For his part, Daisey writes on his own blog:
I do is not journalism. The tools of the theater are not the same as the tools of journalism. For this reason, I regret that I allowed THIS AMERICAN LIFE to air an excerpt from my monologue. THIS AMERICAN LIFE is essentially a journalistic - not a theatrical - enterprise, and as such it operates under a different set of rules and expectations. But this is my only regret. I am proud that my work seems to have sparked a growing storm of attention and concern over the often appalling conditions under which many of the high-tech products we love so much are assembled in China.
Daisey may not himself “do” journalism. He has indeed won renown for ”The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” and, as Brian Stelter writes on the New York Times’ Media Decoder blog, the Public Theater in New York, where he has performed the show since last year, expressed support for him while noting that “we wish he had been more precise with us and our audiences about what was and wasn’t his personal experience.”
A January 26 article in the New York Times and reports by Tech Crunch‘s John Biggs have also described the harsh labor conditions in which Chinese workers make iPhones and iPads. These are not in dispute, but Daisey’s account on the TAL episode and the stories he tells in his own show are and very much so.
In the age of the Internet, when information from many sources can be so readily obtained — and when rumors and things that sound true but are not can spread swiftly and persist long after they have been proven false — the need for truth and accuracy in reporting, especially from such a well-regarded show as TAL, is more important than ever. Journalism is not storytelling, nor is it a theatrical production. Daisey’s theatrical excesses on TAL aside, the reality is that people in China do make shiny iPhones and iPads in conditions that most of us would refuse to tolerate and even consider inhumane. When speaking to thousands via the web about potential ethical violations involving a company as powerful as Apple, the demand for the truth and nothing but the truth is imperative — and that’s a fact.
Should Daisey apologize for his “significant fabrications”?
Would you still go to see “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”?
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