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Oct 06

China Yearns to Form Its Own Media Empires

Written by guest on Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 at 4:23 pm
Filed under:-guest-posts, -mini-posts |
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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/05/business/global/05yuan.html

When many people think China and media industry, many would probably be right to think that it would be a paradox. It seems that China’s government is encouraging consolidation of the media entertainment industry and possible partnerships with Western companies to create a media industry within the China’s market. The question is that would these Western Media companies would work within China and comply with Chinese laws and governance? Many of the Tech companies working within China are already doing that. Cisco has supplied the technology for their GFW. Google’s search engine within China blocks out sensitive information like the TS 1989 incident. Yahoo has provided China information which lead to arrest of an Chinese dissident. My guess that many media companies who are looking to do business in China would comply with China’s laws and censorship. What do you think?


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66 Responses to “China Yearns to Form Its Own Media Empires”

  1. Charles Liu Says:

    Here’s what Professor Rowen said about composition of China’s media in his report “The Growth of Freedoms in China”:

    http://iis-db.stanford.edu/pubs/12015/Rowen_revised_2001.pdf

    “China had 2,053 newspapers and 7,999 magazines by the end of 1998, with a total circulation of 30 billion and 2.5 billion respectively. The number of newspapers represents a tenfold increase from the two hundred China-based newspapers that existed fewer than twenty years ago. At the top of China’s newspaper empire are the several major mouthpieces of the Party, including the People’s Daily and the Guangming Daily, whose influence has been declining due to competition from the less Party-controlled and more reader-friendly local newspaper”

    BTW, 6 4 Tiananmen incident is not blocked (at least not right now):

    http://www.baidu.com/s?wd=6+4+%CC%EC%B0%B2%C3%C5+%CA%C2%BC%FE

  2. pug_ster Says:

    Saw this on Chinadaily about “safeguarding rights of foreign media.’

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-10/09/content_8771532.htm

    I am kind of troubled by this.

  3. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Unfortunately, the NYT article was pretty clear in suggesting that the news media would be off-limits to any restructuring.

  4. FOARP Says:

    Murdoch has been trying for years to get into China, with no success despite the concerted efforts of his son and his (Chinese-born) wife. It seems to me that entry of Chinese media into other markets is likely to be hampered by the simple idea that foreign markets should not open to China until China opens to foreign markets.

  5. Jerry Says:

    @FOARP, @S.K. Cheung

    I am sure that Western media and MSM are looking carefully at the business climate and political climate in China, before investing in media partnerships.

    Tip of the chapeau to FOARP, who published excerpts from a David Bandurski article, Is Communist Party “propaganda” a relic of China’s past?, out at the Chinese Writers thread. The following excerpt might give me great concern if I were preparing to invest in a media venture in China.

    From the May 10 edition of the official Beijing Daily with a report laying out “propaganda” guidelines for coverage of the 60th anniversary of the CCP.

    ####

    “Carrying Forward the Spirit of Patriotism and Adhering to Correct Guidance of Public Opinion to Create a CCP Anniversary of Soaring Spirit in a Social Atmosphere of Harmony”

    Making an inspection yesterday at Beijing Television and the Beijing Bureau of Xinhua News Agency of preparations for news and publicity of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPC and Beijing Municipal Party Secretary Liu Qi (刘淇) demanded that [media] powerfully carry forward the spirit of patriotism and adhere to correct guidance of public opinion, creating a soaring spirit, joy and serenity, and a harmonious and civilized atmosphere for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China by publicizing the glorious achievements and successful experiences of the capital city . . .

    Liu Qi emphasized that news and publicity departments must tightly adhere to the events and topics as determined by the Central Party, publicizing the resplendent journey since the founding of the new China 60 years ago, carrying forward the spirit of patriotism and upholding correct guidance of public opinion, publicizing the glorious achievements and successful experiences of the capital city, singing loudly the main themes of praise of the party, of socialism, of economic reforms, of our great mother country and of our various peoples . . .

    David further remarks, “… just one from among scores of articles over the last week alone dealing with media policy at the local level …”.

    The blatancy and audacity of the above excerpt just boggles my mind and sensibilities. Imagine the White House sending Rahm over to the NYT to deliver the same message. I can hear the howls and screams now.

    Not only do you have to worry about the ramifications of your China subsidiary’s news reporting in China, but you have to worry about the ramifications of reporting on China in your own country. Imagine the NYT, getting called in by some CCP bureaucrat because they don’t like an article by Frank Rich. They don’t like what he said about China. Or because the NYT ran an op-ed by John Mearsheimer, who is no friend of China.

    Why wouldn’t the NYT have reservations about making a media investment in China? Some freedom of the press. And ChinkTalk thinks that “Western freedom of expression is a joke.”

  6. hzzz Says:

    Most western media are run as private businesses. They have a bottom line and they must cater the their audiences. I don’t see why the likes of NewsCorp, CNN, wouldn’t cater to Chinese government’s regulations in order to expand their businesses into China. This is especially true of NewsCorp. While it produces some of the highest rated entertainment shows, It’s not like FOXNEWS is a highly regarded news organization anyway although it does have the biggest market share in the US. If anything, that just illustrates that at least Americans like to watch news which reflects what they want to hear, as opposed to hearing the truth.

    I do feel odd though, when I see people disregarding news in China altogether just because some of it are pure propaganda. It’s ironic because the same people have no problems with news organization like Free Radio Asia, which is completely pure propaganda funded by foreign governments, in the interest of foreign governments. Even when you talk about respected organizations like the BBC world news service, while it claims to be free from political control it is still funded by the British government and is tasked to help promote British view of foreign policy. In other words, at the end of the day the British government still see it as the means to further the British government’s interest. At times its coverage seem like one-sided propaganda as well.

    I see so many arguments on the Chinese related boards where the anti-China crowd simply reject any type of news they don’t like just because the source is Chinese media. This type of behavior is no different than the right winger in the US rejecting anything they don’t like as “that liberal propaganda”, and is exactly the reason why FOXNEWS is so popular.

  7. FOARP Says:

    ” . . . . the BBC world news service, while it claims to be free from political control it is still funded by the British government and is tasked to help promote British view of foreign policy.”

    Errr. . . . . No. The BBC is funded by the license-payer, not the government, and promotion of government policies is most definitely not one of its tasks.

  8. hzzz Says:

    @FOARP

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_World_Service
    “The World Service is funded by grant-in-aid through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by the British Government[2] — unlike the BBC’s domestic radio and television services, which are primarily funded by a compulsory licence fee levied on every household in the United Kingdom using a television to watch programmes as they are being broadcast.”

    ..

    The UK Government spent £225 million on the World Service in 2005. This spending of the British taxpayers’ money by the Government was justified by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1985. According to Hansard, the journal of the British Parliament, in an answer to a question in the House of Commons, Mrs Thatcher said: “The World Service earns every penny we put into it, by promoting our world-view and policy. It has done so in the past and will continue to do so in the future”.”

    What do you suppose “promoting our world-view and policy” mean here?

  9. FOARP Says:

    Hadn’t known that the world service was government funded, although given the expensive nature of broadcasting in so many foreign languages it is not surprising. Still, if you listen to it you will here the same fairly balanced reportage that you get on the BBC’s ordinary broadcasts. The British government does not exercise any degree of editorial control over the BBC’s broadcasts, and the BBC has been at the forefront of uncovering government mis-deeds and failures on many occasions. One sentence said by one Prime Minister (who herself was a regular victim of the BBC and who often complained of what she saw as bias against her in the BBC) doesn’t prove anything.

  10. Steve Says:

    @ hzzz #6: You wrote, “It’s not like FOXNEWS is a highly regarded news organization anyway although it does have the biggest market share in the US.”

    Actually, FOXNEWS is the highest rated cable news network, not the highest rated news show. That means its ratings are only higher than CNN, MSNBC and no one else. Of course, they try to trump this up as something special but the great majority of Americans get their news on the network stations, not on cable. Being that FOX is the only news network that caters to conservatives, it gets all of that group while the other stations split the vast majority. If you look at the actual viewer numbers, they’re not that high.

    Why do you feel Radio Free Asia is “pure propaganda”? Because it tells stories that are banned by the Chinese government? Because it is financed by foreign governments? That isn’t propaganda so I’m not sure what point you are trying to make. I believe you are mixing up government financing with government censorship.

    Your last paragraph made no sense. If someone wants to watch one TV station over another with a different viewpoint, that isn’t propaganda nor is it censorship, that is simply choice. But if there is only one station or viewpoint to watch and that viewpoint is controlled by the government, then we’re talking about propaganda. Chinese media always speaks with one voice so there is never any differing viewpoint to compare with and no basis to accept what is reported as valid.

  11. pug_ster Says:

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-10/10/content_8776561.htm

    I wonder how many of Western News agency are ‘accurate, objective or impartial?’

  12. FOARP Says:

    @Pug – Right, you link to China Daily and then question the accuracy, objectivity, and impartiality of the western media. Words fail me.

  13. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To hzzz and pugster:
    here we go again, i guess, eh?

    “demanded that [media] powerfully carry forward the spirit of patriotism and adhere to correct guidance of public opinion, creating a soaring spirit, joy and serenity, and a harmonious and civilized atmosphere” (part of Jerry’s excerpt in #5) — is this something you would hear in “the west”, wrt “western media”?

    In #6, hzzz asked why people “simply reject any type of news they don’t like just because the source is Chinese media”. I think the above quote tells you why. And even with news I did like, I’d still question it if it came uncorroborated out of Chinese media.

  14. hzzz Says:

    “I think the above quote tells you why. And even with news I did like, I’d still question it if it came uncorroborated out of Chinese media.”

    First of all, un-collaborated info doesn’t necessarily mean false info. Finding a contradicting piece of information is the way to prove something is false. Claiming that Chinese media is always false just because there are no verifications just show that you have a strong bias.

    Now, if you look at the news coverage of the Iraq war, from the toppling of Saddam to the news from the battle front, almost all of the news have been fed by the Pentagon and Pentagon only. The so called “independent” media had to travel with the soldiers and had to report only on certain topics. Forbidden subjects, such as photos of the US soldiers were confiscated by the government. How is that any different from what China is trying to do except that the US/British media don’t admit to this to the public? Does this mean that you wouldn’t believe anything which the US/British media broadcasts about Iraq?

    Moreover, if you are the type who truly care about verifications of data, a lot of the stuff western media reports on China have been hardly verified. The numbers off insurgents/freedom fighters killed by the police during riots for example, are rarely questioned when it comes from the anti-Chinese lobby groups. MT had an article a while ago which mocks the figure which Uighur lobby group claimed the Chinese police had killed. The discussion quickly moved from the lack of due diligence from the Western media to Chinese media censorship. What I don’t get is how can one justify the other. Just because the Chinese media is censored doesn’t mean that the Western media should be biased. If you read my previous posts I have mostly advocated for more press freedom in China. Why don’t I see all of you folks who bash China for its censorship also bash Western Media for its more than often inaccurate reporting especially regarding Chinese ethnic conflicts?

  15. hzzz Says:

    “Why do you feel Radio Free Asia is “pure propaganda”? ”

    Fine, it may not be PURE propaganda but looking at the website there are more than heavy doses of propaganda. Nevermind RFA’s origin as the US propaganda machine funded by the CIA during the cold war days, I think the following quote sums up the situation well:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_Free_Asia

    “Catharin Dalpino of the Brookings Institution, who served in the Clinton State Department as a deputy assistant secretary deputy for human rights, has called Radio Free Asia “a waste of money.” “Wherever we feel there is an ideological enemy, we’re going to have a Radio Free Something,” she says. Dalpino said she has reviewed scripts of Radio Free Asia’s broadcasts and views the station’s reporting as unbalanced. “They lean very heavily on reports by and about dissidents in exile. It doesn’t sound like reporting about what’s going on in a country. Often, it reads like a textbook on democracy, which is fine, but even to an American it’s rather propagandistic.”

  16. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To hzzz:
    “First of all, un-collaborated info doesn’t necessarily mean false info” — first of all, where exactly did I say that uncorroborated = necessarily false? It’s yet another attempt to debate against something which I didn’t say…. that tendency seems more virulent than H1N1 around these parts sometimes. Uncorroborated means it’s out there, awaiting independent confirmation. I’m not sure where my bias lies in that statement, though yours is pretty clear from your statements. Now, when a government “demand[s] that [media] powerfully carry forward the spirit of patriotism and adhere to correct guidance of public opinion, creating a soaring spirit, joy and serenity, and a harmonious and civilized atmosphere”, I’m certainly more inclined to want healthy corroboration before accepting their word. Now, if you’re happy to buy it hook/line/sinker, by all means be my guest. To each his own.

    Your Iraq War point conflates reporting of an anniversary celebration with war zone reporting. First of all, the news is not all from the Pentagon; you even acknowledge the presence of embedded journalists who travel with the front line soldiers. I certainly do not expect to hear/see time-sensitive stories that might jeopardize a military operation, or the safety of the soldiers involved therein. I think many people, if not most, would accept that constraint on media operations in a war zone. If you disagree, again, that’s your prerogative.

    “How is that any different from what China is trying to do except that the US/British media don’t admit to this to the public?” — see above. And I don’t think the anniversary celebrations constitute war zone reporting, display of military assets notwithstanding.

    “Does this mean that you wouldn’t believe anything which the US/British media broadcasts about Iraq?” — that depends. But when they report the military claiming to have hit an Al Qaeda target, for example, they usually include a statement that the information was not verified, or was not verifiable. So the listener/viewer can be the judge. I’d rather that than the government demanding that the media blow hot air up my back-side. Again, if you would choose differently, power to ya.

    “Moreover, if you are the type who truly care about verifications of data, a lot of the stuff western media reports on China have been hardly verified.” — there’s a big difference between knowingly reporting unverified information and reporting information that a regime makes difficult/impossible to independently verify. The former should obviously be criticized. The latter is far more gray. If you have a source that you can’t corroborate not for a lack of trying, but because the Chinese system prevents you from so doing, what would be your suggestion?

    “Just because the Chinese media is censored doesn’t mean that the Western media should be biased.” — then as I suggested above, you should be the first to demand not only Chinese media freedom in CHina, but also the freedom for foreign journalists to operate. In fact, that does seem to be happening to some extent if you compare the CCP response to March 2008 vs July 2009. Suffice it to say that there’s a long way to go.

  17. hzzz Says:

    “Still, if you listen to it you will here the same fairly balanced reportage that you get on the BBC’s ordinary broadcasts. The British government does not exercise any degree of editorial control over the BBC’s broadcasts, and the BBC has been at the forefront of uncovering government mis-deeds and failures on many occasions. One sentence said by one Prime Minister (who herself was a regular victim of the BBC and who often complained of what she saw as bias against her in the BBC) doesn’t prove anything.”

    Yes, I listen to BBC world service regularly through NPR in the US, usually when I drive. Conservatives everywhere have been complaining about the BBC’s liberal bias for a while now but that’s not the point. I think the Western media with BBC as one of the more respected outlets are generally biased and unfair when it comes to reporting on ethnic tension in China. By unfair I mean presenting a piece of news (ie. a riot) in an one dimensional context with clear pro/antagonists when that is hardly the case. Other pieces of reporting on china in general are fair even if they are negative.

    As for what Thatcher said, we call that a Freudian slip.

  18. hzzz Says:

    “I think many people, if not most, would accept that constraint on media operations in a war zone. If you disagree, again, that’s your prerogative.”

    I absolutely agree with this. But then if I apply the same logic to say, reporting on a race riot in China where to me it would be a warzone, you are the one who would disagree and criticize the media constraint.

    “The latter is far more gray. If you have a source that you can’t corroborate not for a lack of trying, but because the Chinese system prevents you from so doing, what would be your suggestion”

    I would not agree or disagree with a piece of news. I may repeat something but not with a strong conviction. I would certainly stop repeating it if it has been dis-proven. What I don’t like about the Western media and its defenders is the fact that they are too thin skinned to admit their obvious bias. When it comes to reporting on China, I view both Chinese and western media the same as I view FOXNEWS. They are biased, but it doesn’t mean they are not accurate. This is exactly why I think it reading news from both China/anti-China view points matter.

    “then as I suggested above, you should be the first to demand not only Chinese media freedom in CHina, but also the freedom for foreign journalists to operate. In fact, that does seem to be happening to some extent if you compare the CCP response to March 2008 vs July 2009. Suffice it to say that there’s a long way to go.”

    If you followed my postings you would find that I have been advocating for less censorship in China all along. I don’t care too much for the western journalists, but freedom of speech would improve efficiency and combat corruption.

  19. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Hzzz:
    “But then if I apply the same logic to say, reporting on a race riot in China where to me it would be a warzone, you are the one who would disagree and criticize the media constraint.” — We could debate what is and isn’t a war zone till we’re blue in the face. To me, a “race riot” is not a war, hence it’s not a war zone. The latitude I would give to journalists in a war zone is to not jeopardize operations or soldiers. But if a story does not affect those aspects, then usual journalistic standards should apply. WRT race riots, what I criticize is China’s constraint on media reporting, and their ability to corroborate their stories and sources. If China prevents them from doing their job, that’s not the media’s fault. If they have every opportunity to corroborate their story, but fail to do so, then it’s the media’s fault. How often do you think it’s the former, and how often the latter? If you want to compare China’s handling of race riots to war zone reporting, then how might reporting of the riot jeopardize the riot? While the war zone constraints protect soldiers and operations, what do China’s race-riot media constraints protect?

    “I may repeat something but not with a strong conviction.” — and how would you do that? To me, indicating that a story is uncorroborated fits the bill.

    “I would certainly stop repeating it if it has been dis-proven.” – with a caveat of what you consider to be “disproven”, I agree.

    “What I don’t like about the Western media and its defenders is the fact that they are too thin skinned to admit their obvious bias.” — and what I don’t like about the term “western media” is that it is meaningless broad. And what exactly is their bias? Sometimes it seems people equate criticism with bias.

  20. Rhan Says:

    No hard feeling, I wish I could learn more on the genuine distinction between bias and criticism, and a little bit about propaganda.

    The US “solved” their native American problem by simply killing them – a process that started from Jamestown in the 1600s to the 20th century. At a time when the US was fighting for independence on the basis that all men are created equal with inalienable rights, George Washington was instructing his commander – a guy called Sullivan – to exterminate the Iroquois Indians (The minority and weak should thank god Mao never learn America history). When Iowa was established, the first governor had the skull of the local Blackhawk chief displayed on his office desk. The California government paid 5 dollars for each native American scalp. Right up to 1972, Navaho Indian babies were taken away to be raised among White families in order to erase their culture. Once upon a time, the Cherokees decided to heed white man’s “advice” and adopted their lifestyle: they gave up their leather clothing and wore white man’s clothes, gave up hunting and started using the plow, gave up tepees and lived in European-styled homes. Many communities built churches and became Christians. What happened? Their lands in Georgia were too fertile, and there were rumors of gold, so they were forcibly uprooted and moved further West to Oklahoma (the name means “Indian land”). The journey took place in wintry weather, and lack of food and clothing killed thousands of them. Today, it’s known as the “Trail of Tears.” This was the last attempt at genocide, before the massacre of Indians at Broken Knee (read Dee Brown’s “Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee”).

    Okay, I admit this is the past but what about the happening today. Suffice to say that there aren’t too many believers now that there’s no WMD in Iraq, or signs of Saddam’s missiles that were supposedly pointed at the West, or his “mobile germ-making lab,” or during the first Gulf War, babies being hurled on the floor by Saddam’s men (the witness turned out to be the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador). So powerful and insistent is Western propaganda that numerous web sites have sprung during the past few years “proving” that Islam is a rotten, terroristic religion, that “Islamofascists” are threatening the world. When Israel bombed Lebanon, there were all-out attacks here on the Hezbollah, who were blamed for sparking the conflict with their kidnapping of some Israelis, forgetting that kidnapping Arabs had been an Israeli hobby. The Western media has glossed over the million Iraqis who’ve died, the tens of thousands of refugees that resulted. Few people know that the civil war was aided by the terrible massacre at Falluja, which drove survivors to already congested cities, thus sparking the Shia-Sunni conflict (the two groups had never loved each other in the past). And now, in addition to cluster bombs and depleted uranium, nuclear “bunk busters” are being contemplated for use in Iran.

    If we don’t break the monopoly of the Western media to divert world attention and to justify their subversion of other countries, with the ultimate aim of invading them, what’s going to happen in the near future? Hence we shall acknowledge our thanks to the West for the invention of Internet, and this is how we derive the opportunity to have some grip on Western Media and their hypocrisy. That said, I didn’t mean Chinese Media is not bias, but I prefer to call it 五十步笑百步 (any volunteer could help to translate this?)

  21. Jerry Says:

    @hzzz #14, @S.K. Cheung #13 #16

    SK, Bandurski’s article, from which you quoted, makes me even more skeptical of Chinese media. Thanks to the blatant Liu Qi, most doubt, if not all doubt, has been removed about whether or not Chinese media is credible. I just love it when someone is totally clear. Guesswork is such a bother! 😀

    Hzzz, you wrote:

    “First of all, un-collaborated info doesn’t necessarily mean false info. Finding a contradicting piece of information is the way to prove something is false.”

    Uncorroborated does not necessarily mean false. Correct, hzzz. Contradiction does not necessarily prove false.

    Let’s talk about Iraq war coverage. SK makes excellent points in his response to you (#16). I will not repeat those. Shrub’s administration, Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld made some decisions about war news coverage (e.g., embedding) which legendary journalist Gay Talese, I and many others disliked and protested. I prefer giving the reporters the choice between “embedding” and being independent. Nonetheless, even with the onerous “embedding” restrictions, the reporters did a decent, fair job, in spite of it all. Embedding can easily lead to sanitized war reporting and thus many oppose it.

    Then there were experienced war correspondents like Chris Hedges who opposed the Iraq War from the get-go. The NY Times (he wrote for the NYT for nearly 20 years) reprimanded him in 2003. How many independent thinkers and actors does Chinese media have? Who aren’t in jail for doing so?

    “had to report only on certain topics”

    The embedding was used by the Bush administration to contain the media in the 2nd Iraq war. Embedding contains the scope of what a reporter knows or sees. As far as I know, there was no prohibition against “certain topics”.

    Somebody should have remembered to tell Chris Hedges, Juan Cole, Scott Ritter, Richard Clarke and Sy Hersh that they could report on only certain topics! Damn. 😀

    “Forbidden subjects, such as photos of the US soldiers were confiscated by the government.”

    Small distinction here. Pictures of body bags and coffins were forbidden. Again, I and many others protested. But then again, Rummy was part of the Nixon regime. The body bags coming out of Vietnam helped turn the American public opinion against Nixon and the war.

    Remember the 4 Blackwater contractors who were burned to death at Fallujah? The pictures of those corpses were all over the news. And it was ugly.

    Remember Rummy getting dressed down by the media for trying to block the torture photos from Abu Ghraib?

    “US/British media don’t admit to this to the public?”

    Admit what? The public knew about embedding and the prohibition on photos of body bags and coffins.

    “a lot of the stuff western media reports on China have been hardly verified”

    How do you credibly report on a country whose government is intentionally so covert and so unwilling to allow access to the foreign media? If you are prevented from getting in or coming back to China, what do you do? You report the best you can. And which western media are we talking about?

    Furthermore, if China plays the “covert game”, it is natural for people to become suspicious and skeptical.

    BTW, who or what is MT?

    “Why don’t I see all of you folks who bash China for its censorship also bash Western Media for its more than often inaccurate reporting especially regarding Chinese ethnic conflicts?”

    How do we know what is accurate or inaccurate when the western media is reporting on China; they have little access? How do we know what is accurate or inaccurate when reported by Chinese media. It is mostly conjecture on our part. Westerners are accustomed to “checks and balances” which allow reporters to uncover issues which others try to hide. Think Watergate. Think “Iran-Contra” scandal.

    Please give foreign journalists free rein in China. Over time, we will get a more credible picture of China.

    And as SK says, “what I don’t like about the term “western media” is that it is meaningless broad”. If there are bad actors at a certain media outlet, let us call them out. The western media and even media outlets are not monolithic.

    Some general comments:

    The US media is too consolidated for my liking. I like a more independent MSM. I have said this numerous times.

    When FoxNewsless or the NYT reports inaccurately on some subject in the US, there are a myriad of ways to confirm the veracity and credibility of the report.

    When we finally get fed up with a president, a senator, a representative, a governor, etc., or find somebody better, we have the power to “throw the bums out”. We have the right to read or watch the media of our choosing. I wish that the Chinese had the same rights and powers.

    The citizenry of a country, must be prepared to challenge and when necessary, overthrow entrenched power and plutocracy, whether in the US or China. This is part of eternal vigilance. Critical-thinking citizens must stay engaged and be prepared to challenge those in power. Even Obama.

    Wouldn’t it be comforting to the citizens of Beijing to have the power to “throw Liu Qi out on his ear”? Wouldn’t that give politicians something to think about in China?

  22. Jerry Says:

    @Rhan #20

    Some quick comments.

    I am disgusted with the mistreatment of many Native Americans/Indians by Brits, French, Spanish, Americans, Canadians, etc. since our great land, North America was discovered. No question.

    But you might want to actually learn American history before you abuse it. You wrote:

    At a time when the US was fighting for independence on the basis that all men are created equal with inalienable rights, George Washington was instructing his commander – a guy called Sullivan – to exterminate the Iroquois Indians (The minority and weak should thank god Mao never learn America history).

    There were 6 Iroquois nations: Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, Oneida and Tuscarora. The Brits/Loyalists were allied with Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. The Americans were allied with the Oneida and Tuscarora. Starting to get a clue as to where we are going? Hmmm … 😀

    Why would Washington order Sullivan to ransack 40 villages belonging to the Brit Iroquois nations? If I follow your illogic, it must be because Washington did not believe in the rights of those Brit Iroquois. But why did he believe in the inalienable rights of the American-allied Iroquois? You might want to read up on the Cherry Valley Massacre.

    Could it possibly be because the Brits/Loyalists and Brit Iroquois were ransacking American settlements and ransacking the villages of their brothers, the Oneida and Tuscarora. They looted and killed American settlers and their brother/sister Iroquois. Sounds like a problem to me, and Washington had to come up with a solution.

    War is hell and Washington needed to put down the attacks of Brits/Loyalists and Brit Iroquois. Sometimes, in war, it is exterminate your enemy before he exterminates you.

    This is a little bit different than your misrepresentation.

    Regarding “The minority and weak should thank god Mao never learn America history”, the Chinese would have been much better off if Mao had learned about the history of George Washington.

    Washington, rather reluctantly, agreed to run for and won a second term as president. He refused to run for a third. There were many in Congress who wanted to make him president for life, a virtual American “king”. Washington would hear none of it. He knew where absolute power would have led. And he wanted no part of that. This was long before Lord Acton warned, in 1887, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    China would have been better off, IMHO, if Mao had followed the example Washington had set and/or had listened to Acton. Instead, Mao seized absolute power. The rest is history. Many Chinese died and suffered as a result of that absolute power wielded by Mao.

    Furthermore, not all Native American Indians were peaceful. Some brutally massacred other American Indians and white people.

    I don’t have time right now to fact-check the rest of your assertions, Rhan. I am very aware of the events you have quoted. But I am very skeptical and suspicious of your assertions/spinning after your imaginative reconstruction of American history circa the Revolutionary War.

    Final comment. The topic about Native American/Indians has been much discussed here at FM. I think what you have devised here is a dodge/ruse to divert attention from China and its media. IMHO, you are cherry-picking certain American/Western historical events to somehow use them as a PR shield for China’s actions, issues and problems. Clever! But hardly novel out here at FM.

  23. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Rhan #20:
    I know you speak with emotion and not logic. But #20 takes that to new heights (or depths, depending on your POV). Jerry #22 has already excoriated you on your first paragraph. And his last paragraph aptly sums up whatever it was you were trying to do with your first. ‘Nuff said.

    “Suffice to say that there aren’t too many believers now that there’s no WMD in Iraq” — that’s exactly backwards. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find somebody still squawking about WMD’s now.

    “So powerful and insistent is Western propaganda that numerous web sites have sprung during the past few years “proving” that Islam is a rotten, terroristic religion, that “Islamofascists” are threatening the world.” — what have you shown to establish the existence and reach of what you’ve suggested with the first 7 words? That notwithstanding, what have you shown to establish a causal link between those 7 words and the rest of your sentence. Most people I listen to/read do not suggest that Islam condones violence. It’s interesting sometimes to see where your emotions take you.

    “The Western media has glossed over the million Iraqis who’ve died, the tens of thousands of refugees that resulted.” — and yet you and I are both aware of those facts. I guess they didn’t do a good enough gloss-job on that one.

    “Few people know that the civil war was aided by the terrible massacre at Falluja, which drove survivors to already congested cities, thus sparking the Shia-Sunni conflict (the two groups had never loved each other in the past).” — I suppose you are one of those “few people”. I guess in your mind, few people know how to read. Yet another interesting conclusion borne of your emotions.

    “monopoly of the Western media” — that’s taking a meaninglessly broad term (to which I alluded in #19), and raising it by another meaninglessly broad one. It’s doubly meaninglessly broad. Well done.

  24. admin Says:

    Well, I think if we refrain from generalizing the Western media, probably we should also keep in mind that Chinese media are not monolithic, either. For example, People’s daily and Southern Metropolis Daily are quite different.

    Since Iraq war and WMD have been brought up, I’d like to ask a question that has puzzled me for a long time.

    In 2006, three years after the invasion, 50% Americans believed Iraq had WMD, up from previous year’s 36% (
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/07/AR2006080700189_pf.html). Interestingly, from the data, we can say (at least) 14% of the population, who apparently were not brainwashed by the Fox News, etc. in the previous year, had a change of mind. So why a free press did not result a well-informed public? and what has been changed so today’s media is more trustworthy?

    Recently, I read a comment on wildgoosejournal (http://wildgoosejournal.wordpress.com/2009/07/14/reflex-and-reflection/) and I think he made many good points (quoted below)

    … Chinese media are generally unwilling — and most likely unable — to engage Western criticism on the merit — it’s an inherit and inevitable deficiency due to their “mouthpiece” nature. And as far as the fenqings go, one might argue that by not “deconstructing” the opposing argument and go over it point by point, they’re practically conceding all the points they don’t contend. So in the end, it’s not doing them any good.

    But again, when you look at the other side, the supposedly independent and objective Western media generally don’t engage China’s arguments on the merit, either. It seems that the invisible hand of “political correctness” is just as paralyzing as the semi-visible hand of the Central Publicity Department. The ridiculous notion that the mere willingness to discuss the opposing argument would lend credibility to it is by no means just a Bush idiosyncrasy, it’s universal. (One of the reasons for its popularity, of course, is because it provides a convenient hideout for people who are unsure whether they could indeed win the argument if they do engage.)

    For instance, the West’s response to China’s characterization of the Dalai Lama has a double-talker has always been either indignation or mockery, even though it is in fact a serious argument supported by ample evidence. The fact that his exile began after a failed armed uprising which was part of a larger CIA-sponsored guerrilla campaign that continued for years, if not decades, is a matter of public record; yet it finds practically no mention every time the West repeats its praise for the non-violent nature of the Nobel Peace laureate. Last year the Dalai Lama was caught in a huge, incredible lie when he claimed to have never demanded the withdraw of all Chinese troops and the deportation of all non-Tibetans from the Greater Tibet, as the speeches in which he made those demands can be easily googled. This contradiction was of course immediately and repeatedly highlighted by the highest level of Chinese officials, yet till this day no Western media has confronted His Holiness — or the exile Tibetan government — on this issue.

    Because of the high profile nature of the case, I cannot believe that any halfway competent journalist who covers Tibet could be unaware of it. The only conclusion, therefore, is that the entire Western (mainstream) media are intentionally closing its eyes and pretending the whole thing never happened.

  25. Raj Says:

    admin

    So why a free press did not result a well-informed public?

    Why would it? A free press can’t force people to think in a certain way.

    It’s more about allowing people to report the news independently of government control. If the American press/TV had been controlled the way the Chinese media is, it’s almost certain they would have been forced to largely keep quiet about the real WMD situation in Iraq and allowed the US government to monopolise the domestic discussion on the subject. They might have also been encouraged/forced to denounce foreign reporting that contradicted the official story.

    As things stand, the American press’ freedom allowed sections of it to report on WMD much more easily.

  26. Rhan Says:

    Jerry,
    Didn’t I used the term minority and weak? Hence can I call your envisage of “the Chinese would have been much better off if Mao had learned…..” a cherry-picking certain Mao/China historical events to somehow use them as a PR shield for US/West’s actions?

    Take your time to check, FM is open 24 hours 7 days.

    SKC,
    First of all, thanks for the understanding but I can’t be sure yet if my writing is purely emotion and no logic, the rebuff from readers shall make this clear.

    Instead of using term like or sentence like “backwards”, “emotions take you”, “meaninglessly broad term” and “well done”, why can’t you do what Jerry did, try to debunk my assertion with facts? Simply because you and me know is not deem a good gloss? Whereas if the very few know but you don’t know then it become “another interesting conclusion borne of your emotions”? In short, to ensure that i will be subservient to your views, I must not act emotional?

    Hey friend, have I overestimated your intellectual capacities?

  27. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Rhan,
    you’ve caught on to the key phrases, yet you’ve neglected to read the text that came before each one. Allow me to show you (yet again)…

    ““backwards”” — as in (#23 para 2) “that’s exactly backwards”, which was in response to your statement (““Suffice to say that there aren’t too many believers now that there’s no WMD in Iraq”) to which my response was “I think you’d be hard-pressed to find somebody still squawking about WMD’s now.” Feel free to respond at your convenience…take as much time as you need.

    ““emotions take you”” — as in (#23 para 3) “It’s interesting sometimes to see where your emotions take you.” That came at the end of a paragraph where I challenged you to justify this statement (““So powerful and insistent is Western propaganda that numerous web sites have sprung during the past few years “proving” that Islam is a rotten, terroristic religion, that “Islamofascists” are threatening the world.”). Again, take as long as you need, since I think you’re gonna need it.

    “meaninglessly broad term” — to which, as mentioned, I had alluded to in #19 in this way (“what I don’t like about the term “western media” is that it is meaningless broad”). This is not a new concept from me…I’ve referred to it in prior threads, and people like Jovian elsewhere and Admin here in #24 seem to agree. And hey, as I said, if you can coin a phrase that’s doubly meaningless, surely a congratulatory phrase like “well done” seems in order, and highly deserved.

    “The Western media has glossed over the million Iraqis who’ve died, the tens of thousands of refugees that resulted” : okay, so the fact that 2 people know about this apparently doesn’t disprove a gloss-job. Well, since it’s your statement, perhaps you can provide a definition of “gloss over” and some substantiation that something meeting your definition of same has in fact occurred. After all, it’s your statement, and it behooves you to back it up; you can’t run around making willy-nilly statements then leave the onus on others to factually disprove your willy-nilly-ness.

    “another interesting conclusion borne of your emotions” — in reference to your “Few people know that the civil war was aided by the terrible massacre at Falluja…” So, how few is few? It happened 4 or 5 years ago, there’s a movie, it seems to be a matter of public record.

    Dude, you’re on record on this blog for suggesting that you would eschew a logical position for an emotional one. At least you seem true to your word. I have no interest in your subservience to my views (please tell me you don’t think this is what this blog is for). But if you’re going to make statements like you’ve done, you shouldn’t be surprised by scrutiny. And it’s probably true that emotional statements stand up less well to such scrutiny than logical one. But you do what you gotta do.

    I can’t speak to your intelligence. But I can say that you’ve left a lot of questions unanswered, and #26 didn’t make up much ground.

  28. dewang Says:

    Guys,

    I’ve highlighted admin’s comments, #24. To me, the Iraq/WMD argument is extremely valid. If we want to see a powerful China that do not repeat the atrocities committed by the United States in the future, then this “free press” problem in the U.S. is worthwhile examining. Especially, if China’s media continues marching towards a more capitalistic (“free”) form.

    Raj – #25 – that’s a no answer answer – at least for me. I would say, people in the developed countries equate “free press” with “moral press.” In this case, it is clearly not.

    Please, you have to find within your hearts to look at from the perspective of the innocent Iraqi’s who died, who lost their parents and have to fend for themselves.

    To me, this is a very basic “human rights” principal that all should understand.

  29. Jerry Says:

    @Rhan #26, @S.K. Cheung #23 #27

    Take your time to check, FM is open 24 hours 7 days. (#26)

    Rhan, I am not your babysitter, teacher or fact-checker. Period! SK covered many of your other assertions with a very good analysis and summary. I only have one other item to flesh out.

    Regarding Iraqi deaths and refugees, you missed a few items. I am aware of the ongoing survey reported in Lancet which estimated, in 2004, 98,000 deaths related to war. In 2006, the survey reported 650,000 war deaths. In 2008, Opinion Research Business reported 1,030,000 war deaths. Iraq Body Count currently estimates 102,000 war deaths.

    Furthermore, your statement in #20, “the tens of thousands of refugees that resulted”, is an underestimate of epic proportions. UNHCR estimates 4.7 million Iraqis have been displaced since 2003; around 2 million Iraqis left their country altogether. The Iraqi government estimates 5,000,000 orphans. The war in Iraq has created a disaster.

    Now, you may ask, where did I originally and continue to hear/read this? Various newspapers and blogs which are based in the US, Canada, Britain and Germany. NPR, CPB and PBS. Ah yes, the much loathed, monolithic “Western Media”! :: tongue seriously in cheek LOL:: 😀

    ####

    “a cherry-picking certain Mao/China historical events”

    Rhan, you and I certainly have different definitions of cherry-picking. That is, if you have a definition? I get the impression you said it because I said it. 😀

    “China would have been better off, IMHO, if Mao had followed the example Washington had set and/or had listened to Acton.” (#22)

    My statement still stands.

  30. Rhan Says:

    SKC,
    1. “Backward” – There are now three on this thread that squawking about the very backward WMD/Iraq.
    2. “Emotion take you” – You don’t have to challenge me, ask around your Muslim bro if you do have any.
    3. “Meaninglessly broad term” – Okay, majority rule
    4. “The Western media has glossed….” If you think my statement is categorized within the willy-nilly scope, please ignore it.
    5. I put in some effort to write something and make some statement instead of playing the role to validate and scrutinize the logic of others. I am happy with what I am doing and hope you feel the same too.

  31. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Rhan:
    1. I said your initial statement in #20 was backwards; not that the topic of WMD/Iraq was backward, whatever that’s supposed to mean. In the context of my statement in #23, “squawking about WMD” meant using the excuse of their presence to justify the Iraqi invasion. That’s very different than people talking about the subject, as they are doing here. What is the impediment to your capacity for comprehension?

    2. “You don’t have to challenge me, ask around your Muslim bro if you do have any.” — that is a pathetic statement. And clearly you’re not up to the challenge.

    3. no idea what that’s supposed to mean. If you don’t like my characterization, then challenge it. Not entirely sure what you’re doing here. Are you?

    4. your wish is granted. But before it’s ignored, still had to point out its willy-nilly-ness.

    5. “I put in some effort to write something…” — try harder.

  32. Jerry Says:

    @admin #24, @Raj #25

    Admin, I read the article from the 2006 WaPost titled Half of U.S. Still Believes Iraq Had WMD. Here are several snippets from the article.

    … The reality in this case is that after a 16-month, $900-million-plus investigation, the U.S. weapons hunters known as the Iraq Survey Group declared that Iraq had dismantled its chemical, biological and nuclear arms programs in 1991 under U.N. oversight. That finding in 2004 reaffirmed the work of U.N. inspectors who in 2002-03 found no trace of banned arsenals in Iraq.

    … “I’m flabbergasted,” said Michael Massing, a media critic whose writings dissected the largely unquestioning U.S. news reporting on the Bush administration’s shaky WMD claims in 2002-03.

    “This finding just has to cause despair among those of us who hope for an informed public able to draw reasonable conclusions based on evidence,” Massing said.

    Timing may explain some of the poll result. Two weeks before the survey, two Republican lawmakers, Pennsylvania’s Sen. Rick Santorum and Michigan’s Rep. Peter Hoekstra, released an intelligence report in Washington saying 500 chemical munitions had been collected in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.

    … Conservative commentator Deroy Murdock, who trumpeted Hoekstra’s announcement in his syndicated column, complained in an interview that the press “didn’t give the story the play it deserved.” But in some quarters it was headlined.

    Like most stories, you have to look beyond the title. Especially if you want context.

    ####

    Raj, in #25, hints at some root causes when he writes, “Why would it? A free press can’t force people to think in a certain way.”

    I happened to find this op-ed in the LA Times last month. It was titled “One man’s rumor is another man’s reality“.

    Here are a few snippets from the op-ed piece.

    … The real truth is that, as weird as they are, rumors and conspiracy theories can only thrive in the minds of people who are predisposed to believe them. Successful propagators of fringe theories don’t just send random balloons into the atmosphere. Rather, they tap into the preexisting beliefs and biases of their target audiences.

    Plenty of studies have shown that people don’t process information in a neutral way — “biased assimilation” they call it. In other words, rather than our opinions being forged by whatever information we have available, they tend to be constructed by our wants and needs. With all their might, our minds try to reduce cognitive dissonance — that queasy feeling you get when you are confronted by contradictory ideas simultaneously. Therefore, we tend to reject theories and rumors — and facts and truths — that challenge our worldview and embrace those that affirm it.

    It’s easy to assume that lack of education is the culprit when it comes to people believing rumors against logic and evidence — for instance, that Barack Obama, whose mother was an American citizen and whose state of birth has repeatedly said his birth records are in good order, isn’t a legitimate American citizen. But one 1994 survey on conspiracy theories found that educational level or occupational category were not factors in whether you believed in them or not.

    … He cites a 2004 experiment in which liberals and conservatives were asked to examine their views on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. After reading a statement that declared that Iraq had WMD, the subjects were asked to reveal their views on a five-point scale, from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree.”

    Then they were handed a mock news article in which President George W. Bush defended the war, in part by suggesting that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. After reading that article, participants were also asked to read about the CIA’s Duelfer report, which showed that the Bush administration was wrong to think Iraq had such weapons. Finally, they were again asked their opinion of the original statement on the same five-point scale.

    What the researchers found is that the outcome depended on the participants’ political point of view. The liberals shifted in the direction of greater disagreement, while the conservatives showed a significant shift in agreeing with the original statement. As the researchers put it, “The correction backfired — conservatives who received the correction telling them that Iraq did not have WMD were more likely to believe that Iraq had WMD.”

    … But in the meantime, don’t forget psychologist Knapp. “To decry the ravages of rumor-mongering is one thing,” he wrote, “to control it is yet another.” Pass it on.

    This is reminiscent of the marvelous treatises of the famous Swiss psychotherapist, Alice Miller. She wrote a book, “For Your Own Good”, which attempted to explain why a) Hitler turned out to be a monster, b) Hitler was able to come to power, and c) why so many good Germans, German intellectuals and scientists shut off their reasoning and intellect when confronted with Hitler. She placed a lot of blame on the pedagogic style of child-rearing. I am not sure how much is due to child-rearing and how much to causes we have still not discovered.

    I read that book over 25 years ago and it still haunts me. IMHO, there is something so primal, so irrational, in the subconscious and emotional areas of the psyche. At times, humans, in spite of their reasoning and intellectual faculties are overwhelmed by their emotional and irrational side. Some people seem more vulnerable to this than others. Maybe it is some hard-wired defect in emotional intelligence, discipline and maturity. Who knows?

    Bad news, guys. This happens in Chinese, Americans, Canadians, Europeans, East Asians, Israelis, Middle Easterners, Central Asians, et al, wherever humans exist.

  33. FOARP Says:

    Why is it always articles on the media which bring these nonsensical re-capitulations of American history out of the wood-work? Is it me or was the original subject of this thread the Chinese media? Is it me or is the Chinese media subject to uniform political control on what they can or can’t say which cause concern when discussing the extension of China-owned media groups into other countries? Is it me or do people just seem to be firing off on things which happened almost three-hundred years ago during America’s war of independence because they would rather discuss that than the Chinese media, rather discuss Washington that Murdoch, rather talk about Mao than Xinhua, rather talk the KKK than the WTO? What then has this to do with the original post?

    And WMDs? Please, if you accept that all sides can make their case, then you must also accept that people may be convinced by arguments which are factually incorrect – is this so hard to grasp?

  34. Jerry Says:

    @FOARP #33

    Perhaps, because it is far easier and much more comfortable to switch subjects, create ruses and dodges, and even re-manufacture history than to look at what is happening, what exists. The human psyche, subconscious and the irrational are truly amazing, scary and mysterious, all at the same time. At least to me!

    Whatever! This is an uphill battle. What may seem so obvious to you, FOARP, isn’t so obvious to others. Every day is a gift. Some days you have to dig through a lot of dung before you find that gift. Keep on keeping on!

    And, yes, I get frustrated too, at times. I am just getting better at dealing with the internal ghosts which haunt me. Usually, making friends with my ghosts is better than fighting them. But sometimes I like a good battle. 😀 ::LOL::

  35. admin Says:

    @Jerry,
    I have read the article several times after the poll came out. The only explanation of the 14% increase offered by the article is the speculation that an intelligence report produced two weeks ago shifted public perception. If that were true, that meant at least 14% of the population, who had not believed in the WMD story, started to believe in it after a single story that only got the play in some quarters. Isn’t there something amiss?

    @FOARP,

    if you accept that all sides can make their case, then you must also accept that people may be convinced by arguments which are factually incorrect – is this so hard to grasp?

    Except that the case from one side was downplayed (eg. Blix report) while the US/UK propaganda was amplified in the mainstream media.

    @Raj,
    I also think free press is a good thing. But if free press does not by itself guarantee a more informed public, which is good for a society (hopefully we both agree on this one), then what could be done about that? And what China can learn from western media, both from their strengths and missteps?

  36. Rhan Says:

    SKC
    Your reply is as usual hunting for weak language, hallucinate logic regardless of surrounding, challenge for proven sources, asking for definition and seeking justification on statement. I may take a littler longer to get use to it so pardon my short reply. I will try harder on my next.

  37. Rhan Says:

    Jerry,
    Honestly I do learn a lot from your reply. You don’t have to babysitting me or anyone else if you think our comments doesn’t worth any response.

    I could have miscomprehended to your core notion that good means not necessary justify right goals. The extermination of native in the past, the invade of Afghanistan and Iraq at present and the possible attack of Iran, North Korea and China in future is justifiable as long as you have an unbiased and free media? The moment you express your regret of your past doing then you are in the right to criticize others for being bias and exerting control on their media though they choose to live their own life? I am now wonder if the killing of thousands and the result of millions refugee as reported in your non-bias media is an indication of tyranny or merely a claim of victory? Pray tell if your media could take the lead to end the war? Or they are just helping compiling statistic of death and refugee?

    I have no definition on cherry-picking. I agree with you that I am saying what you said, I never disagree with your stand. Would you disagree that Mao didn’t kill as much minority or native as what your forebear did?

  38. Rhan Says:

    Foarp / Jerry,

    In order to attain a goal, we need to go through a few process or step. Hence we need reference and make comparison. However I notice that most of the comment that criticize China and developing country is lean toward to cast doubt why we don’t immediately move into the final process. Our typical reply is based on the reference, you did go through process one, two, three and final process in order to reach that goal. And your typical reply is that our process one, two and three is wrong and we are sorry of what we did in the past but anyway, since we are now already attains our goal, I expect you to do the same and don’t repeat our mistake. So simple huh?

  39. Jerry Says:

    @admin #35

    Admin, you wrote:

    @Jerry,
    I have read the article several times after the poll came out. The only explanation of the 14% increase offered by the article is the speculation that an intelligence report produced two weeks ago shifted public perception. If that were true, that meant at least 14% of the population, who had not believed in the WMD story, started to believe in it after a single story that only got the play in some quarters. Isn’t there something amiss?

    First of all, any attempt at understanding human behavior and the human mind is fraught with mystery, complexity and frustration! 😀 Trying to understand group behavior is just compounding the attempt. Kind of like a logarithmic progression or a factorial progression (ouch!). And for me, similar to a journey into computational complexity.

    That said, something is amiss. First of all, the Santorum intelligence report explanation/hypothesis is the only one offered in the WaPo article. Other influences may be the hype surrounding a mid-term election in 2006, with primaries and campaigning occurring around the time of the survey. Then again, unlike the Pew China survey, we don’t know the questions which were asked, and the confidence intervals of the Harris poll. There are also factors which can distort any opinion poll, e.g., non-response bias, response bias, and coverage bias. Furthermore, were there were any similar polls which could corroborate this spike?

    Regarding something being amiss, how can anybody look at the massive amount of evidence compiled which showed no presence of WMD and believe contrarily? To me, that is the big question. You begin to wonder about those people’s ability to think critically and independently, if at all. Which is why I brought up the Rodriguez LA Times op-ed and Alice Miller in #32. “Biased assimilation” and the strange wiring of the human psyche may explain this phenomenon in part.

    That said, I turn to Capra and Feynman. Fritjof Capra wrote, in Turning Point, about, our “crisis of perception”. The underlying, root problem is that we don’t see the world as it really is. Richard Feynman wrote, “… The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” 😀

    Admin, you asked in #24 and #35:

    … So why a free press did not result a well-informed public? and what has been changed so today’s media is more trustworthy?

    …But if free press does not by itself guarantee a more informed public, which is good for a society (hopefully we both agree on this one), then what could be done about that?

    The job of the free press is to report, comment, cover professional bicycle road racing and cover the sport of baseball, IMHO. 😀 Not necessarily in that order. ::LOL:: Humans are responsible for the assimilation and processing of the information.

    There are no guarantees. Furthermore, I can’t understand why anybody would want to be ignorant and mindless. Why wouldn’t everybody aspire to the highest levels of critical thinking, wisdom and awareness? I can only guess and speculate.

    Let me finish with a quote from your WaPo link in #24:

    “I’m flabbergasted,” said Michael Massing, a media critic whose writings dissected the largely unquestioning U.S. news reporting on the Bush administration’s shaky WMD claims in 2002-03.

    “This finding just has to cause despair among those of us who hope for an informed public able to draw reasonable conclusions based on evidence,” Massing said.

    As you may remember, I warned you of the frustration which arises when you try to understand human behavior and the human mind. Massing shares your frustration.

    BTW, god bless Hans Blix, Richard Clarke and Scott Ritter! 🙂

  40. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Rhan #36:
    My “usual” quest is for precision in language, comprehensible logic, and justifiable statements. Admittedly, not a quest shared by everyone. If that’s not your cup of tea, by all means don’t strain yourself, and certainly not on my account.

  41. Jerry Says:

    @rhan #36 #37, @S.K. Cheung #

    Rhan, your comments to SK seem a non-sequitur and lack clarity. I believe that SK went out of his way to respond in detail to you. He gave voice to many of the same concerns I have. He was very lucid and very throrough.

    Let’s move on to #36

    “I have no definition on cherry-picking. I agree with you that I am saying what you said, I never disagree with your stand.” Rahn, if I want to have a conversation with myself, I can do that at any time.

    “Would you disagree that Mao didn’t kill as much minority or native as what your forebear did?”

    I am disgusted with how Americans over the past several centuries have mistreated Native American Indians. I am disgusted with how warlike Native American Indian have mistreated fellow natives and innocent Americans of whatever race, even before the first Europeans landed in North America. I am disgusted with how Mao, in his vainglorious and megalomaniacal lust for absolute power was responsible for millions of Chinese deaths and much suffering. I am disgusted with some of my fellow Jews and their mistreatment of Palestinians, who are our fellow Semitic brothers and sisters. I am disgusted by acts of terrorism by some Palestinians.

    I am a “democratic” critic!

    “The extermination of native in the past, the invade of Afghanistan and Iraq at present and the possible attack of Iran, North Korea and China in future is justifiable as long as you have an unbiased and free media?”

    Huh? What does that have to do with an unbiased and free media? Plain and simple, this is a non sequitur.

    “The moment you express your regret of your past doing then you are in the right to criticize others for being bias and exerting control on their media though they choose to live their own life?”

    There is no link between the two. That is an absurd statement, IMHO. I criticize when, where, what, why, who and how as I so choose.

    “I am now wonder if the killing of thousands and the result of millions refugee as reported in your non-bias media is an indication of tyranny or merely a claim of victory?”

    You are free to wonder anything you want, no matter how sane or how absurd. Your choice!

    “Pray tell if your media could take the lead to end the war? Or they are just helping compiling statistic of death and refugee?”

    No prayer needed. Some in the media, like Chris Hedges, then of the NY Times, criticized the then-impending war and, later, the war. So did Sy Hersh. Regarding statistics, one of their jobs is to report thoroughly.

    If you want to insult various parts of the “American media”, please feel free to criticize them directly. No point hiding behind surreptitious questions, is there? I would suggest that you consider addressing the 6 W’s when you do comment: who, what, when, where, why and how. As in: Who in the America media are you criticizing?

  42. Rhan Says:

    Jerry,

    “I am disgusted with how….” – A simple yes and no will help answer my question, though I know you are the kind that love to have a conversation with yourself.

    “Huh? What does that have to do with an unbiased and free media? Plain and simple, this is a non sequitur.” – If US does have an unbiased and free media, the extermination, invasion and attack shouldn’t happen. Do I every time have to feed you all with thorough answer?

    “There is no link between the two. That is an absurd statement, IMHO. I criticize when, where, what, why, who and how as I so choose” – Yes, there is, because your criticism is merely your opinion and not base on facts. And you are now trying to explain the whole thing with “can’t understand the human mind and human behavior”

    “You are free to wonder anything you want, no matter how sane or how absurd. Your choice!” – I am happy you respect my choice, and hope you do really understand what is mean by “Your Choice”

    “No prayer needed. Some in the media, like Chris Hedges, then of the NY Times, criticized the then-impending war and, later, the war. So did Sy Hersh. Regarding statistics, one of their jobs is to report thoroughly.” – I have to pray because there is no guarantee on many things and we can’t understand why anybody would want to be ignorant and mindless.

    How do differentiate “direct” and “behind surreptitious questions”? And to be honest again, I know very little of America media, my opinion is mainly base on what American and their government did, and from this I try to guess if their media is really that free and unbiased as they claim to be.

    Of course I will thank you for the suggestion of 6W, as I said, I learn a lot from your reply.

  43. Rhan Says:

    SKC, I am trying to understand you and your language more, but don’t worry I am not going to strain myself and pardon my lack of attentiveness to petty issue. Hope you help to clarify.

    1. “that’s exactly backwards” – What is the problem with a backward statement? Is this statement incorrect?

    2. “Most people I listen to/read do not suggest that Islam condones violence.” – The Muslim think that most non-Muslim believe that Islam condone violence, the secularist love website like faithfreedom and I can’t find even 1% of Malaysian Muslim that like America. Are you the usual imperialist flunkeys that always tell in a soft tone: Americans do not see Islam, its people, its religion, or its civilization as America’s enemy. Islamic militants, both religious and secular, do see America; its people, its religion, and its civilization as Islam’s enemy and American can only view these Islamic militants similarly. Btw, seem like you don’t have many Muslim friends.

    3. “Gloss” – The issue here is I am wrong to use the term gloss? You mean everything reported as of today is the truth and no gloss? Can I say the media did gloss a little bit during the earlier stage of the war?

    4. “Few” – To clarify again, your point is on “terrible massacre at Falluja” or few people? You mean there are many and not few that know? The “few” and “more” is our main point of discussion? Now I start to understand more about precision of language.

    5. “a meaninglessly broad term” – Is this a language precision issue or logic issue?

  44. Jerry Says:

    @Rhan #42, @S.K. Cheung, @Steve

    Some comments, Rhan, on #42.

    Imitation is the sincerest of flattery. Nonetheless, your context needs some work.

    I write as I please. Such are my whims.

    You are entitled to your opinions and I to mine.

    I always wonder what you are really thinking when you agree with me.

    You are free to guess as you would like. Since you seem to guess and “shoot from the hip” quite a bit, I would assume that those skills would improve over time. 😀

    Regarding your differentiation issue, I would recommend a good English dictionary.

    Remember to practice using the 6 W’s, if it so suits you.

    On #38, you asked about process. Life is a work in progress. And progress usually comes in small steps. And you can have any expectations you want. Be my guest. Just remember: Reality bites!

    ####

    I believe that Steve and SK are much better teachers for you than I. I pale in comparison.

    One last piece of advice comes from Albert Einstein.

    The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.

  45. Rhan Says:

    Jerry,
    I advocate democracy and free media as you do but I can’t be sure if this is the magic solution of the developing world especially if that country does have a history of warfare among race and ethnic. The fact that you lot view my opinions as sane, absurd and non sequitur is the end result of viewing the world through monocausal lens. A worldview that divides the world socio-political landscapes into bright and dark realms; us/them paradigms. I doubt your understanding of Asia, China and Muslim world is merely through your “western media”.

    If Sparta and Rome perished, what state can hope to endure forever? End of cold war deprived America of the evil empire against which it could define itself, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a possible decomposition of UK might lead America to the same fate as they are now less than 70% White and no more pure Anglo-Protestant. Thanks to the benevolent government that are kind enough to give citizenship to both Black and Native in the earlier nineteen century, and the welcome of huge influx of Hispanic and Asian, America is now become a true melting pot with multi-racial and multi-religion. The aged nationalism that binds their people together might come under threat and American starting to lose their identity. Sep 11 help to revive the fading patriotism and they found out that only a perpetual enemy could help to preserve an everlasting empire. Hence the solution is war after war and hunting for enemy.

    China might face the same crisis but they know the horrible consequence of the same option, as they went through this not long ago. They make use of economy development and propaganda to prevent such occurrence and hopefully, the ignorant and mindless would eventually wane with the improvement of living standard and education. I guess that the path is toward democracy plus socialistic kind of welfare state with profound infused of Confucianism ideology and of course the technocrat would not give up Legalism to avoid the warring means.

    I am from a country that comprises of different race, affirmative action that benefits the native and majority is the institution of our government economy policy. The objective as comment by one fellow commenter “The affirmative action is the necessary tool to redistribute wealth and create a more equitable society. It would never have happened under a laizzes faire system, the very system that perpetuated inequalities that led to 1969 racial riot. No one is saying the policy was the panacea to all our economic inequalities but no one will deny that it had positive impact on society in more ways than one.” However anyone with rational mind would know very well that this kind of policy will lead to corruption, nepotism and ruin of economy dynamism as merit is no more a decisive factor. To allow a total free press may induce condemnation among race cause by the unfair treatment that incite racial tension and lead to another racial riot that kill many. I was groom in such an environment that lead me to believe that logic and rational may not work in all condition. You may call it absurdity but in the end, you have to make a choice that pays out the fewer prices. I know reality bites but our environment compels us to always try to see the reason and background of certain issue before making any conclusion, in short, we try to be more empathy to see things from a different perspective.

    When I said I agree with you, I mean your lecture on Washington, I do read Washington. At the same time, I think Mao is one of the greatest leaders that China ever has. I think we can agree to disagree.

    Now back to imitation.
    We presume free media -> informative public -> wise decision
    And logically, bad decision <- not informative public <- bias media
    To reconcile the two, your reply is that “no guarantee and can’t understand why anybody would want to be ignorant and mindless”? Perhaps US media is not that unbiased as you believe? Or admin comments upset your unquestioned worldview accepted as gospel? Please ponder! And thanks for that last piece of advice.

  46. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Rhan #43:
    well, since Jerry seems to have signed me up for the job of leading you around by the hand (thanks Jer, btw), I suppose I’ll have to put in my time.

    1. “What is the problem with a backward statement?”— nothing. I merely pointed it out to you. If you want to make backwards statements, be my guest.
    “Is this statement incorrect?” — the statement in question is yours from #20. I’ll draw it out for you. It’s a double negative. And yes, it’s incorrect, as I told you in #23 para 2. BTW, that was over 2 days ago. Do you think you can accelerate your uptake at some point?

    2. “The Muslim think that most non-Muslim believe that Islam condone violence…” – and how many Muslims do you speak for, exactly?
    “I can’t find even 1% of Malaysian Muslim that like America. ” — pity. Not that your statement is relevant…but pity nonetheless.

    “American can only view these Islamic militants similarly” — sure. But unless you’re suggesting that all Muslims are Islamic militants, then surely there are some Muslims that Americans need not treat as the enemy.

    “Btw, seem like you don’t have many Muslim friends.” — btw, before you engage your powers of deduction/prediction, I suggest you first sharpen your powers of comprehension. You’re running before you can walk.

    3. “You mean everything reported as of today is the truth and no gloss?” — first of all, truth and “glossing over” are not opposites. You can at once tell the truth but also gloss over it. But in no way have you provided any support for your assertion that the “media” has glossed over the truth about Iraqi casualties.

    4. “You mean there are many and not few that know?” — no, I’m just asking for your justification for such statements. After more than 2 days, you’re still dragging your feet.

    “Now I start to understand more about precision of language.” — whoa, not so fast, champ. We’ll see how well you answer all the questions that have been posed to you from the past 2 days first, before we jump to conclusions about the growth of your understanding.

    5. ““a meaninglessly broad term” – Is this a language precision issue or logic issue?” — Do you think “broad” relates more to “precision” or to logic? BTW, the answer to that question will conveniently answer yours.

  47. Jerry Says:

    @Rhan #45, @S.K. Cheung

    LOL

    You started off well and then took a left turn down the road to ruse-ville, diversion-ville and cherry-picking-ville.

    Hmmm. Sparta, Rome, citizenship, war, 9/11, affirmative action, and your remarks on imitation. What do your perambulations have to do with the topics of the media in general, Chinese media, and Chinese media empires? Just curious!

    BTW, there are no magic solutions or panacea to any of the problems of life or man. Period!

    Many Americans, including myself, know that logic, reasoning and the rational are not the only parts of the psyche. I seem to remember Freud and countless others writing about this. ::LOL::

    ####

    Sorry, SK! 🙂

  48. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Rhan #42:
    “If US does have an unbiased and free media, the extermination, invasion and attack shouldn’t happen.” — how did you come up with that concept. The “media” should report the news. They can’t dictate how consumers of the news will interpret the news they’re given. And they definitely don’t determine government policy. If your contention is that a media is only unbiased and free if it can affect and effect government policy, that seems an incredibly high bar. On the one hand, you suggest that the government is wagging the media, but on the other, it should be the media wagging the government?

    “my opinion is mainly base on what American and their government did, and from this I try to guess if their media is really that free and unbiased as they claim to be.” — government foreign policy is the determinant of, and accurate gauge for, media freedom? Ok, if you say so….

    “your criticism is merely your opinion” — considering that Jerry even said IMHO, I’m guessing he’s aware of that. Such awareness, sadly, is not universally on display.

    To #45:
    agreeing to disagree sounds like a plan.

    But I’ll point out the fallacy in logic in the last section.
    Even if you accept your model: If A, then B, then C; it does NOT follow, that If NOT C, then NOT B, then NOT A. Simply put, an informed public can still make bad decisions. And as mentioned above, while a free media can inform, it’s still up to the public to become informed. None of your statements should be considered of the “if and only if” variety.

  49. tanjin Says:

    In a recent interview with German FOCUS report, Chinese government says US Congress gave 14th DL exile government $16.75 million funding, that was about 25 percent increase over 2008 and in a year when US government running a trillion dollar deficit.

    “Official: the Chinese people never allow other countries to interfere with internal affairs ”
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-10/17/content_12252165.htm

    The same interview was reported by FOCUS magzine with a brief report and selective wording.
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/2009-10/16/content_12247196.htm

  50. Rhan Says:

    SKC#46,
    Jerry is seeking for backing when he can’t face the truth, we know truth hurts. Well, buy one free one, no issue.

    1.“I merely pointed it out to you” – I didn’t know you are merely point it out. I first thought you do not have an answer or opinion on the content of the statement I made. Forget it then.

    2. “and how many Muslims do you speak for, exactly?” – Many. Don’t ask me how many is many, look for a dictionary what is mean by many.
    “Not that your statement is relevant…but pity nonetheless.” – Point out something again? Ok, forget it then, again.
    “But unless you’re suggesting that all Muslims are Islamic militants, then surely there are some Muslims that Americans need not treat as the enemy.” – Perhaps you are right, hope the American bomb could segregate Muslim and Islamic militants.
    “You’re running before you can walk.” – As I said, unlike a lady, I lack attentiveness to petty thing.

    3. “Gloss” – We did give the Iraqis a unique chance to build a rule of law democracy, but Iraqis preferred to indulge in old hatreds, confessional violence, ethnic bigotry and a culture of corruption. It appears that the cynics were right: Arab society can’t support democracy as we know it. And people get the government they deserve. The violence staining Baghdad’s street with gore isn’t only a symptom of Iraqi government’s incompetence, but of the comprehensive inability of the Arab world to progress in any sphere of organized human endeavor. We are witnessing the collapse of a civilization. USA Today Nov 2006, yet again, Iraq and Arab world fault.

    4.” you’re still dragging your feet.” – Why I want to do that? The massacre did happen and not many know it. I can’t justify that a fact is not a fact.
    “before we jump to conclusions about the growth of your understanding.” – It may take a little longer because I am facing a lazy bum that can’t make some search and fact finding. His “usual” remark is that our comment or paste article didn’t provide answer for this and that, though he knows well that he is reading a blog comment and article, not a book or research paper. It was never easy to take care one with kid mentality but I will try.

    5. “Do you think “broad” relates more to “precision” or to logic?” – I don’t know, I lack skill of playing and twisting with words.

  51. Rhan Says:

    Oh Jerry #47, another piece of advice again? Thank you in advance.

    “ruse-ville, diversion-ville and cherry-picking-ville” is another way of telling us sorry, I can’t rebut this facts, however I don’t buy it, all this cannot be truth, mummy they bluff……

    “I seem to remember Freud and countless…..” know and remember is what most American do.

    I summarize it out for you in straight point since you never comprehend my way of presenting thought:

    1. US media is bias. The WDM / Iraq is one proven FACT.

    2. US media is the propaganda tool of the government. Roots of hate, rivalry, the need for enemies, personal and group violence, and WAR are ineluctably located in human psychology and the human condition. (See Volkan) Hence stereotypes are created, opponent is demonized and others is transmogrified into the enemy. In short, nationalism is the caused

    3. US media never report all truth, their trick is to make known 70% truth and cover the 30% cheat, they is the master of propaganda.

    4. Though US media know the appalling consequence of reporting 100% truth and they themselves never do it, they criticize the developing country for not reporting the truth to divert interest toward their own frail. TRULY HYPOCRITE.

    5. My comment has everything to do with China media on their vision and responsibility in future, the Chinese should not solve their internal issue through rummage around for enemy that never exist in the first place or act like a bullshitting bully to create that enemy. To avoid this, ancient eastern culture could be a way out and their media is answerable and accountable for their role to achieve this objective.

  52. Jerry Says:

    @Rhan

    Your voluminous extravasations are most interesting and humorous.

    Rhan, you are right; you figured me out. You figured out that I just can’t face the truth. Especially your distorted version of the truth. I am just one hopeless, Russian-Jewish American, cynical, sarcastic barbarian. I think god gave up on me! 😀

    I just can’t resist one more quote.

    “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
    — Mark Twain

    😀 😛

    ::ROFL LMAO::

  53. Rhan Says:

    SKC#48.
    “incredibly high bar” – We may need more definition on how truth is truth and how free is free to continue this debate. I believe if there is truly 100% truth and free disseminate of information to public and the government was elected through a truly democracy system, the incredibly high bar would not be that high. Wagging is two ways.

    “government foreign policy is the determinant of, and accurate gauge for, media freedom?” – This will come back to my point on free and truth media, and democratic system. Unless you tell me US media and democratic system is perfect then I withdraw this statement.

    “Such awareness, sadly, is not universally on display.” – Agree

    “agreeing to disagree sounds like a plan.” – don’t get what you mean by plan, I am referring to Mao anyway.

    “an informed public can still make bad decisions” – Could that be the public is not informed enough?

    I wholly agree to move forward a fully free media, but we can’t remove the racial, nationalism and patriotism factor of the party/human that making the reporting. My point is, the difference between US and China is merely on level, not the absolute yes and no. And that disparity is actually close to vanish in the very near future. Of course this is my opinion.

  54. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Rhan:
    1. “I first thought you do not have an answer or opinion on the content of the statement I made.” — dude, I gave my opinion the first time, and several times since. If you can’t read, then unfortunately I can’t help you. And that’s just as well.

    2. “Many. Don’t ask me how many is many” — let’s just say you might speak for some, maybe. For everybody’s sake, let’s also be thankful that you don’t speak for all Muslims.

    “hope the American bomb could segregate Muslim and Islamic militants.” — and now what are you alluding to, exactly? Are you speaking about collateral damage, perhaps? Can you not express a cogent thought, even if it’s just once in a while?

    ““You’re running before you can walk.” – As I said, unlike a lady, I lack attentiveness to petty thing” — dude, if you don’t pay attention to detail, you end up falling flat on your face…oops, too late.

    3. No idea what your quote has to do with the earlier discussion about what was and wasn’t glossed over. Sounds like you lack an understanding of logic, and relevance. Ah yes, emotion is where your “expertise” lies…almost forgot about that.

    4. “The massacre did happen and not many know it.” — you need to associate with people who read more. Might not be such a bad idea for yourself.
    “though he knows well that he is reading a blog comment and article, not a book or research paper.” — but a ridiculous blog comment is still ridiculous. And you should know, since you’ve authored quite a few recently. Why the apparent aversion to having your narrow views challenged?

    5. “I don’t know, I lack skill of playing and twisting with words.” — I think the skill you lack is that which is required to answer some simple questions. Oh, and the ability to process logic.

    #51 is a re-hash of the same old dreary stuff. Sure gets boring after a while.

    1. US government was wrong about WMD. US media was wrong to report it without adequate corroboration. But where is this bias of which you so readily and heartily speak? Forget “proof”, since I know you’re allergic to the concept. How about just an explanation of how you get from A to B. It might actually be amusing.

    2. “US media is the propaganda tool of the government.” — and King Kong is the PRC’s president. I mean, since we’re making ridiculous statements, I thought I’d play along. Kinda fun, actually.

    3. “US media never report all truth, their trick is to make known 70% truth and cover the 30% cheat” — that’s a good one. They even have a recipe. Bake at 425F for 45 minutes. For best results, use convection.

    4. “appalling consequence of reporting 100% truth” — any chance you’d share with us some of these appalling consequences? Are they gory? Should we avert our eyes?
    “they criticize the developing country for not reporting the truth to divert interest toward their own frail.” — I’m assuming what you actually meant was that they divert attention away from themselves. Even with that assumption, how do they do this? In your world, every single journalist is harping on China, and no one is looking at how the US and others do things. Your world is a mind-boggling place.

    5. “My comment has everything to do with China media on their vision and responsibility in future” — is this comment (“demanded that [media] powerfully carry forward the spirit of patriotism and adhere to correct guidance of public opinion, creating a soaring spirit, joy and serenity, and a harmonious and civilized atmosphere”(from Jerry’s excerpt in #5)) sort of what you had in mind in terms of CHina’s media vision?

  55. Rhan Says:

    Jerry,
    Appreciate you like it, I am now compiling Master Laozi and Kongzi quote. I never thought quote can be that practical and useful. Thanks for the idea. 🙂

  56. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Rhan #53:
    “I believe if there is truly 100% truth and free disseminate of information to public and the government was elected through a truly democracy system, the incredibly high bar would not be that high.” — media can be completely truthful and free to report as they please. Government can be truly democratic. And that free and truthful media will still NOT be in a position to set government policy. If media sets policy, then it’s not a government of the people; it’s a government of the media.

    “Unless you tell me US media and democratic system is perfect then I withdraw this statement.” — they’re not perfect. But you still haven’t justified how foreign policy somehow is a marker of media freedom.

    It goes without saying that we disagree about Mao. “sounds like a plan” is just a phrase.

    ““an informed public can still make bad decisions” – Could that be the public is not informed enough?” — sure. But an inadequately-informed public is not necessarily the fault of the media. You can’t mandate the public to adequately inform themselves, even if given the opportunity.

    “My point is, the difference between US and China is merely on level,” — sure. You can never completely eliminate an individual journalist’s opinion, no matter how objective they try to be, and whether they’re Chinese or American. The “level” where there is a difference, IMO, is with the degree of government intervention and control of the media.

  57. Jerry Says:

    @S.K. Cheung #54 #56

    Bravo, SK! Your wit is impeccable. You have far more patience than I. 😀

    On a more serious note, SK, your words may not be wasted on Rhan. I remember that as I grew up (that is questionable. 😀 ), and had children of my own, my parents became remarkably intelligent, out of nowhere! It was a miracle. The same miracle has been bestowed on me now, what with my daughter nearly 28, and my son nearly 31. More than once, I have told my father, and my kids have told me, “Now I understand what you meant!” Or, “Now I get it!” My dad just smiles and I do, too. 😀

    “When the student is ready, the teacher appears!”

    As imperfect as media is in America, Britain and Canada, I will take it hands down compared to the media vision of the Chinese despot, Liu Qi. The NYT made lots of mistakes in the last 8 years, but at least they are working on those issues. Progress!

  58. admin Says:

    @Jerry,

    In recent housing crisis, both the “ignorant” borrowers and the “predatory” lenders were blamed. So it’s probably fair if there is a misinformed public, then the free press should not be given a free pass.

    The job of the free press is to report, but what about under-reporting or over-reporting when there are two sides of a story, as in the case of the WMD. Or, in some situations, no report, as the example pointed out by wildgoosejournal? Many pro-Beijing Olympics protests that sprung up in New York, Toronto, etc. got silent treatment in the Western media. I am not here to criticize, but I really want to know if a free press is one of the keystones of a functioning democracy, are there ways to make it better?

  59. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To admin:
    “are there ways to make it better?” — I sure hope so. There’s certainly room for improvement.

    “So it’s probably fair if there is a misinformed public, then the free press should not be given a free pass.” — the free press should inform. But a misinformed public doesn’t necessarily mean that the press was doling out misinformation. Many people know about Ponzi schemes, yet many people still fall for them; many people know of the Nigerian lottery scams (and variants thereof), but many suckers still abound.

    “The job of the free press is to report, but what about under-reporting or over-reporting when there are two sides of a story, as in the case of the WMD” — a perfect example of where the press could and should have done better. But there’s a difference between them screwing up, vs them screwing up as part of a larger conspiracy.

  60. Rhan Says:

    SKC#56, (57)
    If there is engagement mean there is comprehension. My point of view could be “wrong” from your perspective but I think this is the mainstream thought of many Asian. You may refer to the latest book from Kenichi Ohmae (大前研一) “Sarana America” (Sorry my version is in Chinese and I am not sure if there is any English translation)

    I am not too sure if Samuel Huntington idea of “Clash of Civilization” and his question on “American Identity” drag no more interest to the American public and it government, or perhaps his concept is deemed as backward today?

    I am fascinated by Jerry reply on Washington and Native as there are “fact” that I am not aware of. However both you and Jerry didn’t provide a more direct answer if US media is that unbiased?

    According to Kenichi Ohmae, America used to have the most credible, independence and best reporter and reporting in the world. However all this is gone since the collapse of Soviet and Sep 11. I think his view is a valid one. Thanks.

  61. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Rhan:
    “If there is engagement mean there is comprehension.” — could you please define “engagement” in the context of your statement?

    “both you and Jerry didn’t provide a more direct answer if US media is that unbiased?” — First of all, the “US media”, or any other media for that matter, can be wrong. Being wrong in and of itself does not equal bias. Second, there are most probably individuals within the “media” fraternity who have biases, which is to say they have opinions (and for that matter, who doesn’t?). In fact, some of them are paid (and handsomely so) to share that opinion. Those would be the editorialists, and that’s par for the course. So if you said Glenn Beck is biased, I’d have no quarrel. But then that would be like saying the sky is blue. But as I’ve also said many a time before (and the concept for some reason is very elusive for some), the “media” is not some homogeneous thing. To say that this media thing, which comprises a multitude of individual news outlets, each of which employs a multitude of individuals, is “biased” as a whole, is a “meaninglessly broad statement”. However, if your contention is that this entire “media” thing is biased, then it behooves you to offer some support for your own statements.

  62. Rhan Says:

    SKC
    Engagement is herein defined as fight, a less hostile one.
    I have to admit I am a little slow to “catch” your core points. Only through post 61 I get what you mean. My contention is based on my perception of a general trend in “US media” and being a Malaysian, I honestly have little understanding and appeal to have a full grip to become too specific on this subject matter.

    Some other points:
    “Gloss over” – mean to speak kindly, to shift the blame to Iraq and Iraqis is not kind of gloss over?

    “adequate corroboration and ridiculous statement” – Why in the past there is adequate corroboration in most event but was an apparently no this round? Maybe nobody is wrong here, it is just that American especially those in the media believed that war is inevitable and was the only solution? Perhaps I should put it this way, the government and the media are collaborates to stir up the emotion for war. Most of the reporters subscribe to the government idea of war. Consciously or unconsciously, they help to push this idea, generally speaking.

    “any chance you’d share with us some of these appalling consequences?” – I can’t tell much about other country, here is a link on a case I personally went through and this is the reality we have to face.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Lalang.

    “IMO, is with the degree of government intervention and control of the media.” – Agree. The control could be direct: here in Malaysia, media license be it press, magazine, broadcasting is renewed yearly, or indirect: nationalism, nepotism, and fear.

  63. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Rhan:
    “Engagement is herein defined as fight, a less hostile one.” — understood. I’ve comprehended some of your points, and have tried to explain where I have disagreed. Though based on this (“Only through post 61 I get what you mean.”) perhaps I need to be more clear as well. And I’ve tried to indicate where I haven’t comprehended your points…or at least I think I have.

    “to shift the blame to Iraq and Iraqis is not kind of gloss over?” — glossing over is reporting a number of facts, but de-emphasizing that which is inconvenient for a certain perspective or point of view. Shifting blame to me is entirely different. It requires a re-interpretation of facts rather than a de-emphasis of facts.

    “Perhaps I should put it this way, the government and the media are collaborates to stir up the emotion for war.” — i think the Bush administration was hell-bent for war. Many correspondents in the media were not vigorous enough in verifying their claims and justifications. Many reporters and outlets screwed up. But as I suggested before, such errors do not equal a larger conspiracy, IMO.

  64. Rhan Says:

    SKC,
    Thanks. I could be wrong but I start to believe that Chinese culture tend to make us looking at issue in broad (笼统) term and moral aspect while the Western education emphasize more on logic, precision and in piecemeal basis.

  65. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Rhan:
    perhaps. But a broad overview is only as good as the sum of its parts…which is why you need those parts to be accurate.

  66. pug_ster Says:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUSTRE59R0ML20091028

    Thought that this is an interesting article about Mainland-China relations.

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