After listening to The Retraction on This American Life, I was dumbfounded by how non-credible Mr. Daisey’s “story” regarding Apple’s factory and abuses. Listening to the facts, it is so clear that Mr. Daisey’s story is made up. Last week I was shocked to hear of all of Apple’s abuse of its factory workers. I questioned the legitimacy of Apple as a company of good morals. What I should have been questioning was the truth of Mr. Daisey’s account of Apple.
The Retraction podcast was published in order to get the truth regarding Apple and Mr. Daisey out there. It was a type of damage control for This American Life, as it was their fault that they did not check Mr. Daisey’s story well enough. But, who could blame them! Mr. Daisey’s story takes place on the other side of the world. It is still This American Life’s responsibility to ensure that the stories they publish are indeed true. It is the code of journalist standards to publish stories as accurately as possible.
Mr. Daisey’s story was not completely made up. He did meet with “Cathy Lee” to some extent. However, what she told Mr. Daisey and what was told directly to This American Life was different. Mr. Daisey made up facts and cited sources that never delivered these facts. For instance, Daisey claimed that Cathy told him about workers suffering from side effects that made workers hands shake, and even be unable to pick up a glass. The lack of consistency of his story and being unable to reach Cathy Lee or anyone who Mr. Daisey met with at the factory should have been a giant red flag that the story is false.
Ultimately, what is done is done; the story was published and the lies were spread. The important thing to take away from this example is that sources should always be checked for credibility. Current.org published a story regarding the story, the falsehood and how it could have been avoided. Current.org found that “Simple Googling had dug up what Daisey had hidden. Current goes on to cite several instances where Mr. Daisey’s claims could be proven false via google search. For example, Mr. Daisey’s claim regarding the armed guards at the factory. Current goes on to mention that the biggest mistake in terms of fact checking was that This American Life failed to speak to Cathy Lee before the show aired. Mr. Daisey claimed it was impossible to speak to “Cathy Lee.” But, we know that Cathy Lee was located and spoken too for the retraction podcast.
Mr. Daisey’s story and This American Life are both at fault. Mr. Daisey should have told This American Life that his facts were not true. However, Mr. Daisey wanted to appear more credible. This American Life should have checked the story before airing it. I think This American Life made an error as they are a powerful news source and are expected to publish the truth. This American Life should have protected themselves better. There are a lot of crazy people in this world who will say anything but the truth. Therefore, the facts must always be checked.