Saturday, July 26, 2008

Watching TV news in Japan can often be frustrating for many reasons, besides not being able to catch everything that is said. NHK and one of the other stations (Channel 4) have bilingual broadcasts so one can listen to those to get rid of most of the language problem. Unfortunately, you still have to endure some story about nothing going on and on seemingly forever. Or you have to listen to a lecture---almost always by a male newsreader---about what society/the government needs to do after a report on a serious incident. (e.g. After a story on fraud, "We must ensure that this kind of thing cannot happen," or some similar goofy comment with which nobody can disagree.)

Having BS, the overpriced satellite service from NHK, with which we can watch old movies that we would not spend the ¥300 to rent or enjoy the Shopping Channel which often uses translated commercials from the US, also allows us to watch news from other countries---England, France, Germany among them. Of course, we have to listen to the French and German news in Japanese.

You can see some of the differences in style. On one, a Sunday Morning BBC political issue broadcast which I occasionally watch, the woman running it seems to be a bit more open with her opinions---or biases---than used to be acceptable in the US media. She does, however, manage to do so without appearing to be some sort of idiotic clown. Unlike those on CNN.

I remember when CNN used to be somewhat reliable and serious, but it is shocking to see how it has deteriorated into something like The National Enquirer on TV. I just watched another edition of CNN Prime which usually focuses on celebrities, weirdos, or some sort of sexual scandal or crime. Anything that they can sensationalize is fair game.

Today, their lead story was on a minor league baseball brawl in which a pitcher got angry and threw a ball at another player, but missed and hit a fan in the face. CNN replayed that at least 10 times or more. While playing the clip over and over and over and over and over, the newsclown, James Galano (?), with a mug so heavily made up that he looked like a plastic Sony robot, made faces to show his disgust and disapproval while giving his personal opinion about the brawl. He always does this on every sensational story he "reports." If he is off, there are a couple of plastic-faced females with unbelievably huge mouths who do the same. No story is too serious or too complex for them to make into a sort of simplistic cartoon. This must be why fewer and fewer Americans get "news" from the TV. Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is much better, more believable, and is not nearly so insulting to viewers---and you can get it via the Internet. (Of course, FOX may be even worse than CNN.)

It makes me think that NHK's self-censored news is of much higher quality and reliability even if Abe and his band of rightwing-revisionists lean on it to report only the LDP-approved version of the world. And none of the reporter are so made up as to appear plastic.

1335: Edited because I cannot spell. Ask Fujiwacko why...

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