I think that it is safe to say that this entire piece was flat out awkward and embarrassing. For anyone that had ever listened to the monologue by Mr. Daisey and was moved by what they heard, this is truly sickening. What once felt like an eye opening experience to the existence of unspeakable working conditions turned out to be nothing more than satirical “journalism.” Mr. Daisey’s libelous actions have tarnished the very essence of Apple and its products, as well as the accountability of This American Life.
The issues surrounding the interpreter Cathy (Or was it Anna?) should have been an immediate tip off for TAL. Mr. Daisey lied about her name, his inability to contact her, and the capacity of her involvement in his monologue. When Cathy was approached and asked her side of the story, it was remarkable how many of the things were exaggerated or false. His entire story was a mixture of things that actually happened and things he had heard about. In hindsight, a good number of the topics didn’t really add up. For instance, the guards standing at the gates. Why would security guards at a factory be carrying guns in a country where it is illegal for anyone outside of the military to carry one? Or his meetings with workers in a coffee shop. It certainly does seem strange that workers making their level of wages would be sipping on expensive Starbucks coffee. Both of these are minor details that one wouldn’t think about while enraptured by the speaker. People wanted so badly to believe that this entire story is based on fact and truth, but until the retraction came out, they never saw it for what his story really is. Theater. Mr. Daisey was quoted later saying that this wasn’t strictly a work of truth, but rather a piece with some truths, and that you could trust his word in the “context of the theater.”
As for the interview process with Mr. Daisey, his awkward pauses resembling the acting performance of Ryan Gosling in Drive. When asked why he didn’t tell the truth when the opportunity arose, he stated that he was terrified that if he untied his work and the facts, that everything would have been for nothing. He felt conflicted and trapped. He said that his goal was to make people care, which he was successful in doing. This brought the podcast to its third and final act, “The News That’s Fit to Print,” to find out what the true working conditions are in China. TAL turned to Charles Duhigg of the New York Times to put together the facts. Many of the things that were brought up had been brought up in the original Mr. Daisey podcast, including Apple’s code of conduct for its suppliers, and that most of Apple’s suppliers do not abide by the restrictions placed on hours permitted to be worked in a week. An interesting topic that was covered was the attractiveness of the Chinese system, discussing the cost efficiency of and flexibility of their factories that make them attractive to U.S. companies. However, the way that Charles Duhigg represented them seemed to take much of the blame away from big corporations like Apple, and place it more on the managerial level on site. Workers are coerced to do overtime, because they are worried that if they say no, they may lose the opportunity at another time.