Comscore

The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING

Mister Matt Profile Photo
Mister Matt
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/03
For those who have seen or are planning to see The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at the Public Theatre, I just received this interesting email from WBEZ in Chicago:

Iím writing to tell you that tonight, This American Life and Marketplace will reveal that a story that we broadcast on This American Life this past January contained significant fabrications.

Weíre retracting that story because we canít vouch for its truth, and this weekend's episode of our show will detail the errors in the story, which was an excerpt of Mike Daisey's acclaimed one-man show, "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs." In it, Daisey tells how he visited a factory owned by Foxconn that manufactures iPhones and iPads in Shenzhen, China. He's performed the monologue in theaters around the country; it's currently at the Public Theater in New York.

When the original 39-minute excerpt was broadcast on This American Life, Marketplace China Correspondent Rob Schmitz wondered about its truth. He located and interviewed Daisey's Chinese interpreter Li Guifen (who goes by the name Cathy Lee professionally with westerners). She disputed much of what Daisey has been telling theater audiences since 2010 and much of what he said on the radio.

During fact checking before the broadcast of Daisey's story, I and This American Life producer Brian Reed asked Daisey for this interpreter's contact information, so we could confirm with her that Daisey actually witnessed what he claims. Daisey told us her real name was Anna, not Cathy as he says in his monologue, and he said that the cell phone number he had for her didn't work any more. He said he had no way to reach her.

At that point, we should've killed the story. But other things Daisey told us about Apple's operations in China checked out, and we saw no reason to doubt him. We didn't think that he was lying to us. That was a mistake.

Schmitz does a 20-minute story on our show this weekend about his findings, and we'll also broadcast an interview I did with Daisey. Marketplace will feature a shorter version of Schmitz's report earlier in the evening. You can read more details on our website, and listen to our show on WBEZ at 7 p.m. tonight, and noon tomorrow.

We've been planning a live presentation of Daisey's monologue on stage at the Chicago Theatre on April 7th, with me leading a Q&A afterwards. Maybe you've heard me advertising it on the air. That show will be cancelled and all tickets will be refunded.

I've never had to write an email like this. Like all our friends and colleagues in public radio, I and my co-workers at This American Life work hard every day to make sure that what you hear on WBEZ is factually correct. We will continue to do that, and hope you can forgive this.

Best,

Ira Glass


Just wanted to give a heads-up to anyone interested.
"What can you expect from a bunch of seitan worshippers?" - Reginald Tresilian
theatreguy Profile Photo
theatreguy
Broadway Legend
joined:7/31/03
Here's Daisey's statement:

"This American Life" has raised questions about the adaptation of AGONY/ECSTASY we created for their program. Here is my response:
I stand by my work. My show is a theatrical piece whose goal is to create a human connection between our gorgeous devices and the brutal circumstances from which they emerge. It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story, and I believe it does so with integrity. Certainly, the comprehensive investigations undertaken by The New York Times and a number of labor rights groups to document conditions in electronics manufacturing would seem to bear this out.
What I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism. For this reason, I regret that I allowed THIS AMERICAN LIFE to air an excerpt from my monologue. THIS AMERICAN LIFE is essentially a journalistic ≠- not a theatrical ≠- enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations. But this is my only regret. I am proud that my work seems to have sparked a growing storm of attention and concern over the often appalling conditions under which many of the high-tech products we love so much are assembled in China.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/this-american-life-retracts-its-damning-episode-about-apple-and-foxconn-2012-3#ixzz1pJ538tAW
FindingNamo Profile Photo
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
"It uses a combination of fact, memoir, and dramatic license to tell its story ..."

Does he mean it doesn't tell THE truth but A truth?

Too bad Oprah still isn't in Chicago.
'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
darquegk Profile Photo
darquegk
Broadway Legend
joined:2/5/09
This is the definition of "Truthiness" versus "truthfulness"
sweeneytodd2
Featured Actor
joined:10/28/04
Mike Daisey is one of the most self-righteous and hypocritical fellas I've ever spoken to. Don't expect any heart-felt apologies from him.
strummergirl Profile Photo
strummergirl
Broadway Legend
joined:12/8/09
There was always something a little 'off' about him talking about his subjects in his interviews. He never moved out of his play mode to just regular conversation mode. Extremely self-righteous, especially since he fudged the facts of an important story that is getting dragged down because of him.

Ira's planning on dedicating a whole episode of This American Life around the retraction.
PalJoey Profile Photo
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/16/12 at 10:09pm
Here's Ira's RETRACTION:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/460/retraction



What a shame. Mike Daisey is an egotistical A-hole.

yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
Updated On: 3/16/12 at 10:09 PM
FindingNamo Profile Photo
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 12:20am
"I trust nobody to seek a greater good with trivial lies, because I cannot trust myself to know the difference." Bob Garfield on Mike Daisey in The Guardian.

I hate these phoney baloneys. The Augusten Burroughses, the James Freys. The JT Leroy lady. Hate them.

But now that the lid is blown off Daisey's career... can we talk about his "wife"??? The existence of a wife? I mean, come on. Not for nothing, but not only does he credit her with being his director but also his "co-conspirator." Who the hell is she and what is she doing being his wife? If she really is...
'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
chrisampm2
Broadway Star
joined:5/26/07
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 01:06am
I don't condone Daisey's fabrications but they're very different from the faked intimate personal revelations of the others you cite. There are people with the problems Daisey cited (poisoned, maimed). He just didn't see them directly. Not good. But the problems at the factory are real.

As for using this to cast aspersions on his wife, whuh? Are you saying she's also to blame? And that the relationship is a sham? Why? Because he's overweight? Or does he seem like a closet case to you? If you're going to be scurrilous, you could at least be detailed. Just because the guy's shown himself to be less than decent shouldn't give you license to be the same.
FindingNamo Profile Photo
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 01:13am
I know, it's totally homophobic of me. But I'm not erasing it, because it's what I wrote. I just wonder how much we're supposed to collude with him, to go along with what he says?

He totally made up the man with the claw and the show's ending hinges on it like a magic cover on an iPad.

Phoney baloney.
'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
chrisampm2
Broadway Star
joined:5/26/07
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 01:23am
Your response proves why his stupid lies seem tragic to me. If the facts, outside his connection to them, weren't true, none of the changes that are being made would have happened. There's documentation for his charges against conditions at the factory. Daisey's been heroic here more than he's been diabolical. He's helped force Apple to take greater responsibility for the people who make the products we love. His lies have made it easier for other difficult truths to be ignored or dismissed. Once charges against the scientists who seemed to cook the statistics on global warming stuck, it made it easier for our country to discount evidence of a coming global catastrophe. But false in part, false in whole is the argument of holocaust survivors and we have to be vigilant against that. It makes it easy to keep your head in your iPad.
FindingNamo Profile Photo
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 01:30am
I'm actually not hung up on Daisey's concocted tagline about "the products we love." That's his fantasy. There are all sorts of chains I personally choose not to take part in, like the chain that kills animals for human consumption. It's a choice I make that's better for me and the planet. Daisey created people out of thin air with the goal of making people "care" about the story. Well, maybe there is no story if you can't get people to care about the real details.

Also, I HATE the Broadwayworld headline: "Good News For Apple Enthusiasts - Mike Daisey Admits THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF STEVE JOBS Proves 'Embellished'; Receives Backlash" Everything's a freaking football game in this country and there's two teams and only one winner.

It's really worth digging through recent history to see what Daisey had to say about James Frey's issues with truthiness.

'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
chrisampm2
Broadway Star
joined:5/26/07
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 01:35am
"Well, maybe there is no story if you can't get people to care about the real details."
Please explain. I hope you don't mean that the problems are probably not true if you can't get people to focus on them.

FindingNamo Profile Photo
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 01:43am
No, I don't. I'm just tired. I hate that Mike Daisey is yet another fabricator who calls up in me that profoundly American obsession to not ever be in a position to be fooled by somebody who would look you in the eye and assure you they're telling the truth. Must be because I came of age during Watergate.
'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
somethingwicked Profile Photo
somethingwicked
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/05
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 01:52am
Mike Daisey has every right for his piece to take dramatic license, since it is created for the theater, but what he conveniently leaves out in his statement is that he purposefully presented it as factual, both on the air in the segment aired by This American Life and off the air to Ira Glass. He admitted that he lied to try and sabotage their fact checking process, so why would he feel the need to do that if he's so confident in the style in which he's presented the information? Why not just be up front about that from the beginning and not after he was "caught"?

He's incredibly duplicitous, and while I think the attention brought to the very valid problem he discusses in the monologue is sorely needed, he's not entitled to be blatantly deceitful in how he goes about presenting that information. It undoes the good he is doing by getting the message out there in the first place.
Tonya Pinkins: Then we had a "Lot's Wife" last June that was my personal favorite. I'm still trying to get them to let me sing it at some performance where we get to sing an excerpt that's gone.
Tony Kushner: You can sing it at my funeral.
chrisampm2
Broadway Star
joined:5/26/07
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 01:58am
I feel your hate and came of age at the same time. Just seems to me the best response in all situations like this to try to avoid the easy emotions of betrayal and resentment et al and get to the teachable moment.

I don't give a flying f*** about Daisey. He pissed me off in performance. But I'm grateful he opened my eyes to what I do believe is a very real issue. We should know the working conditions under which our products are made. We can't do it with everything. But it's not that hard to try to hold companies accountable. Daisey helped make that happen with Apple - the richest company on the planet. That act alone is heroic even if he himself isn't.
Kad Profile Photo
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 02:02am
This will ultimately do a lot of harm to his credibility, and therefore his career. And it's a shame, because the issue is one that needs discussion... not just regarding Apple, but how so many of our products are made. The show affects a lot of audience members- its extension is a testament to its popularity (although sales have dropped in its final weeks). He's got a lot of gall, especially since his final segment is a self-aggrandizing martyr act about how he "keeps his head down and tells his story" and how Apple tried to smear him to inquiring reporters.

But Daisey is rather unpleasant person regardless, off stage.

And the BWW article title is likewise terrible. He may have embellished the monologue, but very many of the things he related ARE indeed true, in regards to the conditions. Those, at least, can be very easily fact-checked.
FindingNamo Profile Photo
FindingNamo
Broadway Legend
joined:7/22/03
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 02:05am
I dunno, maybe I just don't feel like my eyes were ever closed about the slave labor that makes most of the products for sale in this country. This was not news he uncovered. The stuff he DID uncover, turns out, was mostly fake.

I'm interested in the fact that this happens to be the show that helped Daisey increase HIS brand's reach and expanded his exposure to other suckers who would be taken in by his hucksterism and how he knew he was going to lose it all if anybody found his translator. So he continued to make an effort to NOT do the right thing, so that he could harangue audiences that THEY had to do the right thing.

It's a moot point, his career is over.
'First the Bastille than the butt plug.' -- M ______
chrisampm2
Broadway Star
joined:5/26/07
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 04:03am
The right thing here is pushing Apple and other US companies to monitor working conditions in the countries where their products are made. The show pushed the info that people like you may already have known onto front pages and airwaves and TV screens where Apple was forced to do something about it.

Daisey the brand and its downfall is of much less importance and I hope the news today doesn't distract of the message.
Borstalboy Profile Photo
Borstalboy
Broadway Legend
joined:2/9/04
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 01:21pm
The Public is backing up Daisey's lame "artist, not a journalist" stance.

Um...no, no, no, no, and NO.

If you are going to acknowlege that there are elements of memoir and elements of storytelling in Daisey's shows, you are also going to have to acknowlege that there is MORE THAN A LITTLE element of documentary in his work. And when you are playing in a documentary idiom, no matter how dabblingly, you have a responsibility to the truth.

Will this ruin his career? Tough telling...I doubt enough people truly care.
"It's now rather very common to hear people say 'I'm rather offended by that'. As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more than a whine. It has no meaning, no purpose. It has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that'. Well, so f**king what?"--Stephen Fry
Gypsy9 Profile Photo
Gypsy9
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/06
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 01:53pm
chrisampm2: You state in one of your posts in this thread, "But false in part, false in whole is the argument of holocaust survivors and we need to be vigilant against that."

I'm afraid I don't understand what you have written. Please explain.
"Madam Rose...and her daughter...Gypsy!"
somethingwicked Profile Photo
somethingwicked
Broadway Legend
joined:5/27/05
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 02:05pm
Listening to Ira Glass's follow-up piece with Daisey is almost painful. Glass calls him out on specific lie after specific lie, and Daisey concedes to some of them, dodges others, and just sits there in stunned silence saying this is "what he was always terrified would happen" if anyone got in touch with the interpreter to verify the story, which is why he said he lied about her name and contact information in order to sabotage NPR's fact checking process.

Martha Plimpton tweeted something that I think is really relevant to this discussion. She said, "Alls I'm saying is, art doesn't require falsehood. In fact, it depends upon perfect honesty. Art doesn't cover lies. It exposes them." Daisey may have been doing good by exposing things that needed exposing, but by blatantly lying and embellishing and completely making certain elements of the monologue up and peddling them off as fact, which he doesn't deny, he destroyed his credibility and what good he really did accomplish. Some of his factual research wasn't even accurate. It makes it look like he had to exaggerate the story to make it worthwhile, when he didn't have to do that at all.

The closest thing I can think of (albeit in a totally different context) is Sherie Rene Scott's EVERYDAY RAPTURE. She was playing a version of herself, but she was always very upfront about how the show combined elements of truth with exaggerated dramatization for theatrical effect. It didn't make the piece any less impactful, and it didn't make you feel any less connected to the humanity of it. Daisey should have been just as upfront about this piece. It wouldn't have lessened the message he was trying to get out there, but doing what he's done now has all but destroyed it.

It's very sad.
Tonya Pinkins: Then we had a "Lot's Wife" last June that was my personal favorite. I'm still trying to get them to let me sing it at some performance where we get to sing an excerpt that's gone.
Tony Kushner: You can sing it at my funeral.
Updated On: 3/17/12 at 02:05 PM
wonkit
Broadway Legend
joined:9/30/08
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 02:16pm
So the end justifies the means? If Apple needed to take corrective action, why lie about it? No one should be morally comfortable excusing intentional misleading disclosures in any context, theatrical or otherwise.
chrisampm2
Broadway Star
joined:5/26/07
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 03:36pm
Gypsy9, please excuse my late-night typo. My statement should have read: "false in part, false in whole is the argument of holocaust deniers."

Also, I hope I didn't come across as someone excusing intentional misleading disclosures. I'm trying to keep some focus on the object of the piece: revealing poor working conditions at factories where our beloved products are made. Daisey's downfall doesn't "erase the good he's done." Apple and Foxconn would not have agreed to make changes if conditions weren't appalling. I am not defending Daisey here. I am trying to acknowledge his stupid lies without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.


sweeneytodd2
Featured Actor
joined:10/28/04
The Agony and the Ecstasy of LYING
Posted: 3/17/12 at 03:37pm
Daisey's "it's theater" excuse is pitiful. There is no question he meant for his play, his television and radio appearances, and his editorials to be taken as fact. By not acknowledging this he is continuing to lie and do a disservice to a cause he claims to believe in.

1
Page:

 
Advertisement Advertisement