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Fox Conned

Mike Daisey, Kony2012 and the ecstasy and the agony of infotainment.

Mar 20 2012, 12:00am

Steve Jobs didn’t see Mike Daisey’s one man show about the Apple boss and the ugly supply chain that makes his and everyone else’s gadgets. But Daisey claimed that Jobs told someone, that “Mike didn’t appreciate the complexity of the situation.” Daisey recounted Jobs’s response when we both appeared on the CBC recently to talk ethical gadgets, and he relished it, in part for the dramatic twist. Jobs was acknowledging, Daisey said, that there is a situation to begin with.

And it gets more complex. For the year and a half it traveled the country, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” was just that: a performance, delivered in a black box to audiences that included Steve Wozniak (who wept, Daisey said) and Ira Glass, who chose to air the piece on This American Life. Glass’s show is known for emotionally powerful non-fiction, split between monologue-y personal tales (“Break-Up”) and hard-hitting exposes (“The Giant Pool of Money”). The tricky space between those two kinds of formats is where Daisey’s partly fabricated story slipped in, and managed to slip past a fact-checking gauntlet. (See the case of Malcolm Gladwell, who also fibbed in a Moth monologue that was later broadcast on This American Life.) But in moving from small theaters to an audience of 1.8 million listeners, theatrical embellishment becomes journalistic sin.

Read the rest at Motherboard.