Last updated: April 4, 2012 - 10:23pm
[Commentary] A couple of months ago, the wildly popular public radio program “This American Life” aired a show that detailed the work of a performer named Mike Daisey. Daisey had been performing a one-man show in theaters called “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” which detailed his obsession with Apple products and concerns over the way in which those products get made. It turns out there was just one problem: Mike Daisey was lying.
No, he didn’t lie about all of it. The lies were so clear and so egregious that after learning the truth, “This American Life” issued a retraction of its report by way of a new show — a show in which host Ira Glass confronted Daisey over the deception. It’s an uncomfortable listen. As Daisey is called out by Glass, you can hear the hesitation, the panic, and the fear in his voice. He doesn’t offer much in the way of excuses. The main point he drives home is that he felt it was necessary to embellish his story in order to retain the “truth” of the message of his show. He lied to tell the truth, basically. In some immediate way, this defense rings true. He leaned into his lies to sell tickets to a show, to get on network TV, to make money and get famous. But along the way — either on purpose or by accident — he opened a lot of eyes.
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