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March 19, 2011

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Thanks, LJ, for your usual cogent analysis. Just as backup info, I found this piece over at TPM; which, if I hadn't been reading ObWings consistently, and knew you weren't there, would have sworn was by you (it's that clear).

Bottom line: Japanese media coverage of the Great Sendai Earthquake may have been flawed, but non-Japanese media sucked big-time - worse than usual even by today's low standards..

Eliot Spitzer was frothing at the mouth because the government official ... didn't 'come clean' about the nuclear accident... Somehow, talking heads have difficulty understanding that an 'official' announcement requires everyone up the chain to approve it.

Remember the old saying about how difficult it is for people to understand something when their salary depends on their not understanding it?

Spitzer was the governor of one of our largest states, and before that its Attorney General. I'm pretty sure he's familiar with the chain of approval for official statements. But his new gig requires baffled outrage, so baffled outrage it is...

Thanks for a very helpful post, lj.

For those trying to get a handle on just how significant the nuclear issues in this mix are, here's a readable chart:
http://xkcd.com/radiation/

It rapidly becomes clear that the critical issues in Japan will be the same as they are after any earthquake or hurricane or other major event. The reactor issue will be relatively minor -- except for the impact on future power generation, both in Japan and elsewhere.

This blog by an American residing in Japan has yielded some good insights about news coverage of the disaster.

The Americans are only spectators, but they’re the ones indulging their emotions. The Japanese are the ones who have to deal with it, and their upper lips are stiff. Notice that one of the people I quoted thought the Japanese calmness was “eerie”. One gets the impression that the Americans are excited by all the shock and awe. I think we all know what the tone of American coverage would be like if this were a local disaster.[...]I’ve long thought that the Japanese have a more solid grasp of the brass tacks of life than do Westerners. Now I’m convinced.
For those trying to get a handle on just how significant the nuclear issues in this mix are, here's a readable chart: http://xkcd.com/radiation/
I was thinking of doing a post around that a few days ago, but, again, busy, and besides, Ethan went ahead and did the post already.

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