Tag Archives: China

Just Think About It! Utilitarian Ethics Behind Nike’s Questionable Corporate Comeback


The Facts

Just Sew It! Oops… I mean Do It! This Nike phrase along with their iconic swoosh logo is recognizable all over the world. In the past ten years, their stock price has risen 124%.[1] They earned the number one spot in the apparel and accessories sector in performance rankings. In 2013, Nike placed 22nd in CR Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens list, which recognizes elite performance of US public companies and was simultaneously named America’s Most Innovative Company.[2] Yet they’ve also faced vicious criticism since the 1980s about horrific sweatshop conditions in their supply chain in addition to abuse and violation of factory workers’ rights. When the criticism started getting heavier and heavier, with increased public outcry, Nike launched a campaign to reverse their image and fix this flaw. This was the start of an incredible comeback for a company that had college campuses protesting across the country. But despite their comeback, the same allegations kept coming up. How does it make sense that Nike was able to turn itself around? Continue reading Just Think About It! Utilitarian Ethics Behind Nike’s Questionable Corporate Comeback

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Blog Council 1


This week’s blog council consisted of Jordi Comas, Luke Vreeland, and Will Owens. We really enjoyed going through everyone’s posts and comments and we hope you like our theme change. Before announcing what we thought were some of the best posts, we thought it could be helpful to give some general feedback:

  • Titles
    • Should be informative but still hook the reader
      • Controversial
      • Clever
      • Wordplay
      • Quote
    • Tying the title back into the end of the blog can be a very effective literary technique
  • Comments
    • Good job getting to the point
    • Comments can be broken up into smaller comments if they are distinct points
  • Proofreading
    • Proofread your posts before submitting!
    • Example: This American Life should be in italics

 

Everyone did a great job, but here are a few posts that we thought stood out:

Best Title:

Best Overall:

Honorable Mentions:

Featured Picture: Mike Daisey 

Sacred Trust


I found the “Retraction” podcast very interesting for a few reasons. First, I found it strange that This American Life would spend an entire hour framing Mike Daisey as a liar. To me, it was somewhat unprofessional to use him as a scapegoat in this way, rather than to use the work they had paid for and broadcasted in a positive way. By this I mean that instead of bashing his claims, simply clarify that what was said was an act of fiction BASED on true events than an act of journalism. While in some parts they did just that, I think the overall tone of their podcast was meant to shame Mike Daisey, rather than clarify a confusing situation.

That said, I feel that there was absolutely fault on both sides. On one hand, Mike Daisey should never have positioned his story as journalism due to his lack of proof and frequent use of exaggeration. Continue reading Sacred Trust

Journalism vs. Art- Crossing the Blurred Line


Mike Daisey is an American author and actor, most famous for his monologue “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”. This American Life host Ira Glass has now produced two episodes on the subject, the first containing Daisey’s monologue, and the second retroactively exposing the inaccuracies of the first. Glass apologized for endorsing and reporting Daisey’s embellished story, explaining that journalists have an obligation to report facts- something Daisey’s story was apparently lacking. Daisey agreed that misleading the public is wrong, but argued that his monologue was art, not journalism. His goal was to make people passionate about the very real labor problems going on in China, and he thought that would be better accomplished by reporting what had been happening, even if he hadn’t seen it himself.

I don’t have an issue with Mike Daisey’s “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” monologue. Although the story is routinely embellished, if not completely made up, it accomplished its goal- to get the public thinking. As social commentary, the monologue is great. My problem with it arises from Daisey marketing his piece as journalism, a view that Glass shares. Art and journalism are two completely different beasts and should be acknowledged as such. A journalist should report the facts. Ideally, they would be free from biases and focus on informing the public as accurately as possible. Art, on the other hand, is much more open to interpretation. There is no “wrong” art in the same way that a journalist could be wrong. Art is used to express feelings and emotion, something Daisey did quite well. However, when he went on This American Life and discussed his “experiences” as “fact”, Daisey attempted to blur the line between art and journalism- without the public’s knowledge.

While I disagree with Daisey’s conduct ethically, and logically comply with the idea that journalism and art are different, I cannot refute that there is art in journalism. In describing the epitome of a journalist earlier, I used the key word “ideally”. In reality, and in concurrence with the technological boom of the past two decades, journalism has devolved into a competition to see who can create the most eye-catching headlines or tell the people what they want to hear. Generally speaking, I think mass media still has the ability to be a trusted news source, but it is not currently the case because of the merger between art and journalism. Daisey gives a perfect example of this mentality. There is truth in what he had to say, but he felt the need to dramatize it to increase public reception. In doing this, Daisey created a moving piece of art, but not a piece of journalism.

Daisey’s Failed Shot at Redemption


After listening to This American Life’s Retraction episode, I was still severely unsatisfied with Mike Daisey’s justification. After all, Ira Glass and the TAL staff made it abundantly clear to him the purpose of their show, and that everything he said “must live up to journalistic standards.” Yet through his own twisted moral compass and complete disregard for integrity Daisey chose to lie to millions of people anyway. Last week, I claimed that Mike Daisey did more harm that good to his cause by lying about what he saw at Foxconn. He discredited himself and everything he was trying to raise awareness about. I also could not bring myself to blame Apple or hold anything against them for the alleged conditions at some of their suppliers. This week, not only do I stand by both of these statements but the Retraction episode only strengthens by belief in them.  Continue reading Daisey’s Failed Shot at Redemption

This is NOT Based on a True Story


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. Continue reading This is NOT Based on a True Story

One Big Mess


The retraction episode of This American Life slightly angered me. I felt uncomfortable as I listened to Ira Glass and Rob Schmitz tear apart Mike Daisey’s story and constantly apologize to their viewers for their failure at fact checking Mike Daisey’s story. In my blog post on This American Life’s “Mr. Daisey and Apple” I wrote that Mike Daisey should have been up front about the parts of his story that were misrepresented. However, I saw the reasons for why he chose to incorporate some details into his story that he had not personally experienced. Mike Daisey is a writer and actor and his purpose is to tell a story and make people care. In this task, he greatly succeeded.

Continue reading One Big Mess

Making People Care


I knew the This American Life retraction would expose some over-exaggerations Mike Daisy had made, but I was not prepared for the extent to which his story was hyperbolized. He conducted far fewer interviews than he claimed, Foxconn was much more approachable and accommodating to visitors, all meetings were set up in advance, underage workers were not commonplace, and n-hexane was not a concern. In addition, Mike did not experience dorm room conditions and likely did not talk to a man with a mangled hand.

I felt much less sympathy, and almost uncaring, towards the Foxconn workers, writing off their true working conditions as not very dire, especially compared to how their conditions were originally portrayed. So, that being said, I agree with Mike Daisy when he argues his story would have had much less impact if it was not told entirely from the first person and embellished the way it was. Continue reading Making People Care

Painting A Picture: Art, Journalism, & Truth


Listening to the retraction from This American Life, I was annoyed as I listened to Mike Daisy squirm under the questions of Rob Schmitz and Ira Glass. It was as if a child was caught stealing from a cookie jar and was trying to justify why he still deserved the cookie, or why his work should still be deemed credible. He was clearly uncomfortable during both interviews and rightfully so in my opinion. Daisy’s believes his lies are the truth and that it’s okay because his show was about making people care. This irritated me. Lies are lies and they should not be displayed to others as the truth. Continue reading Painting A Picture: Art, Journalism, & Truth

China Working Conditions Podcast


After listening to the podcast by NPR, I was surprised and somewhat appalled by the conditions Chinese workers manufacture technology products in. Though the speaker, Mike Daisey, certainly had a bias, the working environment and dormitories sound challenging and detrimental to living a happy life. During the speaking portion, where Daisey talks about his findings during his visit to FoxConn, the fact I found most horrific was the installation of suicide nets. Though it seems the suicide rates at Foxconn are about the same as the suicide rate across all of China, it speaks to a serious problem that suicide nets needed to be installed. Continue reading China Working Conditions Podcast