Did Mike Daisey Lie?

Les Nessman and Johnny Fever in the studio
Ira Glass posing with Johnny Fever.

No.  I don’t believe he did.

Did Blood Diamond lie? Does that fact that it’s fiction make it any less true?

Daisey’s theatrical performances are precisely that, but that doesn’t make the issues he raises any less valid.  He’s a performance artist, not a journalist.  Remember when Bailey got in trouble on that episode of WKRP In Cincinnati for reading that story about the butterfly on-air?  Les Nessman was all beside himself because the story wasn’t true.  But it wasn’t a story, was it? It was a poem.  And poems can be true without being true.  Stories can be true even if they’re not.

If Daisey presented everything in his production as factual down to the last detail, I’d probably take a different position on this.  But he is an artist, and artists need to be able to render the truth via facsimile and proximity.  And that’s for the sake of the truth and all with ears to hear it.   There may never have been a Prodigal Son, but that story’s still true, isn’t it?

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