Poll by Yomiuri: 91% of respondents found mainstream newspapers essential news sources

Monday, October 17 2005 @ 06:58 AM JST

Contributed by: Y.Yamamoto

According to October 15 issue of the Daily Yomiuri, its parent the Yomiuri Shimbun conducted a survey on September 17-18 by interviewing 3,000 people of voting age. Of those interviewed, 1,825 people, or 60.8%, actually answered the questions.

The DY boasts: "91% of respondents said newspapers were essential even in an era [of the Internet], indicating that an overwhelming majority of people still consider newspapers to be an important medium for gathering information."

While the reported response rate is not particularly high, we have a good reason for being skeptical about the 60.8% figure. As recently as in 2003, Nippon Television Network Corp., the TV broadcasting arm of the Yomiuri media empire, was accused of manipulating viewing rates. Although the revelation has since been buried in oblivion as if it was an isolated mishap, everybody with a certain amount of commonsense knows it was just the tip of the iceberg.

In this context it's hard to believe as many as 60.8% of the pollees were silly enough to set aside some time to answer the kindergarten questions in which expected set of answers had been sneakily planted.

Setting aside the fishy response rate, however, it's quite impressive that 91% of the respondents said newspapers were an essential news source in the era when web journalism is burgeoning, although this figure, too, may have been artificially overstated.

According to the Guinness Book, "the Yomiuri Shimbun had a combined morning and evening circulation of 14,323,781 throughout January 2002. It's true even the ridiculously huge circulation of the YS is dwarfed by that of the China's People's Daily which tops 100 million. And yet the YS, alone, circulates a number of copies almost equivalent to 45% of a combined circulation of all U.S. dailies. (This comparison must be by and large accurate on the premise that the data Michael Moore cited in his "Stupid White Men" was more or less accurate. The American artist of fallacies wrote: "...only 11% of the American public bothers to read a daily newspaper, beyond funny pages or the used car ads.")

Let's assume, for now, that these statistical citations are not far apart from reality, still the outcome of the Yomiuri's survey is a reason for the Japanese printed media to be upbeat about their own future.

On the part of their readerships, though, the future perspective is nothing but dismal because the results of the poll all came down to the fact that "an overwhelming majority" of the junkies are more and more hooked on the false things fed by the pushers in the media.

This survey is yet another reminder that the Japanese people have no other alternatives than the Big-4 media empires as long as they effectively monopolize sources of information, as well as distribution channels thereof.

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