Why Mike Daisey Lied About Foxconn

Mike Daisey lied in public radio program This American Life. He basically made up a lot of stuff about Foxconn. This American Life had to retract the whole thing, but Mike says his lies were all for a good cause.

...everything I have done in making this monologue for the theatre has been toward that end — to make people care. I'm not going to say that I didn't take a few shortcuts in my passion to be heard. But I stand behind the work.

My mistake, the mistake that I truly regret is that I had it on your show as journalism and it's not journalism. It's theatre. I use the tools of theatre and memoir to achieve its dramatic arc and of that arc and of that work I am very proud because I think it made you care, Ira, and I think it made you want to delve. And my hope is that it makes — has made — other people delve.

Well, Mike, I understand your frustration with people not paying attention, but if you lie to them, then they are not going to trust anything you say. Ever. In fact, you achieve exactly the opposite effect: you end up working against the story you are trying to call attention to. Your lies only add confusion and destroy the credibility of your cause. [Retraction transcript in PDF]

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