Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Miscontented

What should I make of the Sankei Shimbun's reporting on the disappointment felt by some members of the ruling coalition at the cancellation of the January cabinet reshuffle?

Should I consider the article backfill for the huge hole the paper (all the papers, really) dug for itself in publishing the reshuffle rumor? Or is the paper properly serving as a forum for a slowly accreting coalition of forces on the left and the right that shall irrupt from a subterranean lair and strike Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo down?

The packaging is suspicious.

First there's the title of the article. In the online version, the message is rather simple:

内閣改造見送り 与党内に失望の声
"The postponement of the Cabinet reshuffle: Inside the ruling parties, disappointed voices"
But the title does not reflect the content, in the sense that nothing is conveyed about the latter half of the article. For a more accurate description one has to turn to the print version of the article--wherein the reader is treated to an at once more precise and yet less definitive message:

"Factions that supported Fukuda are disappointed / Taking solace in 'the avoidance of confusion'"
Though better, the title is still misleading. Yes, we find out that in half of the article--the latter half, for some reason--some folks feel pleasure at the Prime Minister's decision rather than being bummed by it. But why is there the precision of "Fukuda support faction(s)" (plural or singular is unclear) as the bummed out parties? Since almost everyone speaks anonymously, how are we to know whether or not these malcontents ever supported Fukuda in the first place? The only purported disappointed supporter named is Yamasaki Taku...and his complaint not only damn near wistful (to be fair, almost everything Yamasaki Taku says nowadays is damn near wistful) but it sure sound like he he does not see himself as a core Fukuda faction supporter:

"(The postponement of the reshuffle) feels strange. There is not much one really can say from the outside, but will they be able to make through the whole of the regular Diet session without a cabinet reshuffle...?"
Far be it from me to cast aspersions, but methinks the Sankei Shimbun's editors, rather than revealing a growing sense of hopeless in the Fukuda camp, are instead revealing their exasperation with Fukuda.


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