Issac Newton once said, it was only by standing on the shoulders of giants, did he see further. Similarly, when in doubt I often find myself reading other blogs trying to find information. Recently, I stumbled upon an article by SankakuComplex titled ‘ASIMO VS PETMAN: Japanese robots are a joke!’ And then it hit me: the secret to their success, when compared to more legitimate news sites such as Moetron – scandalization.
When we bloggers include ‘break’ tags, only a small portion of the post which the readers can read on the main page needs to be selected. For instance, for this post one can only see the picture of Kurisu and the first paragraph of this post. (Duh.) For that post, we are given 3 parts to base our initial impressions of the post:
… American robots are almost always military-related. Or, the robots are to assist soldiers in some way whether to augment their strength, movement, or assist in transport or deal with dangerous items like IEDs.
… Japanese robots are almost always about making our lives better whether it’s for the disabled and handicap; taking out the pony factor in nuclear reactor management; or providing us with sexual toys.
(That’s until Japan makes piloted mechs capable, fully realized and fully functional then we’re all screwed.)
Which would you prefer?
You got a point! Even if Japanese robots may be a little behind the American ones nowadays, just the fact of the goal of the Japanese be a much more noble instead of the Americans, makes me prefer them.
I can’t just say that all news is biased. That is a no-brainer. However, showing how news can be distorted to change our perception is another case. What SankakuComplex has effectively done is translate ItaiNews and other news sites (I find this funny, don’t flame me or anything =/) and exaggerate, scandalizing certain details to change the message of the news articles. The best part- the evidence is missing. The news article is based upon ,well, news. News contain a sliver of truth. Without any of this in the article itself, and the readers distracted by scandalization techniques, one does not realize the inherent lies within the articles. All of this contributes to something we term ‘unconscious bias’ – as it says on the label, being biased without knowing it. This is the same thing that helps perpetuate racism and other social evils, as discussed in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink.
More specifically, Priming. Here’s what Wikipedia terms it as:
Basically, what we read from the start affects our overall impression of the news. It’s why headlines ,bylines and photos are so important to the newspaper industry. This is why websites want good design. It all contributes to how people view the website, and their subsequent impression of the website. By already using selective language at the start, the reader is primed so that he or she is biased before he or she even starts reading the article itself! Priming is what spreads stereotypes, as ‘attention to a response increases the frequency of that response, even if the attended response is undesired’. For a website using apparent altruism to provoke sympathy for the Japanese, it too, perpetuates vicious stereotypes of the Chinese and the West in general.
To summarize, In the land of the blind , the man with one eye is king. He who controls the media, has true power: the power to change our perceptions , for whatever cause he or she may seek. By limiting the amount of news it releases, and by using techniques of scandalization and selective wording, SankakuComplex effectively attracts readers despite neglecting its ‘purpose’ – to release news, a form of media meant to be as unbiased as possible , yet never given any justice.
Don’t get me wrong. Personally, I still read it for its figure photos and its anime news. Those, you have to give it credit. Even this article I wrote seeks to change your perception: to get you to see the way I do, or at least put my argument into perspective. All media has purpose, after all, and so does both Sankaku Complex and AOIA. But when SC attempts to dip into ‘real-world affairs’, I can’t help but choke a little on the vomit, rising in my throat.