Friday, September 7, 2012

Newsweek on Dodkdo: One-sided, tabloid journalism

I must confess that it seems Newsweek magazine, which I used to read, along with Time or U.S. News and World Report, is turning from a news magazine into a tabloid!  A few weeks ago it published a cover story by Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson with a photograph of President Obama accompanied by the headline "Hit the road Barack."  That was a clear hint that something has changed in the editorial approach at the magazine.   Then today I learned that Newsweek had published an article about Dokdo which is equally one-sided, opinionated and in my opinion very loose with its documentation of historical facts.
There are several aspects of the Newsweek article that should immediately send up a red flag for readers anywhere in the world.   First, it is written by a Japanese  correspondent in Tokyo.  Given that the subject of the article involves disputed versions of historical reality between some Japanese and most Koreans, this is questionable.  Second, I first read the article expecting to find some clear analysis of Japanes claims to Dokdo before 1905, when the process of Japan colonizing Korea was well underway.  It contains none.  These and other shortcomings make this Newsweek article is nothing more than a thinly veiled apology for the manner in which Japan views its history.

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