This American Life has retracted its most popular story told by Mike Daisey about a factory plant in China. Details of the retraction can be found here.
Are we surprised that Mike Daisey’s story is fabricated? Not at all. For years, we have witnessed how “free media” have fabricated the stereotype pictures about other countries, such as China. In one of our past posts, we showed how a single photo of Chinese policemen had been used in many different “free media” reports about China. Fabrication, or not such rosy word, lie, is a routine in the “free media” reports about China.
Occasionally, such lies were caught. Ooooops. But these incidents have never become a serious issue to have true impact on the credibility of “free media”. Why? Imagining you run a front page story on your newspaper that is a lie, if several readers unfortunately know about the truth, what will happen? Their voice can never reach the same broad scope of people as your newspaper. Chance is, probably more than 99.99% of your readers will still believe in your story. In a worse case, even if the voice of truth was loud enough to become a concern, you just put your short apology in number 19 page of your newspaper with small font. We bet 99.99% of your readers will not notice your apology. Even if some did notice it, you have run hundreds to thousands of similar stories over the years but only a few were caught, these readers are most likely to think these lies being caught are just some rare mistakes compared to the vast majority of stories. Problem solved. Apparently, this has become a very successful strategy by the “free media” for years.