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It spins both ways

The Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear disaster occurred a little over three months ago. They have all but fallen out of the news stream. It seems one of the hazards of information overload is a shorter and shorter attention span.

Al Jazeera has an article about the Fukushima nuclear power plant which states the situation is worse than is being publicly revealed. I dug around a little and found that three reactors did indeed suffer meltdowns, and overall, the incident is now considered as severe as Chernobyl. Ok, sure, there's not a huge nuclear cloud encircling the earth or anything, but that's not the point. The point is that the information is not being heavily reported, or if it is, no one seems to be paying much attention. As I remember, Chernobyl was a huge deal.

Can Al Jazeera be trusted as a reliable media source, or do they have an agenda? Let's see:

  • Turn it around. Can Western media be trusted, or do they have an agenda?
  • Specifically regarding the Fukushima disaster, can the Japanese media be trusted, or do they have an agenda?

I don't have answers, but I think the questions are worth asking.

At some point I stopped trusting politicians. Here's why: They all have tons of money. It takes money to run a successful campaign (or buy ballot boxes), and when you have money, the concerns of the common man are beneath you and hold no interest. Thus, I submit that no politician in office truly has the interests of the common man at heart. Red, blue, left, right, black, white — they're all crooks.

I don't trust media much anymore either. There are a handful of companies controlling the majority of news outlets, companies with stockholders to satisfy and a bottom line to consider. Things happen behind boardroom doors which we can only speculate about, so I'll speculate spinning certain news items in certain ways could translate into a few cents more in earnings per share, or a percentage point or two more viewers / readers / whatever, depending on the media. Fair and balanced reporting be damned... daddy needs a new boat.

I'm going to take this opportunity to point out that all the "Big Three" evening news anchors — Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw, and Dan Rather — all disappeared from their posts (in one form or another — requiescat in pace, Mr. Jennings) over an eight-month period right after the 2004 elections. I always found that... well, strange.

If someone can claim Al Jazeera has an agenda, and that agenda is (for example) to defame the non-Islamic world, then one can just as easily claim Western media has an agenda too — putting a positive spin on the West, let's say. Or putting money in its corporate overlords' pockets. Or something.

The point is that discrediting one side while not even examining the other is biased at best... and disingenuous at worst. But if it's reached that point, I wonder if media consumers can trust anything at all anymore.

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