In our daily lives we watch a different variety of movies, TV shows etc., and if we believed in everything we watch, then our lives would be full of drama and problems. Yes, sometimes the movies or shows we watch affect us deeply, and we have a strong emotional reaction to them, but we usually don’t devastate ourselves over them, since we have the ability to distinguish between what is real and what is not. Mike Daisey’s show is a form of entertainment, and even if he is very successful in fabricating his story, and making the audience believe it is real, at the end of the day his end goal is to entertain his audience, therefore its acceptable for him to use exaggerations to make his audience laugh. In the case of the Apple story however, his primary purpose is to make people aware of the labor conditions in China, and he does a good job in doing so.
What if every entertainment piece we watched was advertised as being NOT based on a true story? Would we still want to go see all those movies, even though we know that the events that are going to be presented in the movie never really happened to someone? In real life, the trend is the reverse. The movies that are actually based on a real story are advertised as: BASED ON A TRUE STORY and that intrigues us, because we know that we can relate to it more since whatever is going to happen in the movie has already happened in real life, and has a possibility of happening to us. All of these movies, whether fictional or based on a true story serve a greater purpose besides solely entertaining the audience. Movies teach us lessons. Even if we know that a movie is not based on a real story, it can teach us great things about what to do and what to avoid in real life, and they raise awareness in that sense.
Mike Daisey is a writer. He is not a journalist. He is both trying to entertain people and at the same time also trying to raise awareness for the poor working conditions in China. Ira Glass suggested to Mike Daisey, that when he was going around participating in shows and telling his “story” he should have disclaimed it from the beginning that his “story” is not real. Would this have the same effect on people? Would there still be thousands of downloads of his shows if he started the show as saying “What I’m about to tell you is NOT based on a true story and is purely fictional”? Would people still listen? Yes, he crossed the line when he didn’t tell Ira Glass and TAL that his story was not real, because in this situation a lot more people were involved than just Mike Daisey itself, and I find it wrong that he told his fabricated story in a show where the value of objectivity and the truth is held high. I think that he could have found more alternative ways of distributing his story, for the purpose of raising awareness, without damaging the integrity of TAL and other people who were involved in the process.