Media hype

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Arriving back in Japan, I checked the local news. The top headline:

Soga observes crested ibises on Sadogashima Island

"OK, what's this all about," I wondered. Is Soga a minister I've never heard of? A famous ornithologist? Are the crested ibises of Sadogashima more important than other ibises?

Then I read the story:

Sunday, October 20, 2002 at 18:00 JST
MANO -- Hitomi Soga, one of the five Japanese nationals on their first homecoming since being abducted to North Korea in 1978, enjoyed observing crested ibises Sunday on Sadogashima Island, Niigata Prefecture.

Soga, 43, and her supporters visited the Sado Japanese Crested Ibis Conservation Center in the village of Niibo. (Kyodo News)

Geeez, it's just the Japanese media making the most of the North Korean abductees. There are tons of stories about them--will this couple register their marriage and three children in their hometown? This woman visited the site of her abduction. One abductee's father said his son was told by the North Koreans that he was useless and should go home to Japan--but later retracted that comment. One abductee is married to an American defector.

With all this trivia about a dozen people filling the news channels, I wonder what else is going on in the country? What is the government (through their tightly controlled news kisha) hiding with all this "news" about what these dozen people are doing on their visits to their hometowns and the sites of their abductions?

1 Comment

I'll trade you those headlines for the US papers. Main headlines now that Bush isn't Jonesing for Iraq are about a sniper in Maryland. And then secondary stories are all politics since the upcoming election is very soon. Real news that might be relevant to local everyday life is buried on page b6.

Yes, I'll take ibis gazing any day.

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  • Seth: I'll trade you those headlines for the US papers. Main read more