Mainstream Media Buries the Lead, Again
By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com
The headline in yesterday’s USA Today read “The World to the Rescue.” It was followed by the sub-headline, “Japan crisis showcases social media’s muscle.” When I saw this, I immediately thought that the nuclear crisis was under control and folks were using the Internet to help the island country recover.
The story said, “Japan’s disaster has spotlighted the critical role that social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google, You Tube and Skype increasingly are playing in responses to crises around the world. They may have been designed largely for online socializing and fun, but such sites and others have empowered people caught up in crises and others wanting to help to share vivid, unfiltered images, audio and text reports before governments or more traditional media can do so.” (Click here for the complete USA Today story.)
On the following page, this headline, “Powerful aftershocks rock Japan, kill teenager.” It was about evacuations around the crippled power plant and a 7.0 aftershock that killed a 16-year old girl. At the end very end of the article came a quote from Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano who said, “The nuclear accident is not stabilized” and that “We cannot deny the possibility the situation could get worse.” WHAT?! This is a quote on page 2 of the paper buried at the end of a story about evacuations and the death of a teenager. Why in the heck was this not the lead story? I worked at ABC and CNN for 9 years as an investigative correspondent, and this kind of news judgment is baffling to me. Social networking is cool and all, but the situation is still dire and out of control. The quote was not from some faceless confidential source but a very high ranking member of the Japanese government. This is not over by a long shot, but the front page story leads me (and I’ll bet a lot of other people) to believe the most important part of the story now is Facebook? But, buried on the next page, a high ranking Japanese official is saying, “The nuclear accident is not stabilized” and that “We cannot deny the possibility the situation could get worse.” You have got to be kidding me.
In my opinion, the USA Today editors are brain dead, missed a big front page story, or are just trying to spin the news to not scare the public too much. Granted, there is not much of a health problem from the nuclear meltdown here in the U.S. (yet), but this accident is already being compared to Chernobyl in 1986. That is the worst nuclear meltdown on record, and now we have a contender to take the crown. Why that was not a front page story is beyond me. To the paper’s credit, in the online version hours after the newspaper hit the streets, USA Today did report, “Japan regulators raise severity of nuclear accident.” The story went on to say, “Japan ranked its nuclear crisis at the highest possible severity on an international scale — the same level as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster — even as it insisted Tuesday that radiation leaks are declining at its tsunami-crippled nuclear plant. . . . The nuclear accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant is the second-worst in history. It does not signal a worsening of the plant’s status in recent days or any new health dangers.”
Oddly, the story contained a quote from the Prime Minister of Japan that contradicted the Chief Cabinet Secretary. USA Today reported, “Japan’s prime minister, Naoto Kan went on national television and urged people not to panic. “Right now, the situation of the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima plant has been stabilizing step by step. The amount of radiation leaks is on the decline,” he said. “But we are not at the stage yet where we can let our guard down.” (Click here to see the complete USA Today article.)
Well which is it? Is the nuclear situation under control, or is the newspaper allowing spin doctoring from the Japanese government? I frankly just do not know, but I do know more and more people are turning away from mainstream media (MSM). The MSM doesn’t really lie; it just leaves out information or chooses not to cover a story. People are turning to the Internet to fill in the blanks.
Robert Hamburger of Hamburgersstand.com echoes the frustration the public is having with the MSM. Hamburger said recently, “Today’s news is not investigative reporting; nor does investigative reporting make the news. Today’s mainstream news is the American People being told what they should think. At the bottom of the news food chain is Fox News. Fox is the distraction that has succeeded in getting the “have nots” to support policies that benefit the rich, the Christian Right to believe in the need to bomb others, and patriots to ignore our Constitution. Similarly CNBC and Fox Business are Wall Street’s networks. They tell us what big business wants us to believe.” (Click here to read the complete post from Hamburgersstand.com.) I could not have said it better myself.