No, Mike Daisey's Apple Lies Were Not OK

David Carr ties retracted story to 'propaganda'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2012 12:11 PM CDT
No, Mike Daisey's Apple Lies Were Not OK
Mike Daisey.   (AP Photo/Public Theater Press Office, Joan Marcus)

(Newser) – After fabrications emerged in his This American Life story on Apple, Mike Daisey has defended himself by suggesting that his material was theater, not journalism. Host Ira Glass doesn't agree—and neither does David Carr. "Is it OK to lie on the way to telling a greater truth?" Carr asks in the New York Times. "The short answer is also the right one. No." Many of the story's most compelling moments were made-up, from a disabled worker's wonder at the iPad that took his hands to a 13-year-old girl working at Foxconn.

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What's disturbing here is "the suggestion that you have to cheat to come up with remarkable journalism that tilts the rink," writes Carr. In an era when everyone with a smartphone can contribute to journalism, it may be unrealistic to believe journalism can be "left to professionals," Carr notes. Yet after Daisey's story and reports of "cutting corners" in the viral "Kony 2012," it's important to remember: "There is another word for news and information that comes from advocates with a vested interest: propaganda." Click through for Carr's full column; Daisey's reaction to TAL's retraction is here, and he's not super happy with it. (Read more Mike Daisey stories.)

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