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Title: Ronald Ikejiri Interview
Narrator: Ronald Ikejiri
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: February 6, 2019
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-461-19

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: I want to get to the White House and doing this, but before doing that, anything else in terms of the media that you want to talk about or Congress?

RI: Well, in terms of media, back in that time in the late '70s, media was not like the media that you have today. Media was more of a situation where they spent time learning more about the historical background, and reciting it in such a way that it is politically, historically correct. Today, people take a lot of liberty and just slapping something out there. It's like al dente, you slap it against the wall and it sticks, it sticks, and we're going to roll with it, and it's really sloppy. And, to me, it's not journalism and it's not correct, and maybe it's the way of the times right now, but it's not a way to run a democracy, it's not a way to educate public people on opinions. And so, too often, now versus then and what I liked and enjoyed about the media then, we spent hours talking about it. You wouldn't just have lunch, you'd have a lunch and have a cup of coffee afterwards, said, "What do you think about this?" "How about that?" "How would this play out?" and the rest. And so there was a lot of thought into, not devious thought, but thought about how would this play? And they're always looking for balance. You didn't need CNN, MSNBC on one side, and Fox News on the other, the one reporter would report on both sides, and that, to me, was honest, fair journalism. And that, at that time, was what we received. So if you get a hard question from the Washington Post or the New York Times or something from the San Jose Mercury, the San Jose Mercury, "What can we say about Norm Mineta that will not make him look good?" I said, "Well, you called the wrong person, you got to call the San Francisco office or something." The things that... it's just one of those things where they want to find out where you can make someone look bad.

TI: So why would San Jose do that? I mean, Norm was there.

RI: Doesn't matter, why does the L.A. Times go after... it's just, that is just the way journalism is.

TI: Sells newspapers.

RI: Sure. And it's critical. But you know, it's just like this, the Sacramento Bee wants to know how Congressman Matsui's doing on certain things, I said, "Oh, good question," she calls chief of staff, because I don't know. So much of politics really, when I would go to a congressional office, and they would say, "Oh, Bob talked to me on the floor the other day that you might be coming by, so please talk to the staffperson," they'll brief me on it, that's fine. All you want to do is people have open doors. And I'll tell you, Congressman Mineta, of all of the members of Congress that I know, is the only one that opens doors and holds the door open for you. Many people in politics open the door, they go through it, and they make sure it's shut and no one else is getting through. Congressman Mineta never had a problem in making as many people, and I'm not talking about the Nikkei community, I'm talking about just people, go through the door. He has opened doors and careers and opportunities for people that we will never know. And that, to me, is why there's just an abiding support for Norm, and there always was for Sparky and Dan. They just did things, not because of themselves -- there's not one thing, I don't think Norm, if Norm sat down, sitting in a tent with Senator Alan Simpson at the time at Heart Mountain. Said, "Well, somebody I'm going to be a Congressman, and someday I'm going to become Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Transportation," I don't think he'd ever... you don't dream those things. And so we're just fortunate.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2019 Densho. All Rights Reserved.