Monday, February 27, 2006

The Rules of Japanese News - an initial stab

The English language press has dutifully reported the immanence of an announcement of a pullout from Samawah, based on an article printed in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

True? False? Who knows?

It is time someone provides set of basic postulates for sifting through news stories coming out of Japan.

Here are a few of my candidates:

1) If a dubious-sounding story is printed in the Mainichi or the Yomiuri, it is the result of a misunderstanding. If it is printed in the Asahi, it is the result of a misconstrual. If it is in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, it is a lie.

2) If an exclusive interview produces a scoop for the Financial Times , the interviewee probably did not understand the question.

3) Public opinion is what Mino Monta says it is.

4) A political issue almost never works itself out the way Morita Minoru says it will.

5) Beware the Anonymice! If sources are called "important members of the Prime Minister's inner circle" they are persons to whom Prime Minister has not spoken in weeks. If they are called "sources close to the investigation" they are persons with offices in the same building as the investigators or the investigatees. If they are called "members of the executive committee" they are folks who have been hanging around in the hallway for two years.

6) If a Democratic Party member claims something is true on television, it is probably not true. When it is true, it was political suicide for him to have said it.

7) A person who says, "When I really want to know what is going on, I consult the weekly magazines" is--I will try to be nice here--insane.

8) Q -Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? A - Benjamin Fulford.

9) The best Sunday news roundup is the "news for children report" on the education channel. From all appearances, it is the only program with a bona fide research department. Seeing the camera crew in the final shot is a nice gesture, too.

10) Kitano Takeshi hosts the only news roundtable worth a damn. Discuss.

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