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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 13:03 07/07/2008
News Review #453: July 7, 2008

Climate Deadlock Seen at G8 Despite 'Constructive' Bush

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Climate Deadlock Seen at G8 Despite 'Constructive' Bush
AFP (7/6/2008)

Fukuda, Bush Stand United on N. Korea
The Japan Times (7/7/2008)


Whether to focus on politicians' subjective intentions or their objective decisions is an important question in media reporting, especially in the case of covering the summit meetings of the world's top leaders, as the one currently being held in Toyako, Hokkaido, Japan. For example, Japanese newspapers, such as the Japan Times, tend to emphasize the subjective, or diplomatic, sense of "unity" between U.S. President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in dealing not only with the North Korea issue but also with the global warming issue, while it is well known that there is a clear gap between Washington and Tokyo in approaching these issues. In contrast, the AFP article linked above focuses on objective decisions and circumstances, which will likely result in a deadlock at G8 on the climate issue, despite President Bush's diplomatic talk with Prime Minister Fukuda, showing his constructive and cooperative attitude on this problem.

It should be clear which reporting approach, focusing on subjectivity or objectivity, is better, because the former is more easily affected and even manipulated than the latter by those politicians who wish to utilize mass media as a political tool. Actually, reporting styles may well be a good indication of how close the media in question and politicians whom the media covers are: the closer their relationship is, the more subjective the reporting style may become.

In view of this, Japan's news media should take a closer look at the objective circumstances surrounding the Toyako Summit, and report on possible and actual differences between Japan and the U.S. as well as other Summit nations. As pointed out before, more emphasis should be place on a clear difference between the U.S. on one hand and Japan and EU on the other in dealing with the global warming issue, and whether this gap will be narrowed or not at the Summit must be objectively reported by the mass media without being misguided by some politicians' diplomatic talks or subjective evaluations.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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