Tuesday, March 24, 2015

If news isn't reported did it even happen?

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"Two monks were arguing about the temple flag waving in the wind. One said, "The flag moves." The other said, "The wind moves." They argued back and forth but could not agree.
The Sixth Ancestor said, "Gentlemen! It is not the wind that moves; it is not the flag that moves; it is your mind that moves." The two monks were struck with awe."
                                                                    - The Mumonkan Case 29, translation by Robert Aitken

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We are at a time in our lives where very often our minds are still. This is not a good thing. We must keep our minds moving and thinking.

A recent blog post from Simplyinfo.org and Fukuleaks.org revealed that the U.S. Media downplayed the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. I think that is almost an understatement looking back over the past four years and the amount of news coverage we have here on this subject.

American news media seems to prefer dramatic faster moving shorter life news stories like Ebola. Here today and gone in the next news cycle or by next week for sure.

Stories that require time and digging to get to the facts or that have a lifelong impact are less popular to report on. Considering the worldwide impact of global warming the subject gets rather moderate news coverage. The Fukushima disaster is much the same and has slipped off the American news charts almost completely.

In the Study Finds US Media Downplayed Fukushima Daiichi Disaster there were two points mentioned that jumped out at me:

The research shows that corporations and government agencies had disproportionate access to framing the event in the media, Pascale says. Even years after the disaster, government and corporate spokespersons constituted the majority of voices published. News accounts about local impact — for example, parents organizing to protect their children from radiation in school lunches — were also scarce.” (emphasis ours)

The mainstream media — in print and online — did little to report on health risks to the general population or to challenge the narratives of public officials and their experts,” Pascale said. “Discourses of the risks surrounding disasters are political struggles to control the presence and meaning of events and their consequences. How knowledge about disasters is reported can have more to do with relations of power than it does with the material consequences to people’s lives.”  (emphasis ours)

Another story reported in Science Daily based on information from American University says:

"A new analysis by American University sociology professor Celine Marie Pascale finds that U.S. news media coverage of the disaster largely minimized health risks to the general population. Pascale analyzed more than 2,000 news articles from four major U.S. outlets following the disaster's occurrence March 11, 2011 through the second anniversary on March 11, 2013. Only 6 percent of the coverage -- 129 articles -- focused on health risks to the public in Japan or elsewhere. Human risks were framed, instead, in terms of workers in the disabled nuclear plant."

The scary part of the news is really what is not being reported and why it isn't. But then again... if it isn't reported did it even happen?

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