Tag Archives: propaganda

Evidence of Anti-China Reporting Bias in the IHT/NYT

In “Chinese students shed restraint in America” (IHT, Apr 30, published as “Chinese students in U.S. fight image of their home” on the NYT on Apr 29) Chou Wu, a Chinese doctorate student in the USA, is quoted by Shaila Dewan (in co-operation with Michael Anti) as saying that “Western media is even more biased than Chinese media“.

Ironically, in order to find evidence for his claim, Mr Wu should look no further than Ms Dewan’s article!

In fact, after reporting that Chinese students in America believe to be “still neglected or misunderstood (by Western news media) as either brainwashed or manipulated by the (Chinese) government“, Ms Dewan dutifully proceeds to portray those same students as…brainwashed and/or manipulated.

They are described as authoritarian, zealot nationalist prone to threats against Tibetans, also because “demonstrators couldintend to return home (too)”.

Ms Dewan even leaves the last word to Lionel Jensen, of the University of Notre Dame, IN, stating that Chinese students “dont’ ask” if Tibetans wanted the “aggressive modernization” brought by China to Tibet.

That doesn’t bode well for the impartiality of the article: a feeling that is confirmed when we are told that Chinese students’ “handouts on Tibet and Chinacontained a jumble of abbreviated history, slogans and maps with little context“.

Is “jumble” the appropriate word for a reporting piece? Methinks there is too much contempt for the report’s subject showing there.

We have to take Ms Dewan’s word for her judgements, as the only detail provided concerns “a chart showing infant mortality in Tibet had plummeted since 1951” (a positive thing if there ever was any). Alas, we are told, the students “did not provide any means for comparison with mortality rates in China or other countries“.

Too bad one is left none the wiser, as Ms Dewan herself provides no such a comparison either.

Once upon a time newspapers clearly separated news from news analysis. And journalists tried to report impartially. I know, that may be the stuff of Utopia nowadays, but is nobody trying anymore?

Lo Scandalo Fasullo Berlusconi-Sacca’

Quanto rumore su La Repubblica riguardo l’intercettazione pubblicata di una telefonata fra Silvio Berlusconi e Agostino Sacca’ della Rai…

Avendone letta la trascrizione pero’, a me sembrano i soliti discorsi all’italiana che hanno fatto la fortuna di tanti film di Alberto Sordi svariati decenni fa (altro che fantasie di Curzio Maltese su “la politica al tempo di Berlusconi“).

Quali parti della conversazione sono da gran scandalo? Boh? (per favore se qualcuno puo’, citi)

La Repubblica ultimamente non si tira indietro quando c’e’ da sollevare un polverone, anche in maniera assolutamente speciosa, come il finto scoop sul finto plagio di un comico americano da parte di Daniele Luttazzi. E uno allora comincia a dubitare se quanto riferito riguardo Treviso sia vero, o un altro concentrato di propaganda.

Doris Lessing on “Raising Consciousness”

The IHT decided to reprint today a June 1992 Op-Ed piece on The New York Times by Doris Lessing: “On Political Correctness – Questions you should never ask a writer

The topicality of some of the thoughts of the Nobel Laureate in Literature for 2007 is uncanny:

[…] ways of thinking that were either born under Communism or strengthened by Communism still govern our lives […] The first point: language. It is not a new thought that Communism debased language and, with language, thought […]

The second point is linked with the first. Powerful ideas affecting our behavior can be visible only in brief sentences, even a phrase – a catch phrase. All writers are asked this question by interviewers: “Do you think a writer should. . .?” “Ought writers to. . .?” […]

the assumption behind the words is that all writers should do the same thing, whatever it is. […] Another is “commitment,” so much in vogue not long ago. Is so and so a committed writer?

A successor to “commitment” is “raising consciousness.” This is double-edged. The people whose consciousness is being raised may be given information they most desperately lack and need, may be given moral support they need. But the process nearly always means that the pupil gets only the propaganda the instructor approves of.

“Raising consciousness,” like “commitment,” like “political correctness,” is a continuation of that old bully, the party line. […]