"In an age of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell
In a very surprising turn of events, I have found myself in the position of being a propagandist for the state and Big Pharma. It's true. I am now reading and broadcasting the "news" (read: "propaganda") to millions of people living in Japan.
It disturbs me to have to read some of this stuff that comes on the newswire. I didn't expect, nor did I ask for, this news job. It fell into my lap. What am I going to do about it?
If I tell the truth, I will most likely get in a lot of trouble if not fired. If I follow the "party line" and report the propaganda as written, I will wind up hating myself and quitting... This has happened already twice. Unfortunately, it is pre-determined; these are my only two choices. It's just the way it is. I don't want to get fired, but it will happen if I tell the truth. If I do like everyone else and be a parrot of the lies, then I will keep my job.
I just cannot parrot the lies. I think the news has lost all credibility, and station ratings go down, because people know they are being fed propaganda. I think people are smart enough and mature enough that, if they are given the facts, they can make intelligent decisions for themselves.
Anyhow, let me briefly explain how I got into this curious position.
I was hired to be the producer/director of a prime time show on a major broadcasting station in Tokyo. Of course I have a staff of 5 people, including me. I was also told that I would have a professional news reader to come onto the show and read the news.
The day before the first show, at rehearsal, I was told that we didn't have a news person and that I was expected to read the news. This shocked me. Regular readers of my blog know that I am the kind of guy who likes to have fun and joke around, but I take my news and financial information dead serious. I think that if a station is going to do "The News" then they'd better damn well do a professional job, or there's no point in doing it. No one likes a half-assed job.
I was a professional news person and even hosted my own news and topics program for a few years on CNN Japan called, "News Wave" up until about 1993 or so. I have also been the news person on many programs over the years. The last time I was the news anchor was October of 2009. I thought that was going to be my last time.
I thought wrong.
I was dumbfounded when I was told that I was expected to do the news. As a producer/director (engineer, script-writer, co-host and coffee boy) I pretty much had my hands full each and every show as it is a live broadcast and in live broadcasts, mistakes are verboten!
So I became the news anchor. Not by choice, but by, well... like I said, it just fell into my lap.
Don't get me wrong; the news needs to be done. So since there was no one else qualified to do it, I was stuck.
Now, here's where the problem begins. I am a voracious reader. I know the news is written for people around the education level of an eighth-grader, so lots of facts are omitted, but sometimes the propaganda is just too blatant that I can't stand it. Also, from years of experience, I have come to have a very healthy skepticism of what passes for "news" these days.
Let me give you two examples of news stories that I had to read that just made me roll my eyes. But, before I do that, let me quote George Orwell once again.
"Omission is the greatest form of lie" - George Orwell
Keep that in mind. The news stories are not written so that I must directly speak a falsehood. But they are filled with important omissions which turn some of them into blatant propaganda.
Read this next bit of news - the kind of news ALL news reporters read verbatim - and tell me what's wrong with this picture?
LONDON, April 11, Kyodo
Foreign ministers of the Group of Eight countries on Thursday wrapped up their two-day meeting in London, condemning North Korea over its nuclear and missile development programs and warning the group will take additional steps if Pyongyang fires missiles.
In a chair's statement released after the gathering, the G-8 foreign ministers "condemned in the strongest possible terms" North Korea's active nuclear weapons development and ballistic missile program.
The statement also criticized North Korea's "current aggressive rhetoric," saying "this will only serve to further isolate the DPRK."
Folks, like I said, this is blatant propaganda. I just couldn't bring myself to read this as is. If I did, I would be a tool of the propagandist. This sort of news is a lie of omission and can only serve to stoke public opinion into supporting a war against North Korea that will get a bunch of innocent people KILLED! That's right. This is a lie and this news is written to further a political agenda. I read the news the way it was written but added a critical fact to the very last paragraph that I think people need to know. I said;
"The statement also criticized North Korea's "current aggressive rhetoric," saying "this will only serve to further isolate the DPRK." While conveniently ignoring the fact that US B2 Stealth Bombers, capable of dropping nuclear weapons, have been making threatening flights over South Korea just seconds away from North Korea."
Gee, isn't this little fact a bit relevant to the story? Not if you are a propagandist for the state.
Saying this, though, is called telling the truth. How in the world can we expect the North Koreans to NOT be bellicose when US bombers are buzzing their territory? Hell, the USA carpet-bombed North Korea during the Korean War killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians! Of course they scream to high heaven when US bombers are flying around, within seconds of their country. Please refer to: Ubuntu Peace Education Project website:
In the Korean War, the U.S. demonstrated its willingness to attack Korean civilians in order to injure unidentified military partisans. In doing so, it violated international humanitarian law and provisions of the Geneva Conventions. Among illegal actions engaged in by U.S. soldiers and the U.S. command during the Korean War 1950-53 war were the destruction of clearly marked hospitals and destruction of irrigation dams at Kusongand Toksan that provided water for 75% of North Korea’s food production.
The Air Force at the time reported that the “subsequent flash flood scooped clean 27 miles of valley below”, noted the flood waters wiped out supply routes as well as villages, and acknowledged that the loss of the rice crop will mean “starvation and slow death.”
Napalm attacks more widespread than those ultimately banned in Viet Nam 16 and carpet bombing destroyed 75% of North Korea’s cities and villages....
The American planes had bombed the entire city (Pyongyang) multiple times in the Korean War and obliterated virtually everything in it. Indeed U.S. reports cite a general ordering a stop to the bombing of Pyongyang since “nothing worthy of a name” was left standing.
Why we are stoking the flames of war with the North Koreans - a country that can't even feed its own people - is just beyond comprehension to me. The people need to wake up and see that they are being manipulated.
The next story that I had to read also made me want to pull my hair out. It was about a 74-year-old man dying from Bird Flu in China. Horrors! I can't find the exact text, but it went like this:
China - In the last two weeks, eleven of the 43 people infected with bird flu in China have died, the World Health Organization said Friday.
The latest to succumb was a 74-year-old male patient from Shanghai.
Bird flu, again? You are kidding me right? And how in the hell does the death of a 74-year-old man in China make the news when average life-expectancy in China is 72! WTF?!
We go through this Bird Flu nonsense every 4 or 5 years. In fact, the last time this sort of sensationalism was going on, I wrote about it and predicted this story coming up. Big deal? Let me also make a wild prediction that I think there will be a war in the Middle East within the next year or so.
Eleven people die in China and that makes the news!? What a joke. How about a little reference here?
First off there are over 1.34 billion people in China. Over 65,000 people die in traffic accidents in China per year (that's over 185 a day!) Chinese factories are very dangerous and every year there are hundreds of thousands of fatalities and injuries! I have read where about 300 people die everyday in China in factory or industrial accidents!
And these clowns want us to worry about eleven people dying of the flu?
They call this "News"? I call it propaganda!
I simply refuse to be a propagandist for the state. I wish more "news" reporters would wake up and realize that they are not helping the situation - and are actually harming people - by scaring them like this...
In Japan Nuclear Disaster Update & Strong Criticism of Western Media Sensationalism I wrote:
Remember my Golden Rule about TV: "90% of everything you see on TV is bullshit; the other 10% are commercials."
Actually, it astounds me that people do accept what what the media says as gospel truth. Don't forget that this is the very same media that told us 3 years ago that Swine Flu was going to kill more than 50 million people worldwide. This was the same media that told us that the USA had to invade Iraq because of Saddam's nooklar weapons. This was the same media that told us that SARS also was a killer virus that was going to wipe out entire populations. This was the same media that told us that Bird Flu was going to do the same.