"Tears on breakfast television - again"

Breakfast news is one of the most competitive times for broadcast television. Channels compete with each other to have the most up-to-date information, best panelists, rousing debates and emotive speeches all in an effort to keep the audience’s attention.

The boat accident, in which a Maritime Self-Defense Force boat crashed into a local fishing boat, causing the latter to break into half and the fisherman and his son to go missing, took the spotlight this morning and TBS’s Asazuba managed to get exclusivity to speak live on air to the uncle of the missing fisherman, meaning that at least other channels would be unable to interview these key people for the whole morning.

The reports showed clips of the mother and relatives wailing uncontrollably as they prayed for the safe return of the father and son, over-layed with the grave voice of the uncle speaking about the horror of this accident. The report then cut back to a two-way live interview with Minomonta who harked on about how tragic it was.

The interview was awkward and tense and the uncle and his nephew (the son and brother of the missing fishermen) were too grieved to say much. Minomonta then made it worse by talking about how the son, when younger, wrote in a school essay about how he would love to grow-up to be a fishermen. This choked the uncle even more and Minomonta pretty much gave up trying to get a response out of him. After much silence, the uncle pleaded with Minomonta to continue covering this story, to which Minomonta gave a godly nod of approval.

This story will likely die out in a couple of days time and Minomonta, Asazuba and the rest of the media will forget and move on. That is the nature of news reporting. However, to take advantage of the distraught uncle, playing up his emotions by talking about the son’s dreams to be a fishermen all for some good emotional scenes on TV is not only overtly emotive, it seems ethically dubious as well. And then Minomonta’s crocodile tears just top it off, making it obvious that this is just a play and the world, no matter how tragic, is his theater.


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