Revisiting my Japan post

By Felix Salmon
March 20, 2011
this.

" data-share-img="" data-share="twitter,facebook,linkedin,reddit,google" data-share-count="true">

This time last week, I was asked if I would go on Piers Morgan’s CNN show to talk about donations to Japan. I said yes, and reckoned that if I was going to go on national TV talking about such things, I ought at least to have a blog entry up on the subject. So I wrote this.

It’s the job of an opinion writer to stake out clearly-defined and controversial opinions, and anybody in this business has to have a reasonably thick skin. And I knew, more or less, what I was getting myself into: the very reason that I was asked onto the Piers Morgan show to begin with was that I’d written something very similar about Haiti, and a lot of people didn’t like that.

In the end, the Piers Morgan appearance was canceled. But my blog post went viral, and not in a particularly good way. One week, 248 comments, and 7,269 Facebook recommendations later, I’m wondering what happened.

I’m used to criticism — I even got an honest-to-goodness death threat once, after I warned (erroneously) that Morgan Stanley was toast and likely to get nationalized. But the degree of anger and hatred leveled at me over the past week is nothing I’ve ever experienced.

It’s worth making very clear, in case anybody was wondering, that this is one of those situations where my opinion is most emphatically not that of my employer, which is putting a lot of effort and money into raising earmarked funds for Japan.

The debate is clearly an important and meaningful one. My advice was entirely in line with the detailed analysis from GiveWell, which concludes that “the relief/recovery effort does not have room for more funding” and that “you as a donor do not have the power to improve the relief and recovery effort in Japan.” It’s also in line with Stephanie Strom’s reporting for the NYT. And so far, I haven’t seen any real pushback to the substance of what they’re saying.

The media reaction to my post was generally somewhere between respectful and positive — see Weekend Edition’s coverage, for instance, or Slate’s. And in general it’s hard to find independent commentators who think that donating earmarked funds to Japan is a particularly good idea. Tyler Cowen probably comes closest: he says that there are no corruption worries in Japan; that sending money is an important signaling mechanism showing US solidarity with Japan; and that even though you could give unrestricted funds instead, you probably won’t, and that therefore something is better than nothing.

But substantive debate was something sorely missing in the comments to my post, which rapidly generated into a startling series of ad hominem attacks on myself personally — I’m evil, I’m racist, I deserve to die, I should be fired, that kind of thing — interspersed with other comments pointing out that the attackers didn’t seem to have read and understood what I’d written.

Where did all those comments come from? I suspect that a lot of them came from people following a link from Facebook, where my story showed up like this:

facebookgrab.tiff

There’s no nuance there, just a stern-looking headshot, a stark headline, and what looks very much like gratuitous provocation. People who have donated money to Japan, or who have friends or family in the affected area, are naturally going to respond aggressively if they see something like this. By the time they click through to the actual article, it’s too late for my argument to carry the day: they’re angry, and they’re going to express that anger in my comments.

Those comments were particularly effective because they were read, by myself and by many other people inside and outside Reuters. That’s not always the case, online: if you’re a writer or editor for HuffPo or Yahoo, the volume of comments is simply too great to even think about reading them all. So if a comment thread degenerates into a flame war, people tend not to notice as much. Even in my own case, I get thousands of comments on posts which are republished on Seeking Alpha, and generally read none of them.

But I’m very proud of my commenters here at Reuters, I respect them a lot, and know full well that on any given subject I have many readers who are much smarter and more knowledgeable than I am. And it turns out that when I get a large number of commenters who aren’t regular readers of my blog, it’s hard to snap out of the habit of reading them with a certain degree of respect.

My blog is a place for pretty high-level debate and discussion surrounding issues in the news. It assumes, for instance, that people implicitly understand the orders of magnitude between the amount of donations being targeted at Japan and the amount of money that it’s going to cost to rebuild the country and aid the victims of the earthquake and tsunami. Or that Japan, with its overvalued currency and too-low inflation, would actually welcome any short-term inflation and depreciation which came from printing money to pay for reconstruction.

But while these are familiar concepts to my blog’s regular readers, they’re not necessarily familiar to people on the internet more generally. “There’s nothing you can do to help” is never a pleasant message to convey, and people tend to react strongly against it. On top of that, decades of fundraisers sending the message that “every penny helps” have clearly done their job — which is to conflate, in the public’s mind, the act of helping with the act of donating money, to the point at which a message of “don’t donate to Japan” is read as saying, in substance, “don’t help Japan.”

Would it have been better, then, for me to make the same point less forcefully? A large contingent of the commenters on the post think so: they’re the ones saying that the message is fine, but the headline is insensitive and needlessly provocative in a time of great emotional turmoil and strain. I’m torn on this one, but I think that in general sugar-coating and euphemism are invidious: if you’ve got something you want to say, you should just come out and say it. And given that it’s impossible to know in advance when a post is going to break out from my normal readership, the result of such a policy would surely be a lot of unnecessary and harmful self-censorship.

On top of that, as Nick Denton never fails to remind me, commenters are by no means representative of readers as a whole. If a tiny fraction of 1% of the readers of the post have a strong negative reaction to it and leave angry comments it, that’s entirely consistent with 99% of my readers understanding exactly what I was trying to say, and maybe even learning something and viewing the world of aid and philanthropy in a way they hadn’t thought of before.

In hindsight, I do wish that I’d spent a bit more time on the post instead of rushing it out between panels at SXSW. But I doubt that would have made a huge amount of difference. In future, though, I think I will be more conscious of how the headline and first two sentences of my posts are likely to come across on Facebook. When I’m aggregated by humans, they make sure to get the message across quite clearly. But Facebook’s bots aren’t that smart, and the message can easily be lost completely.

More From Felix Salmon
Post Felix
The Piketty pessimist
The most expensive lottery ticket in the world
The problems of HFT, Joe Stiglitz edition
Private equity math, Nuveen edition
Five explanations for Greece’s bond yield
Comments
40 comments so far

For the record, I’ve found your posts on charitable contributions including the Japan post to be illuminating. The entire subject was one that I was not up to speed on and you provided some very useful information. I thought the Japan post simply extended your previous thoughts on the subject and did not evidence any hidden agendas.

Given the shots I’ve taken at you from time to time, I know how thick your skin is. Don’t let any of this change that for a second.

Posted by TomLindmark | Report as abusive

great postmortem post Felix. It’s precisely because the title of the original piece was provocative that when I shared the link to my FB page, I actually pasted another section of your post rather than the bits that reuters (or FB) chose, nevertheless that still brought out a stream of comments where people seemed to take your title to heart a bit too much and as you said here, by the time they read to your actual thoughts (and plea for donations to MSF), they were too coloured against your position to really take it to heart.

Posted by GregHao | Report as abusive

It’ll blow over, Felix. Don’t censor yourself.

-E

Posted by EricVincent | Report as abusive

I always read the posts before reacting, but sadly, many people don’t. I thought the angle you took was unusual, but interesting and worth discussing.

Japan has a problem at the moment of too high a value for the Yen, and sending more foreign currency into Japan makes this worse. That slows exports, and that is not helpful. Of course, the other problem is that while the savings rate in Japan is incredibly high (huge retired population) the government has a deficit and can’t balance the books – yet needs $200 billion to rebuild after the triple disaster.

Not a good place to be right now.

Posted by FifthDecade | Report as abusive

SXSW? Ewwww……………

http://www.dangerousminds.net/comments/r iot_at_sxsw_death_from_above_1979_show/

Keep the faith, Felix

;)

Posted by crocodilechuck | Report as abusive

What happened to my post? It was here before, now its gone. Censored?

Posted by FifthDecade | Report as abusive

Whatever. Just don’t ever stop with the “In future”-s.

Posted by Uncle_Billy | Report as abusive

90% of the blowback wouldn’t have happened with a more judicious headline. The content of the post could have been better — but pretty much all blog posts could be better, because the nature of them is that they’re written at speed. But the headline doesn’t actually accurately summarize what you were saying.

Posted by enplaned | Report as abusive

Don’t be hard on yourself Felix; that headshot is hardly “stern-looking”. In fact, the hairdo and general bemusedness reminds me of Beaker the Muppet (in a good way).

Your charitable giving posts always remind me to give ELSEWHERE since no doubt the flows to the affected region will syphon off the overall charity spigot quite dramatically.

Posted by TinyTim1 | Report as abusive

I don’t think your evil, a racist or anything of that nature. You made an error in judgement under duress. OK that is something I do as well. I fully understand what you wrote in your original article and I think most people get what you intended to do.

I don’t think you should be punished just educated in a good way.

No one disputes that you have to sometimes stake out an unpopular or controversial opinion. After you wrote your first (don’t donate) article I had never heard of you. Not wanting to be uninformed before I wrote my “negative” post about your article I researched and read a good deal of your work, researched your background with the intent to understand how you could write your “Don’t Donate to Japan” article.

Your other articles cut across a wide range of topics and I thought “Good analysis and reporting!”.

The criticism wielded at anyone who posted in the comments that they did not fully understand what you had written and that your intent was to make a point to not earmark funds when you donate would ordinarily be accepted. However it was abundantly not clear that was your original intention.

And yes the media response to the article was in general agreement with you that earmarking funds was not a good idea. Unfortunately much of the response beyond the mainstream media focused not on the earmarks but on the headline… “Don’t Donate To Japan”.

Also because of the title and the way the content was presented it appealed to a few (in my mind) unsavory sites that seemed more jealous about the previous economic success of the Japanese people and in addition to using points from your article suggested they got some kind of nature induced retribution.

Posted by helpforjapan8 | Report as abusive

Felix: I was informed and inspired by your post, and I, for one, made a non-earmarked donation.

I am sorry your point was misunderstood, but I will be even more sorry if you cut back on the straightforward clarity of your writing, or shy away from unpopular viewpoints.

Posted by ajcpi | Report as abusive

People really want to believe they can make a difference and being told they can’t is provocative. There isn’t enough money in the world to quickly counteract the spreading of radioactive contamination (which is really why this disaster continues to be front and center, unlike, say, the Chilean Earthquake of last year). So I second the suggestion to go easy on yourself. OTOH, at least money is fungible — unlike, say, shipping the unused items in your closet to Nicaragua after a hurricane.

I resist all targeted donations except to organizations that have been on the ground in the location before and will still be there after the disaster (on the theory that the local population affected by the disaster just got needier and so increased the organization’s work load or logistical difficulties). This was the premise for my donations after the Haitian earthquake.

It annoys me to be called by CARE et al. asking for funds in the wake of the “unprecedented” scale of a particular disaster. My usual response is to say that I donate every year, in December, and my giving is relatively generous and matched to my means.

Posted by rb6 | Report as abusive

Felix, I thought you could have expressed yourself better. When talking about mortgage servicing, it may be useful to take a strong and controversial stance. When talking about disaster relief, it makes sense to tread a little more gingerly lest your (valid) points get lost in the emotional response. For this reason I avoided commenting on that thread.

More later, perhaps. Time to run.

Posted by TFF | Report as abusive

A little surprised at the length of this post, bit whiny for you Felix.

I think you misjudged the original one and came across as a cheap journalist trolling for page-views. Your current audience, which is somewhat select didn’t like you for it and when you got the page views you appeared to crave you discovered an audience you didn’t want. They’ll go back to the tabloids in due course but the lesson is of course be careful what you wish for.

Posted by jonners | Report as abusive

I sympathize – you are right on facts and logic. Being nerdy and unemotional, I can see your point.
But I have lived long enough, and there is another empirical fact – people are emotional, and when talking about life and death people will paint any dispasionate analyis as uncaring.
I am an atheist, but I always tell people I know who are dying that they are in my prayers (which is true; I just don’t believe they are effective). People who are dying don’t need my analysis of religion and reality.
That doesn’t mean I can’t express my view at other times and other places which lend themselves to dispasionate discussion.

Posted by fresnodan | Report as abusive

The only regrettable thing, I think, is that your essay got boiled down to an ill-fitting headline. But honestly, that’s because you yourself boiled the argument down to a not-entirely-well-fitting lead paragraph. If you had opened more forcefully with “give unrestricted money to global charities,” and made something like that your headline, I think you would have made out much better.

That doesn’t stop being good advice, by the way, and it’s as needed now as ever. For instance, I was out getting a haircut yesterday, and I saw a banner hanging out over the shop next door: “SHOE DRIVE FOR JAPAN.” Shoes? We’re now sending _shoes_ to Japan–shoes that probably sailed right _past_ Japan to get to the States in the first place? It’s perfectly insane.

Send a check to Doctors Without Borders or the Red Cross or whoever you like, and send it to their general fund.

Posted by ckbryant | Report as abusive

Felix – I made this account just to assure you that your Japan funds blog did make a difference! I think that people are so used to having underdeveloped countries be the [unintentional] target of such tragedies, that we’re honestly completely ignorant of how to handle a disaster centered around a society and economy that are, in some ways, more advanced than our own.

I know people in Japan, and have long respected that amazing country. I’ve spent hours online trying to get in touch with people and make sure they’re alive and safe. Through all that, as well as seeing who was really doing what over there, and with the help of your blog, I came to the decision that the best thing I could do was start making annual donations to Doctors Without Borders (MSF). I think that–in a case like this especially– it’s not the rush of donations that will make the difference, but the money that was given in the “downtime” that enables a group like MSF to respond so quickly in the first place. Also, their most notable work happens every day around the world–it’s a lot easier to respond to a huge tragedy, knowing people will generally back you up; it’s a lot more difficult to struggle against human rights issues and face general problems on a daily basis.

I’m usually a super-sensitive person, and I didn’t find the tone of your post to be apathetic or generally offensive. I think you presented all the facts in a clear, concise manner, allowing me to make the best decision possible. Thank you!

Posted by Maevrim | Report as abusive

Mr. Salmon,

An interesting post. My only complaint: Please don’t hide behind the “self-censoring” argument; it is perfectly possible to make your argument without resorting to the type of shock journalism your title fit into this time. It is also perfectly possible to become a well respected commentator without resorting to these tactics.

The English language is very nearly infinitely variable. You always self-edit based on your perception of your readership, without calling it self-censorship.

It’s also okay, and gentlemanly and civil and mature, to just say you are sorry and move on.

Posted by flerg777 | Report as abusive

@helpforjapan8 – wow! Talk about many things to respond to here…

1. You say: “You made an error in judgement under duress. OK that is something I do as well. I fully understand what you wrote in your original article and I think most people get what you intended to do.” – This clearly shows that you do not ‘get’ the original post. There was no error in judgement nor was the post made in duress. If anything, as Felix himself said, the post was made in haste.

2. nobody is talking about ‘punishing’ Felix Salmon, unless you mean having his threads be trolled.

Posted by GregHao | Report as abusive

I donated to a church group based in Japan. They simply bought blankets and other supplies from stores in unaffected areas and loaded up trucks and started making deliveries into the crippled areas, sometimes driving through mild radiation zones.

A lot of people were helped even while the government response was still being organized.

Posted by DanHess | Report as abusive

you wonder what happened? Seems simple to me: your emotion (anger) was reflected right back at you. Must be an interesting experience for an opinion writer.

Posted by nls | Report as abusive

“decades of fundraisers sending the message that “every penny helps” have clearly done their job — which is to conflate, in the public’s mind, the act of helping with the act of donating money, to the point at which a message of “don’t donate to Japan” is read as saying, in substance, “don’t help Japan.””

2 wrinkles worth highlighting here: per several commenters, especially @fresnodan , it might be worth confronting the essentially irrational way people think about these topics with a little more technique. Yglesias is very good on these sorts of issue — see e.g. his ongoing comments on the value of monarchy for providing a harmless outlet for a tenacious near-universal craziness. Second, by attacking the nastiness that underlies so much charity — a sort of morals-laundering via money, pay me so you can feel good about yourself and we agree not to look too closely at what you’ve actually done — you are doing a service, and outrage is a natural byproduct.

Posted by SamPenrose | Report as abusive

The title of the article makes me curious that is why I read it and posted it in Facebook. The only thing that comes into my mind is — “Japan is wealthy and they can easily recover. But where do they get the essentials?” Japan has money to buy clean water, but where? Japan has money to buy food but is it safe? These are their needs, can they buy it in their area? NO.. Who can bring these stuff? NGOs. Red Cross is one of the most popular. And how to do they help? By using the donations that was given to them. Would you still give money to Japan?

I am agreeing because they are all based on facts. And it was not published because this writer has a racist opinion. Read the article, understand what it says and try to analyze before you speak or comment.

Posted by bk_felix | Report as abusive

I have found this to be a very delicate issue to write about as well. I’ve been very careful in what I’ve said because of that. My post, Why waiting to give to Japan is a good idea http://goodintents.org/disaster/why-wait ing-to-give-to-japan-is-a-good-idea had nowhere near the backlash that your post received. However, as an aid critic and donor educator, I have had a lot of other posts that have enraged people.

After the earthquake in Haiti, I told people not to send stuff or go to Haiti, but instead give to an organization already in Haiti and with experience in the area they propose helping. As a result I had one blog accusing me of wanting Haitians to die so I could sell their organs on the open market. An online magazine told me to “go blog yourself” because they were headed to Haiti with lifesaving sunglasses.

In America, we have a lot of myths about aid an development work. And when you challenge those tightly held myths people get mad because in doing so you challenge part of their world view. And a lot of that world view reflects back on themselves and where they think they fit in the world.

Posted by Saundra | Report as abusive

Felix,
As one of your long time readers I understood your intent and ideas about donating money to Japan. You are not a political pundit with an extreme view trying to get attention nor are you a person insensitive to the devastating tragedy in Japan. You have a different view about the economics and value of donations. It is good to have discussions about how to respond to a crisis rather than blindly throwing money at a problem.

I felt compeled to write because I wanted to let you that I really enjoy your posts and that this controversy will not affect my readership of your blog.

Posted by Ninja | Report as abusive

Hi Felix,

I too am a long-standing fan, and I would like to give you a note of support and sympathy. Your article was not perfectly clearly written, but on a topic like this most people will think with their heart not their head, with poor results.

It was interesting, and a bit ironic, that one of the early virulent critics said something to the effect of “I hope you fall over and break your leg, Felix, and we’ll see if you want help then.” But this is exactly (one of) the points: if I were to break my leg I wouldn’t want people to give me money. I have enough money to pay a doctor etc. What I need is help getting to a doctor, and it would be better if they helped with that.

It seems to me Japan is in a similar situation: they can afford fuel and food, they are (or were) just having trouble actually getting it delivered.

Posted by paralever | Report as abusive

I agree that for many people “don’t send money to Japan” probably sounded too much like “don’t help Japan.” Obviously, that is not what you intended. You might also want to refer to some of the emerging literature that challenges the usually unchallenged assumption that humanitarian relief is unambiguously good.

This book is really provocative:

http://www.amazon.com/Crisis-Caravan-Wha ts-Wrong-Humanitarian/dp/0805092900/ref= sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1300797208&sr =8-1

While this is more relevant to man-made disasters (think Rwanda), it is useful in the case of natural disasters as well: even when offering relief, we often have an agenda. I worked closely with a church group that provided support to a Haitian community and let’s just say I came away with a lot of questions and reservations about the net good that we, and charitable organizations generally, were doing.

It would not surprise me if Japan didn’t want money not just because it is itself wealthy and contributes a lot to international relief of natural disasters, but because it doesn’t want to deal with other people’s agendas.

Posted by rb6 | Report as abusive

Think of some other blogger and you’ll feel better. Example: if Paul Krugman doesn’t receive death threats after his blog post, that means either:
a) NYT website is down
b) Krugman’s mail server is down

Posted by Developer | Report as abusive

Bravo Felix,

Great article however I am surprised at the those that could not get past the headline and properly digest your analysis.

It really is about the proper and efficient allocation of resources during a time of crises. The hard truth is that Japan does not need our money. It is a wealthy nation that can raise Billions of dollars with one phone call. Japan’s current problem is one of logistics, getting resources to where they are needed most. So unless you have a spare aircraft carrier with heavy lift helicopters, or can teleport heavy earth-moving machinery across the Pacific, perhaps your generous cash donations are better spent elsewhere (MSF comes to mind).

Also re the SocksforJapan guy, http://jasonkelly.com/helpjapan/, I understand he is being well intentioned but talk about a massive waste of resources. It boggles the mind to think that someone would think it was a bright idea to start up an NGO in order for Americans: 1) to purchase in America; 2) socks made in China; 3) at a marked up price using american dollars; 4) then pay $7 a pound to ship those Chinese made socks back across the Pacific to Japan. You should read some of the comments on their website where people have bought all these socks then balk at the idea of spending $200 just to pay for the freight to ship them over to Japan.

It seems to me that the more efficient way to accomplish the same task would be to accept donations, then purchase socks directly from a manufacturer in china and have them sent in bulk directly to Japan. Of course that would take all of the feel good spirit out of the donation experience.

Posted by SitkaBear | Report as abusive

I found the content of the post engaging and smart, but think that the headline had the opposite effect of what you wished to communicate. I believe your post was intended to boil down to: “Don’t Donate to Japan, Donate Somewhere Else” but I believe people more likely saw “Don’t Donate Money to Japan” and just absorbed “Don’t Donate.”
http://www.brigidslipka.com/2011/03/give -because-of-japan/
The comment-ire was one thing, but I thing the worse impact were the many folks who probably glanced at the headline and as a result of that ended up not being charitable anywhere at all. Rather than encouraging nuanced giving, the post likely had the effect of encouraging no giving.

Posted by BrigidS | Report as abusive

If you have a defensible position (read: backed by GivingWell) that you think will ultimately do more good for innocent people than harm, and you have the means then I think you’re obligated to say it. I applaud you for writing it.

Posted by zanchema | Report as abusive

Felix, I am one of those people who found your article informative and enlightening but failed to leave a (timely) supportive comment. You must know that your piece did goog. In the last week I had many conversations about aid to Japan with people around me and your article gave us a useful framework and language for those discussions. In the end, we came out to be more informed well-wishers and donors (deciding to the Doctors without Borders, for instance), but the conversations were far harder than I anticipated. And this was the case even when those in conversation with me were intellectually (not education attainment) ready to engage the issue without necessarily thinking that those expressing a nuanced opinion on aid are “arrogant, calculating, and cynical” people. This is an emotionally charged issue and I am not so sure how far we can get away from the signalling aspect of this. But we need a voice of reason on the Internet so don’t be hard on yourself.

Posted by rd3498 | Report as abusive

Felix, I think there’s one important thing here which is :
Do you have a double standard ?

If the answer is no, you treat all disasters fairly wherever they occur, then the important question becomes :
Can you tell us where is your former blog post where you told people coldly and unemotionally to *not* give for the Katrina victims because it would be inefficient ?

And if no such post exists, then maybe you should make a soul inspection and reconsider whether or not you have a double standard.

Posted by jmdesp | Report as abusive

“that’s entirely consistent with 99% of my readers understanding exactly what I was trying to say”

That’s pretty presumptuous of you. I think 1% got angry, 1% agree with you, and the other 98% think you are a clown (like I do).

Oh, you’re SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much smarter than the rest of us, Mr. Salmon! Wish I could get a job writing senseless drivel about whatever pops into my mind.

Posted by MerrillGrinch | Report as abusive

Felix-

Stick to your guns. The article was fantastic. The points you made were spot on. There needs to be more questioning of aid in general.

Your audience and fan base are not made up of the people denigrating you, while having failed to spend the 3 minutes necessary to read your piece. There are many thousands of lazy people on Facebook who will jump on anything worth jumping on if they’re bored. Don’t worry about that.

Posted by kryptonik | Report as abusive

Wow, are there ever a lot of self-important people commenting on this, and the previous, article.

To paraphrase an earlier poster: Yes, it does sound insane for Americans to send Japan shoes, or socks (as Mr. Salmon referenced in an update of his earlier piece) that were made in China, imported overseas to the U.S., sold in the U.S. at an inflated price, and shipped back across the Pacific at an inflated cost. Yes, that sounds insane… until you realize that it’s a heck of a lot better than doing nothing at all.

People want to help in a tangible way. They want to lift the spirits of those affected in a tangible way. Yes, it may be economically inefficient at best or “insane” at worst to do so, but how people in Japan have you helped today, commenters?

Sending socks and what not has already brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. How much joy have your comments and talk brought to those affected? Stop talking and start acting. If there’s indeed a better way, then do something about it.

Posted by ScottRP | Report as abusive

I am from South (aka West) Japan.

I am sending his original article to Japan newspapers and make sure this is known.

Media can be a wonderful tool for the public – making our lives fuller, interesting, informed. But when it is used with irresponsible acts by those who can make a big impact to the audience, it produces a panic, even impossible to function as humans (thus not helping others).

This has happened in Japan.

If Felix wants to be so famous, be our guest.

Posted by Motojiro | Report as abusive

Felix, your follow-up to the original article is weak and self-serving. You state that the article was written while rushing between panels of SXSW(a music festival)…

While you were rushing at SXSW the Japanese people were rushing to save their lives and find their lost loved ones.

As a professional journalist, your excuse was sad, but clearly all you could come up with.

Your headline was shameful and irresponsible as was your statement that Japan is a rich country and didn’t need help.

You were misunderstood? No Felix,as a professional writer your ability to communicate a topic well is all you have. And under the banner of Reuters your obligation for clarity and integrity is a requirement.

I didn’t find your article on Facebook, I found it on CNN. So your message wasn’t “lost”…

Having trusted Reuters for as long as I could read the news, you, Mr. Salmon have created doubt in their ability present a topic objectively and with clarity.

Posted by globalamerican | Report as abusive

And you didn’t even say you were sorry.

Posted by globalamerican | Report as abusive

For brilliant reportage, with many chilling, and also encouraging, photographs, see:

http://jasonkelly.com/2012/03/one-year-l ater/

Sadly your hasty post was misjudged – thanks for re-visiting it.

Posted by Lagoonboy | Report as abusive
Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/