"Television controls society. Now we will control Japan."
No that's not from the opening voice-over for the Japanese version of The Outer Limits. It's what Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) chairman, Hiroshi Inoue told the television station's new employees back in 2002. The author of a blog called Ruinet recently gleaned the Internet* for some choice words of wisdom that have fallen from the lips of the Japanese media mandarin over the years. Among them were some of the following that Inoue has uttered during the last decade and a half in speeches welcoming new employees to the TBS fold.
(Note: I think a couple of these quotes cry out for a pounding of the fist on a desk or something while shouting them out loud in a dictatorial voice.)
1998 "TV is a brainwashing machine. Even lies turn to truths once they've been broadcast."
2002 "Television controls society. Now we will control Japan."
2003 "Most Japanese people are stupid. They don’t know anything until we in television tell them what to do."
2010 "You are the chosen ones. You are on the side that moves the world via journalism. On the other side is the general public who are moved by the information we provide. It’s we, the chosen, who say what in Japan is black or white."
While they all sound pretty bad, Inoue may merely be channeling a mainstream sentiment that runs through a big chunk of the global media landscape. Sadly it's one that's taking ethics beyond the outer limits.
*Here and elsewhere.