James Fallows, for years just about my favorite commentator on China (and any other topic he writes about), debunks the absurdly negative spin the US media gave to Obama’s visit here. Applying the kind of diligence that reminds us how important the paid media is, Fallows provides a series of five separate posts, each of which is required reading for those who want to see the sloppiness of the US media in action, and to fully understand all the work the Obama team did to make the trip a successful one. And it was a success.
H/t to commenter Stuart, who sums up some of the best of Fallows’ observations on his own blog. The inside scoop of the hell the Obama team went through to get the townhall televised live is particularly intense, if not all that surprising. (We know how uptight the leaders are about content that cannot be fed through the censorship funnel, edited and, if necessary, deleted altogether. Live TV is kryptonite to prickly censors.) The townhall was a triumph, and it is beyond comprehension why the media is determined to brand it – and all other aspects of the trip – a failure.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.