mikedaisey

Mike Daisey Lies on This American Life; Theaters Won’t Cancel Performances or Issue Refunds

On Friday afternoon, Mike Daisey, the monologist who appeared on This American Life earlier in the year to report on apparent abuses of Chinese workers at Foxconn, was revealed to have fabricated and conflated substantial details of his story. Daisey’s lies and errors had proven so severe that This American Life devoted an entirely new episode to clearing up Daisey’s story.

Daisey’s tale, which was an excerpt from his one-man show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, had helped to shape many people’s feelings about Apple. Apple had relied upon its supplier, Foxonn, to manufacture its line of iPhones and iPads. And while an independent investigation from The New York Times earlier this year also revealed unsafe working conditions at Foxconn, there remain significant doubts over whether much of what Daisey has stated on stage and on air is true.

“As best as we can tell,” said host Ira Glass on the new episode of This American Life, “Mike’s monologue in reality is a mix of things that actually happened when he visited China and things that he just heard about or researched, which he then pretends that he witnessed first-hand.” Glass went on to say that he had taken Daisey at his word and that he saw no reason to doubt Daisey. “I can now say in retrospect that when Mike Daisey wouldn’t give us contact information for his interpreter, we should’ve killed the story rather than run it. We never should’ve broadcast this story without talking to that woman.”

Rob Schmitz, a Marketplace correspondent in Shanghai, was able to track down “Cathy” — Daisey’s interpreter for the piece, whose real name is Li Guifen but who also goes by the name Cathy Lee — by putting the terms “Cathy,” “translator,” and “Shenzhen” into Google. He called the first phone number that came up. Cathy Lee did not know that Daisey had used her in his show. She thought that Daisey was merely an American writer.

Hers is a list of Daisey’s lies uncovered on the program:

  • Daisey claimed that the Foxconn guards at the gates had guns. Schmitz said that, in all of his years of reporting, he had never seen guards with guns. “The only people allowed to have guns in China are the military and the police, not factory guards.” This was corroborated by Cathy Lee, who told This American Life that she had never seen a gun in person.
  • Daisey claimed that he met with workers “at coffeehouses and different Starbucks in Guangzhou.” Schmitz pointed out that it was unlikely that factory workers who made fifteen to twenty dollars a day would sip coffee at Starbucks. Because Starbucks is pricier in China than in the United States.
  • Daisey claimed that he talked to hundreds of workers. Cathy Lee said that it was 50 workers on the outside.
  • Daisey claimed that he posed as a businessman to get inside Foxconn’s factories. In fact, Daisey’s appointments were all set up in advance.
  • Daisey claimed that he visited ten factories Cathy Lee told This American Life it was only three.
  • While Apple’s own audits have revealed some underage workers (a total of 91 workers among hundreds of thousands in 2010), Cathy Lee revealed that Daisey had not met any underage workers during his trip. “Maybe we met a girl who looked like she was thirteen years old, like that one. She looks really young,” said Cathy Lee. “I think if she said she was thirteen or twelve, then I would be surprised. I would be very surprised. And I would remember for sure. But there is no such thing.” In the ten years that Cathy Lee has visited factories in Shenzhen, she’s hardly seen any underage workers.
  • Daisey claimed to meet twenty-five to thirty workers from an unauthorized union in an all-day meeting. The meeting did happen. But it was two to three workers, and the meeting was only for a few hours, over lunch at a restaurant.
  • Cathy Lee has doubts about the government-issued blacklist of people who the companies weren’t allowed to hire. While she remembers the blacklist, she says that it didn’t have an official government stamp, which any government-issued document would have.
  • Daisey claimed that he encountered people who had been poisoned by n-hexane, with their hands shaking uncontrollably. But Cathy Lee told Rob Schmitz that she and Daisey hadn’t met anybody poisoned by hexane. The story came from news in 2010, but the hexane poisoning occurred in a Wintek family in Suzhou, nearly a thousand miles away from Shenzhen.
  • Daisey describes an old man who got his hand twisted in a metal press and who has never seen an iPad turned on. In Daisey’s monologue, the old man says, “It’s a kind of magic,” when the iPad’s screen is turned on. Cathy Lee said that this never happened. “It’s just like a movie scenery,” she said on the program. She did say she remembered the guy, but that he never worked at Foxconn.
  • The taxi ride on the exit ramp that ended in thin air 85 feet from the ground? Cathy Lee said that it did not happen.
  • Cathy Lee said that she and Daisey never saw any factory dorm rooms.
  • Daisey claimed that it would not work if he talked with Foxcon workers at the gate. But Cathy Lee has been taking workers to the factory gates for years.

In the fact-checking process, Daisey repeatedly lied to Glass and Schmitz. He initially told Glass that he met with 25 to 30 illegal union workers. When pressed by Glass and Schmitz, he knocked the number down to ten. Cathy Lee said it was really between two and five.

“Why would Cathy say that you did not meet any underage workers?” asked Schmitz on the program.

“I don’t know,” replied Daisey. “I do know that when doing interviews a lot of people were speaking in English. They enjoyed using English with me and I don’t know if she was paying attention at that particular point.”

When pressed further by Schmitz, Daisey claimed to have “a clear recollection of meeting somebody who was thirteen years old” and with another worker who was twelve years old.

“But none of them said they were twelve, right?” countered Glass. “The others didn’t actually give their ages and you’re just kind of guessing.”

“That’s correct,” replied Daisey. “That’s accurate.”

When confronted about the invented hexane workers on the program, Daisey could not actually confess that he lied.

“I wouldn’t express it that way,” said Daisey.

“How would you express it?” asked Schmitz.

“I would say that I wanted to tell a story that captured the totality of my trip. So when I was building the scene of that meeting, I wanted to have the voice of this thing that had been happening that everyone had been talking about,” replied Daisey.

“So you didn’t meet any worker who’d been poisoned by hexane?” asked Glass.

“That’s correct,” replied Daisey.

* * *

Daisey told The New York Times in 2006 that he “once fabricated a story because it ‘connected’ with the audience.” That same year, Daisey performed a one-man show called Truth: The Heart is a Million Little Pieces Above All Things, which used James Frey and JT Leroy as inspiration. As Variety wrote at the time, “Daisey comes to a judgment that is strict but sympathetic; he suggests that if people are often the least reliable narrators of their own lives, they are also sometimes the most engaging.”

When I contacted theater companies on Friday afternoon, it was evident that they were more taken with the “engaging” nature of Daisey’s show rather than its veracity. DJ from New York’s The Public Theater informed me that the three remaining performances of Daisey’s show scheduled on Saturday and Sunday were still on. There were no plans to cancel.

But what of theatergoers who might have believed that Daisey’s story is real and who booked tickets in advance of these allegations?

“We don’t offer refunds,” said DJ.

Burlington’s Flynn Center will not be canceling Daisey’s March 31st show. The spokesperson and I have been playing telephone tag. [SEE 3/19/12 UPDATE BELOW FOR ADDITIONAL FLYNN CENTER DETAILS.]

When I contacted Emily Weiner at the D-Crit Conference, where Daisey is scheduled to speak on May 2nd, I was apparently the first person to inform Ms. Weiner of the news. There was nobody available to issue an official statement.

I was also the first to inform a very friendly woman at the Emmett Robinson Theater of Daisey’s fabrications. I left a message with Jesse Bagley, the chief contact person at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, where Daisey is scheduled to perform from May 31st to June 6th.

The best response I was able to get was from Brooke Miller, Press and Digital Content Manager and designated spokesperson for the Woolly Mammoth Theater Company. Daisey is scheduled to perform at the Washington, DC theater from June 17th to August 5th. After getting Miller on the phone, I was told that there would be no refunds or cancellations. When I pressed Miller further on what circumstances might cause the theater to issue refunds or cancel, I was simply told that the show was “constantly changing.”

Woolly Mammoth even expressed pride in Daisey’s work. In an official statement sent to me via email, Miller called The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs “a daring work of theatre that opened people’s eyes to some of the real working conditions in Chinese factories where high-tech products are manufactured–conditions which have been documented by subsequent journalistic accounts in The New York Times and other sources. It’s a core value of Woolly to present works that spark conversation around topics of socio-political importance, and we’re pleased to have played a part in bringing these issues to national attention. We look forward to welcoming Mike back for an encore performance of the show this summer.”

3/17/2012 1:00 PM UPDATE: The Public Theater has released this statement (PDF) in response to Mike Daisey:

In the theater, our job is to create fictions that reveal truth — that’s what a storyteller does, that’s what a dramatist does. The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs reveals, as Mike’s other monologues have, human truths in story form.

In this work, Mike uses a story to frame and lead debate about an important issue in a deeply compelling way. He has illuminated how our actions affect people half-a-world away and, in doing so, has spurred action to address a troubling situation. This is a powerful work of art and exactly the kind of storytelling that The Public Theater has supported, and will continue to support in the future.

Mike is an artist, not a journalist. Nevertheless, we wish he had been more precise with us and our audiences about what was and wasn’t his personal experience in the piece.

3/17/2012 7:30 PM UPDATE: Out of Focus‘s Aaron Dobbs was at this afternoon’s 2:00 PM performance of Mike Daisey’s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs and reported the following on Twitter:

The Associated Press’s Mark Kennedy also confirms that Daisey has added a new section at the beginning in which he addresses questions raised by critics. According to Kennedy’s report, Public Theater artistic director Oskar Eustis said that Daisey “eliminated anything he doesn’t feel he can stand behind.” Eustis called the prologue “the best possible frame we could give the audience for the controversy.”

3/18/12 2:00 PM UPDATE: Mike Daisey has posted an audio file of his new opening prologue. You can listen to the file below:

Mike Daisey — New Prologue (Download MP3)

This text will be replaced

Here is a transcript:

Good afternoon. I wanted to take a second before we do the show. Because I wanted to let you know that This American Life is airing an episode this weekend that calls into question the veracity of some of the personal experiences that you’re going to hear about in this monologue. And I want you to understand that what’s being called into question is the personal experiences. The facts of what the situation is in China in manufacturing are undisputed. And they’re reinforced by The New York Times, CNN, NPR, all these organizations have gone and done the hard journalism that’s necessary. When you leave here, if you feel interested, I’d really urge you to go out and read about those things. But I wanted to let you know that I stand behind this work. And the work you’re going to see today has had changes made to it. So that we can stand behind it completely. And, uh, includes this controversy in it, so that you can have a full picture and you can do what you want with it. Because I believe that as an audience that’s your role — is to determine how you feel about the art you take in. You will make those determinations for yourselves. When the lights go down here, I will go backstage. When I come back out, the lights will come up on the stage and I will be telling you a story. And that’s the oldest form of theater, you know. When the light comes on to the stage, I assume that role where I am speaking. We use these tools that the Greeks invented so long ago to try and communicate. The whole attempt is to try to shine a light through something and get at the truth. The truth is vitally important. I believe that very deeply. And I, uh, have come here today to set this up. Because I think context is utterly important. And so some of you are like, “Ah yeah.” Some of you are like, “I have no idea what any of this is about.” (audience laughter) But thankfully because we live in such a wired and connected world, I would ask that you not look up the controversy on the Internet while the show is actually going. (audience laughter) Small…just a small request. There’ll be time enough after it’s over. (audience laughter) Um….I’d like to thank you all so much for coming. And I do hope you have a great show. Thanks. (audience applause)

3/18/12 11:00 PM UPDATE: CNET’s Greg Sandoval collected audience reactions from Daisey’s remaining shows at the Public Theater. In his first filed story on March 18th, Sandoval describes professor Alan Zimmerman complaining last night to the theater about Daisey’s lack of credibility. “He misled the audience about what occurred,” said Zimmerman. “I’m disappointed.” In Sandoval’s second story (only just filed), he reports that Daisey’s last performance at the Public Theater received a standing ovation. “It was a great performance,” said one audience member. “He really makes you think.”

3/19/12 12:00 PM UPDATE: This morning, I spoke by telephone with John Killacky, executive director of the Flynn Center, who was very gracious with his time. He informed me, as previously reported, that the Flynn Center is going ahead with the March 31st performance of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs. Killacky was sufficiently satisfied with the added prologue and the minor changes in the script, and had been in touch with Daisey’s agent and publicist over the weekend.

“The fascinating part of it,” said Killacky, “is that both Ira Glass and reporters from Marketplace are saying the facts are correct. And what’s wrong with it is that it’s not first person.”

Killacky felt that the show would still remain compelling for audiences, telling me that one of theater’s essential roles is “to promote dialogue.” To this end, Killacky tells me that he may work in a post-show dialogue with Daisey on stage. He also said that, unlike the other theaters I talked with, he planned to issue refunds for anybody who felt taken in by Daisey’s material.

I asked Killacky if he had reviewed the informational sheet that Daisey is handing out to the audience after the show. He said that he hadn’t. I then asked if he had considered offering a secondary sheet of This American Life‘s findings, so that the audience would have enough information to make up their minds. There were no plans as of Monday morning.

“I think what’s important here is that people experience the work itself,” elaborated Killacky. “Did Mike make mistakes? Yes. He admitted and then he apologized, I thought. I’m not sure that invalidates him as an artist. In fact, it doesn’t invalidate him as an artist.”

3/19/12 12:30 PM UPDATE: Gawker’s Adrian Chen was also taken in by Mike Daisey last year — after he began doing some fact-checking on Agony. He relates that he met with Daisey, “as intense in person as he is onstage, though more piercing than the loony American Abroad persona he’s cultivated for The Agony and the Ecstasy,” and he confesses to being duped by his charisma:

Throughout our interview, he’d been so convincing; his lies were so detailed and full of compassion and humor. And now I wondered why I was wasting my time trying to poke holes in his facts when I should be writing about the awful things he saw. We talked for a bit more and he invited me to his show. I went, and dropped the story.

3/19/12 6:30 PM UPDATE: Alli Houseworth, former marketing and communications director at Wooly Mammoth, has an interesting post up at New Beans, in which she has called on audiences to boycott the show: “He insisted that ‘This is a work of non-fiction’ be printed in playbills. This was to be a work of activist theatre. Staff at Woolly handed out sheets of paper to every audience member that left our theatres, per Mike’s insistence, that urged them to take action on this matter. (I and other staffers would get nasty emails from him the next day if even one audience member slipped by without collecting this call to action.)”

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48 Comments

  1. Great article! But I think at this point, we should all be questioning the veracity of the piece that the NY Times ran as well. The reporter on that story, Charles Duhigg, engaged in spectacularly shoddy journalism there. And during his interview with NPR’s Terri Gross on Fresh Air, he claimed that a fair labor investigator, who wished to remain anonymous, had told him that Foxconn had concealed underage workers prior to inspection. His work on other topics is similarly rife with unverifiable, anecdotal material which just begs investigation.

  2. Well, if the theaters will not cancel might as well set up shop just outside selling super-ripe tomatoes and ponchos to the patrons entering… what they choose to do with the fruit is their own business.

  3. Another “Fake” but “True” saga from the Left.

  4. Wooly Mamoth:”It’s a core value of Woolly to present works that spark conversation around topics of socio-political importance”
    Translation: Since we’re of the correct political stripe, its OK to make stuff up and pass it off as truth beacaus its for a good cause.

  5. […] Edward Champion summarizes the response of the theaters that have or will be presenting Daisey’s theater piece. […]

  6. The schmucks are circling the wagons around the
    biggest schmuck.

  7. If I were in the local area I could be the local Breitbart and ‘educate’ the patrons walking up to the theater entrance that evening. Sandwich boards, signs, perhaps even a large papier-mâché puppet or two.

    I’ll bet the theaters would get more requests for refunds, along with questions as to why they didn’t cancel the show.

    Boy that could be fun.

  8. I hope the Wooly Mammoth will premiere my new experiential show based on the totality and *synthesis* of my observations: “I Saw Mike Daisey Stuffing Small Woodland Creatures Up His Butt.”

  9. I worked with a China team for 7 years from 2003 to 2011, spending most of my time in Shanghai. I can vouch that anyone who said migrant factory workers would meet at Starbucks is definitely lying. Starbucks is very upscale in China. Affordable only to the upper middle class and expats. Second it is also extremely unlikely that a migrant worker allegedly 12-13 year old can converse with an American in English. A majority (I would guess 3/4) of college graduates with whom I worked could barely hold a normal English conversation. (After six months to a year of constant practice, they get better.)

  10. The progressive crowd at work. NPR this is why I never even think about donating even though I love car talk and the Jefferson hour. You bastards are such lying POS.

  11. Anyone in journalism (such as it is these days) with the last name of Glass should be a little more … ummm … circumspect in dealing with a “fabulist” such as Mr. Daisey.

  12. At first I thought this was not much more than an attribution problem. But after seeing a list like that .. well … he’s just makin’ it up as he goes along. Confirmation from the NYT isn’t going to change anything since with them one needs confirmation of their confirmation.

  13. I must have missed something. When did objectivity and veracity become elements in NPR reporting?

  14. I wish the audiences will shout “LIAR, you fu*king $hitty LIAR…” when Daisey is performing tonight! That’ll be very funny for not giving refund! LOL

  15. I wonder if the so-called “truth” that the theaters talk about, were something that they didn’t already believe, whether they would be so supportive.

    Let’s say, if Daisey made up a Holocaust survivor story, that turned out to be a lie, would the theaters support it because of this purported “truth”?

  16. A question one might ask is: With all of the blatant lies broadcast by NPR, Why did they finally apologize for this one. The answer is that it knocked APPLE and the Silicon Valley “elites” that support Obama with both worship and enthusiasm. NPR is smart enough to realize that it is a loser for them to say anything negative about their key clientele. I can name many lies that come from NPR and none of those lies would ever be considered for re-consideration or apology.

  17. This show wasn’t on NPR. What the fuck does any of this have to do with the Left or Right of politics? You guys would blame a fucking volcanic eruption on progressives.

  18. To those leaving comments on this article, This American Life is a PRI program, not NPR. But brad-t has already expressed this fact with a rather ebullient eloquence.

  19. His art lacks integrity. Shame of those venues for allowing this to continue.

    It’s not okay to lie this way. If truth is not a requirement, then what incentive do companies have to improve workering conditions? If, rather than doing the hard work of actually understanding the situation a person like Mike Daisey can just come along and make things up why bother to make real improvements? It will never be good enough.

    Truth is very important. By utilizing truth we can appreciate and evaluate what progress has been made, and what else needs to be done. Otherwise we risk doing more harm than good by punishing those who are trying to effect positive change.

    Stating that this is “dramatic license” rather than laziness and fraud is shameful. We should not tolerate deceit as a shortcut to frame, power and influence. Mike Daisey had no business being the de facto spokesperson for fair labor at Foxconn.

    I hope these venues realize that their integrity isn’t worth a few nights profit.

  20. Well if they can boycott Rush for his language we can certainly boycott This American Life and all their sponsors for being so “economical” with the truth.

    Crush all “progressive” media outlets by cancelling subscriptions, boycotting advertisers refusing to buy their books or download their products on the Internet.

    Don’t stop until they are all dead and unable to infest the body politic with their lies.

  21. I want to go to his show and heckle the crap out of him! That would be fun.

  22. […] Edward Champion (Reluctant Habits) has a summary of the episode, which strikes me as generally sound, though I recommend that you listen to the whole episode. Champion also reports that the theaters in which Daisey usually performs his monologues — which make much the same assertions as Daisey’s This American Life item did, and which appear (at least according to Ira Glass) to be presented as fact — are not stepping up to correct the errors or apologize for them. That strikes me as quite troubling, though I’d certainly be glad to hear more facts on the subject. Thanks to InstaPundit for the pointer. […]

  23. […] has turned into an ethical and moral hand-wringing about journalism art, and what it means, if customers should get their money back for the show. It’s also a battle of wrong vs. right, Apple vs. the media […]

  24. John Cunningham March 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Brad T and Edward Champion–PRI is a close ally of NPR, and I have never heard any PRI show anywhere else than on an NPR station. this is clearly of a case of This American Life not bothering to vet a show which so closely fit their anti-globalization, anti-business attitudes. the theaters, etc, still keeping Daisey booked evince the Lefty attitude perfectly–there is no truth, only statements that serve the party line.

  25. I don’t understand all the progressive bashing here. I’m a progressive, and I don’t support Daisey or any other liar. The facts have no political face. So for all of you that think this is a symptom of the left, you must really be naive because no honest person on either side of the spectrum would support someone that is lying.

  26. True that This American Life is a PRI program distributed by APM. Nevertheless, PRI/APM programs appear on most NPR affiliate stations although independent of any NPR initiatives. Until the TAL situation is clarified, ideally by Daisey and Glass being shown the door after this deception, NPR affiliates should be pressured to rethink their relationships with PRI/APM. CBS News axed Dan Rather for similar misconduct over the Bush/TANG memo fake job.

  27. “This show wasn’t on NPR. What the fuck does any of this have to do with the Left or Right of politics?”…followed by…”To those leaving comments on this article, This American Life is a PRI program, not NPR.”

    PRI programming is ALL OVER NPR. Duh. LOL, how weaselly are you guys willing to get? PRI for all practical purposes IS NPR. Way to own up.

    And this has everything to do with right/left politics. NPR is strictly left wing (another duh) and they manipulate the news or even outright lie about events past and present every single day. Liberals love made up stories. “Fake but accurate” is their motto.

  28. Gotta love the “this is PRI, not NPR!!” excuses. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a PRI program anywhere but on a NPR station.

  29. Since my tweets have become a part of your story, I just want to put them into my own context: I think Ira Glass was relatively mortified that THIS AMERICAN LIFE broadcast Daisey’s piece they way it did, however, listening to Glass this morning, I believe his issue, too, is one of context. I don’t think he would have cared at all about Daisey’s utilizing creative license had he acknowledged that fact a) at any time, and b) so audiences could be aware that what they’re seeing is inspired by his visits and true reports but not actual reporting. Glass was making a distinction between journalism and theater. Daisey — during his conversation with Glass — seemed to argue that audiences attend all shows with the inherent knowledge that what they’re seeing includes some degree of creative license. Glass disagreed.

    I would tend to agree with Glass’s view in this regard, but that does not mean I think Daisey’s show needs to cease to exist. Ultimately, this is a work of theater. Context is important, and I think — especially with only a few performances left — there is no reason the Public should offer refunds, nor is there any reason an audience member who decided to go see this show should want one. Daisey’s prologue now states that people can read in the NY Times and other outlets about this story, whether they trust his version or not. The segments that have been challenged do not constitute the totality of the show, and even if he has embellished all of his points, I think the show’s larger themes still maintain a great degree of power and resonance, even in an abstract, less-specific sense.

    And finally, for the record, I enjoyed the show a great deal because I’m a member of the Cult of Apple as well, although not quite as addicted or tech savvy as Daisey seems to be. I did not love the show though — certainly not as much as most of the audience seemed to, and my fiancee, in fact, absolutely hated it, reacting with a visceral sense of anger that I had yet to ever see in her post a film, play or any other sort of live performance.

    Still, none of my criticisms would stem from the veracity (or lack of it) of the subject matter. Daisey is an engaging performer and a wonderful storyteller, but he also over-performs at moments, and his meta-self-referential attempts to describe how daring a theatrical persona he is, working from an outline and not a script is belied by the fact that simply from his doing this show so many times, it actually feels extremely scripted and lacks any seeming spontaneity whatsoever.

    Oskar Eustis — who I admire greatly — has a note in the playbill comparing Daisey to Spaulding Gray. Daisey is a powerful performer with a knack for creating and telling stories: That’s no small feat. But he’s a long way from being the elegant and transfixing talent and presence that was the late and brilliant Gray.

    As is too often the case, the issue here is one of context. It seems to me Glass believes that Daisey should have provided more from the start, and I would certainly agree, especially if he plans to crusade around the country using his story as evidence.

  30. Aaron: Thanks so much for fleshing out your comments. Your observations and remarks are greatly appreciated.

  31. NPR doesn’t run stations, folks. It produces and distributes programming, like “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition”. Public radio stations call themselves NPR member stations if they purchase these programs to air because NPR is the best-known public radio distributor in the nation, and its shows are tentpoles for any such station. To not know this is quite common and therefore forgivable. However, digging in your heels even after your ignorance has been corrected is just stupid.

    That said, it was a reporter for APM’s “Marketplace” that blew the lid off Daisey’s fabrications, and Ira Glass devoted an entire show to retracting the story, something that is pretty extraordinary for any journalistic enterprise. So the public radio bashes should get down off their high horses and take notes. This is NOT how Rush Limbaugh, or Fox News handles a factual error, so any comparisons completely devoid of merit. Hell, Rush never even fessed up to the numerous falsehoods in his anti-Fluke campaign, he only apologized for using the wrong words to spread his lies.

  32. Actually, the relationship between member stations and NPR is probably more reciprocal than I let on, since members frequently contribute reporting to NPR News, but the point is that NPR is not equivalent to APM or PRI.

  33. […] Mike Daisey’s gnadenlos übertriebene und zu großen Teilen erfundene Reportage erregte das Misstrauen seriöser westlicher Journalisten, wie dem Marketplace-Reporter Rob Schmitz vor Ort in China, welche die Behauptungen nachrecherchierten und schließlich den Sender “This American Life” warnten. Die chinesische Übersetzerin von “Reporter” Mike Deisey konnte viele seiner aufgestellten Behauptungen und Beobachtungen nicht bestätigen, in einem Folgegespräch mit den verantwortlichen des Senders gestand er dann schließlich auch einige “Ungenauigkeiten”, Übertreibungen und “Interpretationen” ein. […]

  34. Also the fact that many others also missed, Mike Dasey did NOT only lie in This American Life broadcast.

    As Ira Glass and Rob Schmitz pointed out Mike Dasey also appeared in many other news outlet presenting his lies as facts. Hence promoting his theater show as veritable truth in a journalistic setting.

    Given that, I do think Dasey’s theater performances should be canceled. If Dasey had limited the subject matter within the premise as a work of fiction for the theater then it would not be that much a problem.

  35. Why would anyone pay to see this morbidly obese dorkus, drenched in flopsweat, ranting about crap? Here’s a more entertaining evening at the theater: put Daisy and Limbaugh in a 10 x 10-foot pit and see who eats whom.

  36. Hasn’t this lying sack of shit had far more than his fifteen minutes? He lied, he got busted, let him be forgotten as he deserves.

  37. […] “This American Life” has retracted a much-discussed news segment about the horrors of Apple’s Shenzhen, China workplace after discovering it was faked; Mike Daisey’s report contained “numerous fabrications,” it says. For more on how readiness to believe the worst about big business can leave media open to being fooled by manipulative packagers of news, see the GM trucks episode, Food Lion, and a great many others. [Ira Glass, Jack Shafer, Edward Champion] […]

  38. Let’s see if I have it right: This scumbag tells lies as a means of conveying “truth.” Isn’t that something like screwing to preserve virginity?

  39. […] of the article.” The Chicago Theater has cancelled a Daisey performance and Edward Champion rounded up more responses from theaters around the country and printed a transcript of Daisey’s new prologue for the […]

  40. “Artistic license” does not excuse baldface lies told to journalists . Daisey is not stupid. He knew that what might be acceptable in the theater was not acceptable when talking to This American Life, CBS Sunday Morning, Cnet, HBO, etc. At some point you cross the line from “inspired by true events” territory into straight up slander.

  41. I would like to know what Mr. Daisey would say if an audience member (before this exposure) had come up to him after a seeing his performance and announced himself so enraged at the destruction of the described worker’s hand by Apple’s production processes, that he was going to go find an Apple executive and take his hand and crush it with a brick!

    Would Mr. Daisey say, “No, stop, don’t do that. Don’t answer violence with violence.” Or something like that.

    And then what if the audience member said, “Enough of that! That Apple executive should pay — with his own hand! I will not stop!”

    Would Mr. Daisey then say, “Can I make you stop if I told you the truth? It’s a lie. I never saw a man who’s hand was destroyed in an Apple factory. I made it up.”

    Or would he just think to himself, “Well, this dumb guy doesn’t understand the difference between theater and journalism. La de da. Not my problem.”

  42. Goes to show it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Daisy says it very, very well. And so did Oliver North…

  43. Leftists like this guy dont care about actual facts and truth, or recounting his own experience truthfully. What matters is the narrative, and the underlying truth, whatever that is. One reason why they do this is because they often get away with it, since the press rarely questions their stories in detail. The right will not do this very often, because they know the press will tear them to shreds. The only way leftists like this ever get found out is if their story gets big enough, and has enough bite, that a conservative reporter will try and verify their story.

  44. Anyone who has read Daisey’s 21 Dog Years, his memoir about his time at Amazon.com should be not at all surprised by this latest turn of events. His creepy and thoroughly self-interested way of dealing with customers and co-workers and his unsavory obsession with Jeff Bezos makes his Apple/Jobs presentation of truthiness seem organic to the Daisey brand. Taking the longer view though, this is perhaps one of the best examples yet of the difficulty of properly filtering the great amount of information that Gen X has inherited as the first Internet generation. Online it seems with enough respectable looking links and a few attention getting facts in a story anyone can pass himself off as a journalist. In real life it seems audiences — and apparently some editors — are not particularly mindful that what the story providers are, i.e., the thing they have presented themselves as for a period of time, has nothing to do with journalism or truth.

    From an Amazon review of Daisey’s book: “To really understand this book you need to do continual translation. A desperate lateral move, under threat of termination for slacking off, was apparently a ‘promotion’. Getting caught lying about goofing off gets recast as a clever ruse to get ahead. A department name (‘Business Development’) does false double duty as a job description, when in fact the poor schlub did nothing but customer service email for every day of his 21 tortured dog-years. Who but an overheated venture capitalist would buy this package? Calling a chronic underperformer an insightful social historian doesn’t make it true.”

    If Ira Glass had done even the slightest background check on Daisey he would have become aware of his proclivities. A holier-than-thou pose is not one Mr. Glass should presume to maintain, IMHO. He invited a known fabricator — although this fact was apparently lost on Glass — onto TAL. What might one have expected Daisey to do but bring his made up stuff to the show?

  45. […] The list of Daisey’s lies is pretty impressive, but Daisey is stand by the old “fake but […]

  46. […] scandal apparently hasn’t done much damage to Daisey’s career. No theaters have cancelled their scheduled performances of “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” and Daisey has added a new prologue to address his […]

  47. […] against the peti­tion). The­aters are not can­cel­ing Daisey’s future shows and are refus­ing refunds for past show­ings. Gru­ber, in an episode of his pod­cast The Talk Show, attrib­utes this to […]

  48. […] piece that came out of a monologue he’d been performing since 2010. After that, the hits kept coming and coming, rendering Daisey’s credibility pretty much nonexistent — and leaving many […]

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