How do you make people care?

After listening to the TAL podcast that retracted “Mr. Daisey and Apple” the one line that stuck with me was when Mike Daisey said, “I wanted to make a monologue that would make people care.” Well, Mike Daisey certainly made people care. He made people care about the ethicality and truthfulness behind a story. So, how did he do this? It all began with him making a very compelling story to the American public through discussing the poor working conditions of employees at Foxconn. Due to this story and its publicity, Daisey became one of the most well known people to advocate against Apple. Even though his story was compelling at first, the public discovered that Mike Daisey fabricated a good amount of information about his trip to Foxconn in Shenzhen. Kathy, the translator whom he worked with abroad, refuted a lot of the information he provided about the working conditions in Apple manufacturing plants. Thus, leading to an uproar from the public and from TAL. The public wanted to hear the truth about Foxconn and Daisey did not provide this. His credibility was ruined because he was unethical and lied about the situation abroad.


Even though the fabricated information led Mike Daisey to face multiple repercussions, I believe he achieved his goal. Mike Daisey ultimately wanted the public to acknowledge that there are some poor working conditions in factories abroad. He made people talk about certain issues, but nothing really changed abroad. In the retraction podcast, TAL discussed the issues with factories abroad that are “fit to print.” In 2005, a supplier code of conduct was passed in hopes that the conditions abroad would change. In 2007, 50% of factories were discovered to be violating this code. There have been isolated incidents where explosions have occurred due to an abundance of dust within the factory. These incidents killed four people and injured 77 others. Employees were found in small rooms housing 12-20 people per dorm. Thus, the living and working conditions need to be improved.


So, how do we make people care? How do we make people care about where their products and services are coming from? How do we show people that there needs to be a change in regards to the poor conditions of factories abroad?


Featured Picture Courtesy of The Atlantic. The image can be found at

5 thoughts on “How do you make people care?”

  1. While I do not agree that Daisey’s monologue can be classified as unethical, I wonder where you think Ira Glass and TAL fall in the spectrum of ethical behavior. Cathy’s interview was also used in the Bucknell Forum performance of “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs.” In this piece, her interview in the retraction was used to establish that there were inaccuracies between Daisey’s monologue and reality, but even Cathy says that “he is not a journalist.” Daisey’s credibility and the journalistic expectation of his performance stem from Glass and TAL’s endorsement. Do you think that Glass and TAL are complicit?

    As far as getting people to care, I think it is necessary to give people a story that they can align themselves with. If this story is true or even based on a true story, it has significantly greater strength. While I think that Daisey’s monologue had the opportunity to inspire this concern, I do think that the whiplash of the retraction could damage this sentiment. I think to genuinely provoke a response there would need to be some intensive investigative journalism, along the lines of The Jungle. What are your thoughts?


  2. In some situations it is okay to lie, however, I do not believe Mike’s entire monologue was ethical. Mike went on a public radio and lied to interviewers not just once, but two times. The second time he appeared he would not admit that he lied about various parts of his piece. I understand the difference between journalism and theater, but his monologue should have been adjusted for the public radio podcast. I think he could have featured two versions of his story. One that was for theater and another that was to be featured on the radio.


  3. Ashley, understanding how to make people care about the working conditions in China and where their products come from is a hard question to tackle. But I think a lot of it has to come with education and self-awareness for an individual. I think art like Mike Daisey’s monologue is one way of informing the general public about these problems, even if he lied about some parts. Daisey’s method worked in getting people more interested and wanting to be involved with the need for change. Once people start to care more about these issues, they will be more aware about the products they purchase and where the products/services come from. Yes, we can get people interested and passionate about these issues, but I think at the same time individuals have their own reasonability to uphold what they believe in and not just push these issues aside the next day.


  4. It’s interesting that you pose the question: How do you make people care? I think you make people care by relating the issues to them personally and Mike Daisy has certainly done this. I agree with your questioning his ethical decisions behind the process. He certainly achieved his goals at bringing attention to the issue and getting a conversation started around supply chains management but at what cost?


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