The retraction of Mike Daisey’s story about the terrible conditions at the Foxconn plant shows the importance of fact-checking in the world of journalism. Daisey was able to manipulate his listeners into thinking that Apple was an evil company that forced its suppliers into terrible working conditions – or at least did nothing to stop them from occurring. Daisey exaggerated and even fabricated parts of his story to influence the opinions of his listeners to fit his impression of Foxconn and Apple. The graphic and descriptive nature of his story was so realistic that we all believed it to be true without looking at other sources to verify the facts behind his experiences.
While I am disappointed that Daisey’s story is fabricated, I cannot say that I am completely surprised. Some of his anecdotes appeared to be stretched to the point where they were hard to believe he accomplished in a few days time, such as talking to “hundreds of workers” outside of the Foxconn gates; however, we believed them because they were on the news and were told in a manner so descriptive that there was an impression that these anecdotes couldn’t possibly be fabricated. This retraction shows that we cannot always believe what we are told, even if it appears to come from a credible news source. Facts can be twisted, exaggerated, or in this case, fabricated, to present a particular view of the person presenting the information.
This retraction shows that it is important to look at multiple sources when forming an opinion. A simple Google search “Mike Daisey Foxconn” fills the first page with articles saying that the story was fabricated. I personally feel foolish that I did not look into this or other sources regarding the reporting of Daisey’s story, but it shows that myself and others are quick to believe what is told to us without consulting other sources to verify the merits of a particular story. This argument can be expanded to the news media that try to use facts in a certain context to spin news their way. Whatever the story, it is important to have the facts straight before forming an opinion.