How Ira Glass Royally Screwed Mike Daisey
Story in a Nutshell
Ira Glass (Journalist) brought Mike Daisey (Theater Performer) on his national radio show to perform an adaptation of Theater Performer’s original monologue. Theater Performer tells stories that make Apple (Mega Company) look bad. Journalist gets mad at Theater Performer for taking true elements from various stories and weaving them into his storytelling—as he’s been doing professionally for the past several years (and is the reason Theater Performer was invited onto the radio show in the first place). Journalist then calls Theater Performer a liar and retracts the episode (possibly saving radio show from Mega law suit).
When it comes to telling a story that inspires people to take responsibility, Ira Glass could learn a lesson or two from Mike Daisey.
I saw Mike Daisey’s The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs (about Apple’s factory working conditions in China) at the 2010 Time Based Art Festival here in Portland, Oregon. As a result of his emotionally powerful storytelling, I have yet to buy an iPhone.
Recently Mike Daisey performed some of his monologue on the This American Life radio show. Then, ‘This American Life’ retracted the Mike Daisey episode because they found out after the fact that Daisey’s storytelling was not up to their “journalistic standards.”
This American Life then had Daisey back on the show to berate him and discredit him for their mistake! It’s not Daisey’s responsibility to tell Glass that his story shouldn’t be on This American Life. It’s Ira Glass’s responsibility as a journalist to properly fact check before he brings a theater professional on his show and calls it journalism. This American Life failed to do their due diligence and they’re covering their own asses by portraying Mike Daisey as a liar.
Who now gets to bring Ira Glass on the air for an hour to publicly ask him, “What were you thinking? Do you just put people on the air without fact checking first? How many other half-truths have you broadcast? Are you worried that Apple might sue you?”
It’s not wrong for a theater performer to take facts or fiction and weave them into a monologue. Mike Daisey’s live show is powerful. He gets the audience to realize and to care that it’s our money driving the slave labor in China. Meanwhile, after hearing confirmation about factory explosions and employees being forced to work two 12-hour shifts in a row, Ira Glass asked, “Should I feel bad?”