Truth or Truthiness, Part IV

Do people who write non-fiction essays or memoirs, or who are oral storytellers, have the duty to report things accurately?

And where does the line lie? Or where do lies begin?

Everyone knows that fishing stories are often tall tales. But what about an episode of This American Life? This American Life has retracted an episode about Apple factories in China featuring storyteller Mike Daisey..

Turns out some of the most sensational aspects of his story were made up.

From The Business Insider:
"I'm not going to say that I didn't take a few shortcuts in my passion to be heard," Daisey tells Schmitz and Glass. "My mistake, the mistake I truly regret, is that I had it on your show as journalism, and it's not journalism. It's theater."

Daisey's interpreter Cathy also disputes two of the most dramatic moments in Daisey's story: that he met underage workers at Foxconn, and that a man with a mangled hand was injured at Foxconn making iPads (and that Daisey's iPad was the first one he ever saw in operation). Daisey says in his monologue:

He's never actually seen one on, this thing that took his hand. I turn it on, unlock the screen, and pass it to him. He takes it. The icons flare into view, and he strokes the screen with his ruined hand, and the icons slide back and forth. And he says something to Cathy, and Cathy says, "he says it's a kind of magic."

Cathy Lee tells Schmitz that nothing of the sort occurred.




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