Friday, July 24, 2009
NHK deceives and is deceived in turn
It is 9:41 in the Immense City. Somewhere in NHK studios in Shibuya, a tv news producer is being strangled.
NHK evening news just broadcast an extremely slanted segment reporting on the first public testimony of Ambassador-elect John Roos. In order to belittle the appointee, the segment described him as a "mergers & acquisitions lawyer" and "the man who is said to have collected the most checks for the Obama campaign." Of course, "he lacks knowledge about Japan."
The segment then shifted to a May White House press conference, where an NHK correspondent with poor pronunciation and atrocious syntax whines out an incoherent question about the nomination of Roos to be Ambassador. White Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, struggling make head or tails of the question, asks "The nomination of who?"
"Aha," the NHK report concludes -- "not even the White House Press Secretary knows who this purported friend of Barack Obama is."
Ridiculous. Gibbs just could not understand the correspondent's English.
Then the "the good old days segment" began -- the images of way back when -- when men were men, women were women, geisha were geisha and Ambassadors to Japan were either Japan hands, big political wheels or both.
Cue the reels of Ambassador Reischauer telling his hosts in Japanese, "My wife and I were both born in Tokyo, so for us this a coming home." Skip, inexplicably over Mike Mansfield. Go straight to "Jimmy Carter's Vice President and former Presidential candidate Ambassador Mondale", proceed to George Herbert Walker's close confidante Ambassador Baker...and stop right there.
Because the historical footage of "Ambassador Baker" -- one of these instantly recognizable figures completely unlike the annonymous Roos -- was not Senator Howard Baker -- who with his spouse former Senator Nancy Kassebaum actually did reside in the Akasaka residence-- but former Secretary of the Treasury James Baker, who has never spent more than a few days in Japan.
So much for "famous and recognizable" thesis behind the report...and yes, they showed James-not-Howard Baker footage not only in the middle of the report but in the wrapup.
Rest easy Ambassador Roos. Your detractors have just shot themselves in the foot.