Mike Daisey speaks out against media in Apple controversy


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After four days of nonstop media coverage, Mike Daisey is still standing his ground and refusing to retreat. In fact, he is taking the counter-offensive, blasting the media for what he sees as their skewed obsession with him.

The New York theater performer became the center of a journalistic firestorm Friday when the public radio program ‘This American Life’ retracted a story that featured parts of Daisey’s solo stage show ‘The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,’ an exploration of Apple’s relationship with Chinese factory workers that recently ran at the Public Theater in New York.


‘This American Life’ retracted the story when it was discovered that certain episodes related in Daisey’s stage monologue were fabricated. Moreover, the show accused Daisey of lying to its staff when producers tried to fact-check parts of his account.

On Monday, Daisey criticized journalists on his personal blog, writing that they are losing sight of the real issue at hand. ‘Especially galling is how many are gleefully eager to dance on my grave expressly so they can return to ignoring everything about the circumstances under which their devices [Apple products] are made,’ he wrote.

‘There is nothing in this controversy that contests the facts in my work about the nature of Chinese manufacturing. Nothing.’ He also wrote in his blog that if journalists think that the story of the controversy over the radio program is larger than the story of mistreated Chinese workers, ‘something is wrong with your priorities.’

At the end of the post, Daisey reiterated his apology to radio listeners, but with a caveat. ‘I stand by that apology. But understand that if you felt something that connected you with where your devices come from -- that is not a lie. That is art,’ he wrote.

Daisey was at Georgetown University on Monday where he spoke to audiences about the recent controversy.

The Washington Post reported that Daisey expressed regret that the radio scandal has become a national obsession and has eclipsed the substance of his stage play. He also addressed specific accusations, like how he inflated the number of people he interviewed, saying that ‘numbers for me swell over time; I seem to multiply them by 2.2.’

According to the Post, Daisey’s Georgetown lecture was scheduled in November, and there was no discussion of canceling it in the wake of the controversy. Much of the audience gave Daisey a standing ovation.


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-- David Ng