"Again, awkward silence ensued. Again, Minomonta ignored it and changed the subject"

It has been a week since the beginning of the blog and once again, it is time to revisit ‘Asazuba’ 「朝ズバッ」, the reason being, today was a case of the media ending up criticizing itself, ending up in a highly amusing, tense atmosphere within the studio.

The program was in the middle of talking about the Japanese school system. At the end of the package, one of the panelists started criticizing the news report as being one-sided and lacking in information. All Minomonta could do was to nod in agreement. The panelist then started saying “that is what the problem is with broadcast media. They only report parts of the story and we need to know the full issue.” A tense atmosphere ensued in the studio and Minomonta continued to nod until he realized that he could try and ignore this comment and carry on with the package. Minomonta brought out a board showing the world rankings of the OECD academic tests of which Japan has dropped down somewhat. MinomontaMinomonta The panelist objected to that as well; “See that is what I mean. That information is not full either. Japan has actually dropped down in the rankings because there are so many other countries taking part now. Broadcast media in this country doesn’t explain things we need to know in full.”

Again, awkward silence ensued. Again, Minomonta ignored it and changed the subject.

I wonder if Asazuba are kicking themselves for letting a panelist on that made them look stupid and it will be interesting to see if they let that panelist on the show again, knowing that whatever they report will probably just get criticized. Originally, the media are there to hold people of power to account, but now others are holding the media to account. That must have been a bit of a shock….


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I'm almost, almost sorry I don't watch Asazuba. I'm certainly sorry I missed someone taking Minomonta, that pitiful glaring symbol of all that's wrong with the Japanese broadcast media, to task.
The sad thing is that Minomonta almost certainly didn't understand what the guy was saying, only the awkward silence. The sad thing is that the problem pointed out by that astute panelist is not limited to broadcast media, but can also be found in the press and, to an extreme degree, in the weeklies as well.

The underlying problem is that even journalists and reporters who want to actually do their jobs are bound up in a journalistic culture that discourages and sometimes even punishes it. This creates a self-perpetuating crisis in that a viewing public used to simple, "Oh my gosh!" black and white tidbits is not likely to take to a more in-depth explanation of what's actually going on, which would take longer and might even be confusing.

What this leads to are media that fail in their fundamental duty, one even more basic than the important duty of holding people in power to account: informing the public.

Thank you for your comment.
I think you are spot on - journalists are often not allowed to explain the whole situation, even if they wanted to.

However, to be fair, sometimes it isn't really anyones 'fault' that a journalist isn't allowed to report the whole story - one of the reasons being a limit on time. In a 2 minute news report, there simply isn't enough on-air time to be able to tell the whole complex situation of say, the war in Palestine. One way that a journalist may be able to get close to the truth is perhaps in a documentary but these are time consuming and often not great money-makers.

I enjoyed your comment about "The sad thing is that Minomonta almost certainly didn't understand what the guy was saying, only the awkward silence." If only Minomonta could read this...