My own malfunctioning computer has been keeping me from using it very much the last day or two, but I do like to read Debito.org. I’m not quite a daily reader, but almost every day. I especially like the comments section, because a lot of really good contributors add to the content there.
(I think a lot of people with a Japan connection read it for the comments, too. Sure, what Debito has to say. But also the comments.)
Well, he’s just been getting slammed because he put up some “exclusive” “first-hand source” material about the dangers of the Fukushima plants. To be frank, it sounded like a bit of puffery coming from a know-it-all source. But compared to a lot of the nonsense we’ve been hearing on both the no-nukes and the pro-nukes camps, nothing that I would expect to set people off.
Was it a tabloid-style post? Yeah. But people’s blog posts are what they are. You try to be factual about things, unless you’re giving your opinion, in which case the facts you base it on are either what you can show from a factual source, or are going to have to be taken on faith.
I think Debito, who I estimate is read monthly by ten or twenty thousand regular readers with an interest or presence in Japan, worries too much about individual reactions to his posts. Sure, if you are trying to persuade people to a point, you try to be credible. But if you just want to say your opinion, then, really, since about 2003 a keyboard and internet access will do it.
I blog for me, you know. I imagine that Debito blogs for himself, but he also takes a certain amount of pride in being someone credible. I think he cares passionately about a certain set of issues, and he promotes these. To me, it doesn’t seem to be a lot about self-promotion. I mean, how do you promote your ideas and not promote yourself?
So there’s part of this core following, out of the several thousand, who don’t like his post about the threats of nuclear radiation to Japan, or just to Tohoku. He’s got the anti-Debito blog, called Tepido.org, that I suspect tries to be credible and responsible, but really to me just seems to focus on sticking it to Debito. If they would change the mix a bit, I think they’d have more credibility. But the couple of times I’ve visited, it’s been about something that Debito said that they don’t like.
You remember, a few months back when I was still in Japan, that website popped up called “Japan Blog Review” that did the slam piece on whatever three or four tidbits the Google searcher could find about me? Then, they made a nasty post and linked it into Gaijin Pot or one of the big chatrooms in Expat Japan, where it picked up 170 or so hits.
Some people think this was “Senor Science”–whose real name [Update 9/28/11: Rene Juan Jerez a/k/a Renato Giovanni Jerez] was sent to me and who is in that Tepido crowd–but some of the evidence points to someone inside Interac, too. And of course it could be two people. Well, whoever it was did me a huge favor, because I know I picked up a couple dozen regulars off that.
So what I can’t figure out with Debito, is that when the people call him out on the obvious–which is that no one is always 100%–he has this sort of stance like he’s deeply hurt and he’s tossing in the towel for a while.
I’m not 100%.
Prior to the earthquake and tsunami that have CHANGED EVERYTHING!!!!, (and it was very bad, but you should get my point,) I was talking about a State Department functionary who got canned for being a little too candid about Japan and how Japan negotiates. My take on it was, there isn’t any good way to get credible information in the public if you don’t let people be candid—and let them slip up from time to time.
If you ask me, there isn’t enough credible information about the dangers of the Fukushima reactors. I also don’t think that the Japanese government or TEPCO has been honest, or has any claim to trustworthiness. TEPCO’s attitude is almost like the black marketeer who turns the tables on you for asking where the electricity came from. “Hey, you wanted it. You use it. Now you’re asking us where we got it from?” Like electricity is some sort of illicit drug.
When this is the attitude, is it any surprise that the know-it-alls and the blowhards are going to go out there with their “credible” assertions and start asserting them?
Should people pass them on, without a proviso? If they do, I don’t really see where this is some moral failing. To me, the moral failing is with those who are making the stuff up. But if you are reading tabloid-level verbal produce, don’t you know it? When the anonymous people start telling you this and that, aren’t you tipped off?
So when I did visit Tepido today, I was surprised that some people in the blog circle, who I have a higher regard for based on either reading or knowing about them, are shocked, shocked! by Debito’s entry. Whoa hoooooa!
The Japanese regulators have little credibility.
TEPCO has little credibility.
The foreign governments are advising one thing for their people, and the Japanese government something else.
The foreign governments are even telling their people to get out of Japan, and for anyone thinking of coming, don’t.
Now there’s a big disconnect to get worked up over. And these people are worked up over a blog post. And they go to a “debunking” blog site that just seems like a slam site, and say they can’t beeee-lieve what they read at a blog. Well, Jesus.
I’ll tell you: the news around Pennsylvania has been about the runners of Three Mile Island (TMI) back n ’79, which was General somebody-or-other, didn’t give people the facts, were late with the bad facts, and put more people at risk than needed to be. Even though it all turned out well in the end. The thing that is coming back in local memory was about being mislead about the dangers of nuclear radiation.
Here you go. I guess some people are offended by being mislead about the non-dangers ot if. But I think most people don’t want any (i.e. near zero) risk from radiation. This also seems to be what foreign governments are “going with”.
There is a lot more to be upset about than blog posts.