NHK is trapped in bothsideism on US politics


Mitsuo Shiota


July 26, 2021

Although I think most of NHK news are reliable, I sometimes find some odd news. Such recent odd news on US economy and politics are:

  1. “Hiring is hard in the US, as unemployment benefit in American Rescue Plan is too generous” in “Catch! World Top News” on June 24, 2021 (Japanese)

  2. “Half a year after Biden inauguration” in “News Watch 9” on July 20, 2021 (Japanese)

  3. “Republicans, who consider fiscal discipline is important, oppose to raising debt ceiling” in NHK news at 2pm on July 26, 2021

The first news is odd, as CNBC had reported “Cutting off unemployment benefits early is not pushing people to find work, data suggests” on June 23. CNBC recently added “States cutting unemployment benefits didn’t get people back to work, study finds” on July 22.

The second news showed Trump claiming election fraud at Fulton county in Georgia at his rally, and then it reported that 17 Republican-led state legislatures changed voting entitlement more strict, claiming their purpose was to prevent such election frauds. The program continued to show protests by minorities and Democrats against voter suppression. But it failed to report Trump’s election fraud claim is unsubstantiated.

The third news sounds like a joke, as Republicans didn’t care of deficits, when they passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 using reconciliation procedures. And “Federal Surplus or Deficit [-] as Percent of Gross Domestic Product” clearly shows the Republicans since Reagan tend to increase deficits.

I guess NHK is trapped in bothsideism. NHK says that it shall try to be fair and balanced on political issues, and to report opinions from both sides on its FAQ page (Japanese). So NHK reports what Republicans say as a fact, even if it is an ideology, a pretense, or a white lie. NHK should not report facts from both sides, as there is no alternative fact.