Mike Daisey

Mike Daisey wanted to bring attention to working conditions at manufacturing plants in China. The only problem is that some of his stories simply weren't true, and that distracted from a very real global issue.

Greg Sandoval/CNET

Mike Daisey was a complicated figure for the tech industry in 2012. On one hand, he forced us to pay attention to working conditions at the sprawling contracting manufacturing plants in China. On the other hand, he made stuff up, offering heartbreaking stories of suffering that simply weren't true.

Perhaps you can get away with embellishments in the theater, where Daisey makes a living, but his mistake was to air those same prevarications on respected radio show "This American Life." Daisey's reappearance on the show and his subsequent roasting by clearly peeved host Ira Glass was one of the most cringe-worthy moments of American media.

And there's this: Daisey's exaggerations were a disservice to the issue to which he was drawing attention, and forced real journalists to work twice as hard to convince their readers of their believability.

(Caption originally published in CNET's list of Tech Turkeys of 2012)

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