that underage laborers are still being hid from factory inspections. The Inquirer posted a similar article, discussing how Apple found 5 factories using solely child labor. These articles were published nearly 2 years after Mike Daisey’s first episode was aired; 2 years is too long for these issues to still be occurring. In all, Apple may believe factory conditions are improving, but I remain unconvinced and hesitant of their child labor ‘clean-up’.