"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

well I almost had a bit of a dust up at the office last night. For a branch of the world's largest newspaper our editors seem to have a funny idea of what constitutes journalism.
A couple of examples:
I think most of us will have heard of the 5 Ws (Who what where when why) Well where I work "who" is usually a well guarded secret, even when the name is in the public domain. The above story has two main actors in it, one who is on trial for accessory to murder after the fact(destruction of evidence). His name is therefore a matter of public record, but the oiks at the parent paper won't use it because they think it might identify the other main actor in the story - a police lt. who has been accused of accepting a bribe. Said Lt. was interviewed and testified at the trial and his name is also therefor a matter of public record, but we don't run it because he might not like it.
example two shows us how accurate stats can be used to twist the truth
this one concerns the number of foreigners arrested in the first half of the year. The police say the number is up by 20 percent from last year to just over 9,000 and that about 240 of those were arrested for "murder and other violent crimes". Sounds like a massive crime wave committed by those pernicious foreign devils doesn't it? Spot the logical/statistical fallacy yet?
9,000 arrests out of how many? 10,000? 100,000? 1,000,000?

five minutes of web cruising later we find out that in 2002 2,735,612 crimes were reported to police, including 1,340 murders and that in all, 542,115 arrests were made
Current year stat are not yet readily available in english, but would have been included in the report the DY story was based on. When I mentioned this I was told that because it wasn't in the original japanese story, we could not add it to our story.
The next day I checked the other two main english language dailies and found out that while we at the Daily Anonymous didn't have the essential background info to put the crime stats in context, our rivals did.

The international Herald-Tribune/Asahi:
"Crimes allegedly committed by foreigners accounted for only 1.39 percent of all criminal cases in the half-year."

The Japan Times:
"Crime allegedly committed by foreigners, a popular media scapegoat, accounted for a scant 1.39 percent of all cases in the half-year period. The total number of arrests and papers sent to prosecutors, including those involving Japanese, reached 1.34 million in the first six months of this year."

It is the classic propagandists big lie. "Our country is in peril, the communists have receive triple the number of votes in this latest election compared to last election." says the red baiter, not telling us that last time they got 20 of 200,000 votes cast and this time they got 60 out of 300,000 votes cast.

The problem is when I complain about these things, the editors look at me like I've grown an extra head. "We Japanese don't like to use too many names, we like to keep thing anonymous" said one editor (good of her to speak for the entire population of 128 million) and of course as all Japanese know (and as we keep telling them) "Foreigners are responsible for most of the crime in Japan"

Now obviously if both rival papers had the information it was readily available, probably contained in the same report from the NPA. Therefore it seems reasonable to conclude that the writer for the Yomiuri Shimbun intentionally left out the information.
Could there be an agenda at work here?
You bet your (insert off-colour colloquial expression here) there is.
A quick search of our database turned up a half dozen similar stories, all with the same information missing. It also turned up four editorials that followed the stories, calling for measures to be taken to halt the rising flood of criminal foreigners.

conclusion: I work for facists here at Partoftheproblem, Inc.

Is the ministry of truth taking job applications?