There are a few significant inaccuracies and omissions in Mr. Norrie’s report. Let me explain.
[T]housands of posters have flooded chat sites to decry the "sleazy Australian journalist" who they feel has deliberately besmirched Japan's image around the world.
Is Mr, Norrie sure of his figures? The anger has been directed mainly at the Mainichi newsgroup and the Mainichi Daily News in particular, and much of the anger directed against Ryan Connell does not turn on his actual intent. I do understand the article’s focus on the Australian journalist though; The Age is an Australian newspaper.
The piece, [which cited a Japanese magazine article about a restaurant where patrons allegedly have sex with animals before eating them,] caught the attention of a blogger called "mozu", whose angry post was soon picked up by 2channel, a huge, fractious web forum popular with Japan's hot-headed conservative element..
Actually, the blogger formerly known as Mozu (now going by the name Mozu@ to distinguish him/herself from other Mozus) provided a thoughtful, restrained post on his blog Mozu no Saezuri (Warbling of the Shrike) that questioned the decision by the mainstream Mainichi Daily News English webpage to provide English-language digests of sleazy articles from Japanese tabloids, expressed the fear that the reports would form overseas opinion among readers who might accept them uncritically, and chastised Mainichi for its continued failure to
There it triggered an explosion of bile and culminated in a co-ordinated attack on Connell, his family, the Mainichi and its sponsors, some of which have dropped advertising estimated to be worth millions of yen.
Mr. Norrie appears to be referencing a couple of wiki sites here and here when he writes of “a coordinated attack”. But the two wiki sites are actually restrained, informative, and well-designed, and the only personal information there on Ryan Connell pertinent to this story is that he has a Japanese wife. No doubt there must have been many attacks on these people and institutions, many of them ad hominem and some of them threatening physical harm. But to call the entire outcry “a coordinated attack” obliterates the chasm between the worst of the anonymous raving and ranting on the 2 Channel forum (to be fair, the wiki sites encouraged use of 2 Channel as one vehicle for protests*) and the legitimate criticism rained on Mainichi and the deputy editor of its English webpage and virtual WaiWai proprietor Mr. Connell.
Which brings me back to the first point. Read through to the end of Mr. Norrie’s report, and there is nothing to suggest that he is even remotely aware of Mozu@’s original question. Mr. Norrie ignores the constraints imposed by the lack of knowledge about the language and culture of his place of work and does nothing to compensate. As a result, he misrepresents pertinent facts and fails to address the key issue. Overall, he appears to be falling prey to the Myth of the Right-Wing Monolith,
And now, a really small quibble:
There are many WaiWai stories, such as the one about mothers who pleasure their sons to stop them from chasing girls at the expense of school work.
There are many WaiWai stories… that what?
I happen to think that Mr. Connell is a fine writer. Mr. Connell, as anyone who has seen his WaiWai work knows, has a fluid style and a gift for eye-catching headlines that should be easily transferrable from the rough-and-tumble sleaze and tease of the WaiWai tabloid world to the more stately pages of mainstream media. He is also fluent in Japanese. Come to think of it, perhaps The Age should replace Mr. Norrie with him. Even better, he won’t need an expensive ex-pat compensation package.
My take on the WaiWSai site is that it was something that Mainichi should never have gotten into. Imagine The New York Times producing a Japanese-language online edition and devoting much of its resources to producing a webpage filled with digests of the sleazier reports from, at best, the New York Post to, at worst, The Weekly World News and everything in between.