Meanwhile, From Japan . . .

by wjw on March 16, 2011

Meanwhile we have via Jeff Kooistra a complaint from Japan about the way foreign media is handling the earthquake story.

. . . Then my email started going crazy.  People from all over the world were writing to see where I was and was I safe. I started to reply but there were too many emails and I was wondering why. The Japanese TV was showing exactly the locations were things were happening in and were giving out all the information.  It was a huge area, but not all the country.  There was no panic or “the end is nigh” sentiments. It was well rehearsed and everyone was doing exactly what they had been trained to do.

But then I switched across to the BBC and oh my goodness, what a contrast!  Make no wonder everyone overseas was panicking.   Forget any pretence of informative news, this was purely emotionally driven exaggeration on the part of the BBC. Whilst Japanese news was giving out information about what areas were affected by what size waves, the BBC was giving voice overs like “death approaches by the sea.” They reshowed the footage of Sendai from when the quake hit but this time with voice overs like “blinded with panic not knowing where to turn.” Well, no. That’s not what was happening. When a quake hits you look around, you see what’s happening. When it goes on longer your heart starts beating and you wonder if the building will indeed stand up to the shaking. But you don’t panic. And the people on TV weren’t panicking, contrary to what the English speaking reporters were making up.

Then over the last few days Ive been watching Japanese press events and thinking, OK, we know what’s happening now. But then you see the Western media reports and you think,”were they just watching the same news conference?” They’d obviously heard a very bad translation of the Japanese and just made up the pieces in-between. Phrases like 一所懸命 which means “try to your fullest” or “do the best you can” got translated to “furiously” or “desperately”, words which have totally different meanings.

My goodness.  You’d think the main purpose of the Western press is to create terror rather than to inform.

Sean March 16, 2011 at 4:31 am

This can’t really be a revelation to us, think of any other purpose our media serves! Like Mickey said in ‘Natural Born Killers’: ‘The media is like weather, only it’s man made weather.’ Don’t panic, our Japanese brethren know what they are about, and a heartfelt best wishes to you all.

Oz March 16, 2011 at 11:17 am

Meanwhile, over here, Weatherdude is busy fielding questions about aviation and plumes and what, exactly, will get vented into the atmosphere. And certain branches of the gov’t are not exactly being open about it. But as of last night, there is no danger in the atmosphere. Just a big mess and several reactors that will never function again. The MIT website has been running a sensible commentary on the situation with the reactors.

It’s a serious disaster, but it would seem Japan was prepared and they are coping. At least, that’s what I’m hearing from blogs of folks who are actually there.

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