From the publisher:
With “fake news” and “post truth” suddenly turning into buzzwords in every corner of the globe, a spotlight has been thrown on the credibility of information. What should characterize the professionalism we expect of the media, in the midst of its loss of influence? How literate does the public need to be? This book shows the true face of the ailing state of democracy and the problems it faces, through a comparative study of the media in Germany, Great Britain, the U.S., and Japan.
From the author:
I wrote this book in 2016 as I lived in and moved from the U.S. to the U.K. to Germany. In particular, the 2016 U.S. presidential election had a significant role in the conception of this topic.
I wanted to examine media distrust, as it spreads across the world and works to erode democracy. Media distrust does not merely signify hatred of the media; it also encompasses anger, sadness, and anxiety towards society at large. I wanted to examine the connection between these emotions and public skepticism of the news media. The book investigates this connection through a comparative approach among the U.S., U.K., Germany and Japan. Media distrust is one of the symptoms of a disease of our modern democratic society. Therefore, its examination cannot be limited to the rampant role of fake news and sensationalism, but it also requires the analyses of the present Japanese society and the social functions/dysfunctions of media and journalism.
I am particularly interested in lack of interest in political participation in Japan and how that relates to its extreme indifference to the state of the Japanese media, as this development contrasts with what is happening in much of the rest of the world. Outside Japan, there is a growing concern over politicians causing social fissures and the extreme language used by the media dividing the society. In contrast, in Japan it seems the civil society is collapsing largely due to the citizenry’s quiet indifference towards politics and the media. In addition, as the internet takes over legacy media, and as the population shrinks due to aging society, newspapers and television are forced to fundamentally reexamine their own established business models. It is as yet unclear if Japan is on the right path in that regard, as Japanese journalism, too, is increasingly exposed to profit motive in deregulatory trends, which can endanger the nation’s democracy.
This book also identifies the risks the world faces with regard to global information giants such as Facebook and Google, on which people once pinned their hopes for the future of democracy—they now compromise that very democracy. I aim to reposition and reconsider the media’s present role in global society as a whole.
(Written by Kaori Hayashi, Professor, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies / 2018)