Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Media Attacks on Yamba Dam Amount to Witch-Hunt

The weekly magazines Shukan Asahi, Sunday Mainichi and Shukan Gendai all had basically the same angle on the Yamba Dam story in their October 5 issues. They all joined in a campaign to support Land Minister Maehara. The points they raised were practically identical. They disregarded any objections. Is that the best they can do? I got the feeling that some people in the media were working behind the scenes to manipulate the situation. It reminded me of the vote to privatize the postal service in 2005 when Koizumi was prime minister. When political power coalesces with media power, the result is not good for democracy.

On the evening of October 6, I watched TV Asahi's Hodo Station. The wheedling tone of voice of newscaster F-san that night as he brushed aside any criticism of Maehara's plan would have been laughable if it weren't so ugly. Democracy faces a serious problem when the mass media becomes the mouthpiece for those holding political power. TV Asahi has been cheerleading for Prime Minister Hatoyama from morning to night on its broadcasts. A little moderation is needed. Journalism must be fair. Don't silence opposing views.

If all the mass media outlets fall in line with the administration, we're left with totalitarianism. If the media becomes the arm of political power, it's despotism, and despotism is something I am completely against.