After listening to The Retraction, I feel relieved knowing now that what most of what Mike Daisy said was untrue and exaggerated. Last week when I first heard the podcast, I was very upset and infuriated by the situation that Daisy described. But now looking back, I should have definitely questioned his credibility on my own before believing every word he said. It actually makes me feel dumb that I questioned myself last week as to why I had never heard of the specific horrific conditions in China that Daisy described rather than questioning his credibility. But now it is perfectly clear to me and everyone else why this was unknown before Daisy’s performance. And speaking of performance—I think that this is a key word that really says something about the story that Daisy told. As TAL points out, Daisy is not a journalist. That should have been TAL’s first sign when broadcasting this story that maybe everything Daisy was saying was not entirely true. He was performing, which often entails fabrication and exaggeration. Yes, TAL should have practiced good journalism methods and checked his sources, but Daisy should not have gone as far as to make this story willingly available to the public without thinking about the consequences.
I was really bothered by the way Daisy handled the confrontation on his fabrications of the original story. First of all, he would take long pauses (almost as if he just wanted to move on to the next question), shuffled around the questions, and never actually admitted to lying or exaggerating. Who does that?! I feel like the long pause after each question really says it all – that he knows it was wrong. If he had admitted to what he would have done, I would have had some respect for him. But the fact that he “beat around the bush” for every single question is just rude and unprofessional. Daisy can try to continue to defend himself in the sense that he was trying to make a statement and make an impact with his show, but I think that he would have been just as successful if he actually told the truth and found a way to make the facts into a performance rather than exaggerating the details. Because really, who is going to believe Mike Daisy now?
One exaggeration that really stood out to me was about Daisy’s encounter with child labor. When I heard Daisy’s initial performance, I really did not think twice about these encounters because in the past, I have heard about such conditions existing in China. And honestly, I was actually surprised that this was a fabrication. TAL countered Daisy’s claim of his experience with the child labor situation by reporting that it is uncommon for Apple to have any problems with child labor, and this shocked me. Since we were prompted with the question, “Can you fact check the fact checkers?” I decided to explore this a little bit more to see what Apple’s involvement with child labor really entails. The Huffington Post published an article about children found working in the Foxconn iPhone factory, and this was posted on January 17, 2012 (clearly after Daisy’s performance). The article goes on to describe how Apple has claimed since 2007 that they have a “zero tolerance policy for underage labor” (along the lines of TAL’s claim). So, the fact that there are still unanswered questions about Apple’s involvement with child labor hinders TAL’s credibility (in my opinion) in regards to the “truth” that they claimed to have discovered from Daisy’s fabrications.