After listening to Mike Daisey’s podcast, I was conflicted and infuriated. I believed that his story was the truth and that a reputable radio show like This American Life would have thoroughly checked such a damning story. After listening to “The Retraction”, I cannot help but feeling ripped off. I felt as though everything Mike Daisey told us in the original monologue and podcast was untrue and that every emotion I felt while listening to the podcast was foolish.
I believe that the confusions surrounding Cathy’s/Anna’s name should have halted This American Life’s publication of the podcast. If the writer cannot provide the name of his translator, the only person who can verify his story for fact checking, then there is a serious problem. It becomes Mike Daisey’s word alone as, without Cathy, there is nobody to validate his strong claims. The second he lied about her name, I felt as though everything he said was null and void. Even though, in her interview, she confirmed some of his facts, I think that the dismissal of some facts made the original podcast pointless. How can we trust this man? This American Life absolutely should have fact checked this story more thoroughly. This kind of retraction has never occurred for a reason and I am disappointed in them.
I was thoroughly disappointed that the stories from the original podcast that affected me the most about the man seeing his first ever iPad and the n-hexane victims were fabricated. It was the stories like those that made the original podcast compelling and gave it the emotional “oomph” that affected the listeners. Hearing from Cathy that both stories never happened was shocking. Daisey, when discussing the n-hexane story, says that he feared that the public would not be able to “unpack the complexities” of the story. In short, he lied and tried to cover it up. I found that to be aggravating. I understand that he was trying to maintain his journalistic reputation, but I believe that lying or “fabricating the truth” made him even less credible than confessing to what he did.
In many of the blog posts from last week, my classmates and I commented on Mike Daisey’s storytelling ability and how his descriptiveness and comedic tone positively affected the story. Now, I certainly regret saying that. I believe that Mr. Daisey may have gotten carried away in transposing his findings from reality to a gripping monologue. I am upset that his story carried many factual errors and truly wish that he had just told the truth. Some of the truths that Cathy confirmed were, in fact, appalling. His monologue may not have been as long, but his point still would have been made.