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?”


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Comments

John March 17, 2012

Daisey DID lie. They asked him which factory workers he talked to about the chemical. Rather than say “I incorporated that from news I read” he said “Oh, that wasn’t at Foxconn, it was at ______”

That is lying. He prevented them from talking to his interpreter, he told them her name was Ann instead of Kathy to try and throw them off the trail. Luckily he actually called her Kathy in the show, and so when they tried to find her under that name, they were able.

This isn’t a case of lying by omission, or, “Oh, you never asked.” They asked him things point blank which he ipso facto lied about.

Who gets to talk to Ira Glass on the radio? He did it himself, admitting that they screwed up. What more do you want? It isn’t as if someone else came forward with the truth, they did it themselves when they found out.

This post is rubbish. I’m sure you will delete this comment, but I only care that you read it because everyone else will come to the same conclusion themselves.

Vanadia March 17, 2012

This post is not rubbish. Neither is your comment, John.

Daisey didn’t lie by omission but Glass did by putting Daisey’s performance on his trusted news entertainment show without first verifying if the “facts” in Daisey’s piece were accurate—beyond asking the actor, “Is this theatrical work of art really true?”

TAL should know better. Apple is a huge corporation and Glass was putting his show, his reputation, and the radio station on the line by broadcasting Daisey’s story. He admitted his mistake but then he went on to interrogate and reproach Daisey on the air. That was way too much. Daisey could have done that for himself, like Glass did.

jr March 18, 2012

Buck up IRA.
You trusted this asshole.
He f’d you.
We love you man.
Stiff upper lip!
Better things to come.
And this too shall come to pass.

Tim March 22, 2012

I’m hoping that Marketplace could fact check some of David Sedaris’ stories on TAL. Did Sedaris really say those things to those people that one time?

Tim March 23, 2012

Turns out, Sedaris has been fact-checked before. Guess what? Those Santaland Diairies… he may have been embellishing the truth!
http://www.tnr.com/article/amer ican-lie-midget-guitar-teacher-macys -elf-and-thetruth-about-david-sedari s

jr March 24, 2012

Think the Ipad is the only thing you use that’s made in china?  You think the phone you use or the screen you watch or the car you drive is made in china?  You think any other product you use is manufactured differently?  How about your sneakers?  An now this whole thing has you wondering about the santa land diaires?  It doesn’t take an actor to know china’s workers don’t have the rights that we have.  Its in the newspaper.


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