A story over at ESWN just caught my eye, and it cries out for comment. Roland, a blogger I admire tremendously, writes:
The website anti-CNN came into being because of the western media reporting about the Lhasa riots. Here is a post from the anti-CNN BBS about some western media coverage of the so-called Jasmine Revolution in China….
This definitely caught my interest because I’m innately suspicious of claims by anti-CNN, and I was wondering what “Western media” would be so stupid as to publish fake pictures of the non-revolution. Am I being overly suspicious? Am I being prejudiced against anti-CNN? Unfair and ignorant? Let’s take a look.
This is the very first “Western media” ESWN links to. Go there now. Its name is Online USA News. Sounds like a good catch by anti-CNN! What could be more “Western” than a site named Online USA News?
Only, if you take the time and energy to go to the About page, here’s what you find:
Onlineusanews.com is project of WebSols Pakistan. This website contains latest news updates from USA and all over the world.
Please, go there now. Look around. You’ll see that Online USA News is a third-rate bullshit blog, a pure and simple trash site from Pakistan that is in no way indicative of how the “Western media” are really covering the situation in China. It is not a “Western media.” Once again, anti-CNN gets hysterical over nothing, and uses this nothing to point hysterical fingers at “the West” without performing even the most cursory due diligence.
Another example he links to that anti-CNN has labeled an example of “Western bias” against China can be found here. Here is how the site describes itself:
Aredconsult, Inc. is an internet marketing company and outsource provider based in the Philippines.
Got that, everyone? This “Western media” that shows such bias is a BS Philippine marketing site. It’s bullshit. It’s not Western and it’s not real media.
Another example of “Western media bias” Roland sends us to can be found here. Go look it up. It looks to me like yet another aggregator posing as a news site – whatever it is, it’s obscure as hell and hardly offers a representative slice of “Western media.”
Also under the headline “Fake Western Media Coverage Of Jasmine Revolution In China” Roland offers links (from anti-CNN) to pieces from Liberty Times (in Taiwan), Next Media Animation (in HK/Taiwan), La Nueva Cuba (since when is Cuba considered “Western”?) and more. There’s one piece he links to from the Independent in Ireland which appears legitimate. but you get the picture: Out of a long string of links, practically none of the stories are in any way, shape or form “Western media.” Another link he offers actually has no photo at all (maybe they took it down?). It’s some Norwegian taboid (I think). Whatever it is, it’s not representative of “Western media.” No major Western media published fake photos of the JR, and if they did it was a mistake and they took them down. This is a fantasy, a canard.
I am not blaming Roland for this. He is translating something from anti-CNN. Maybe he should have checked the veracity of the links, but then again I know how busy he is doing translations and running the gold standard of English-language China sites. It’s anti-CNN that raises my blood pressure.
Every time you hear the battle cry “Western media bias” in regard to China you need to take a hard look at the accusation and at the source. Yes, there sure as hell IS Western media bias against China (though when you compare it to China’s media bias against the West it may seem relatively mild, to say the least). But in this case, there’s very, very little to see. anti-CNN, stupid and inflammatory as always, has chosen sites from the Philippines and Pakistan and Taiwan and pointed to them breathlessly as proof – proof, I tell you – of our awful Western bias against China.
Except it’s not true. It’s bullshit. anti-CNN is bullshit, a deceitful but highly effective propaganda machine that deceives its readers and, I suspect, itself. Take nothing they say at face value, and do your own homework. They’ve been debunked time and again, and I am always dismayed when my Chinese colleagues insist they’re a serious, professional organization. I tell them they should stop being so anti-CNN, and they just don’t get it. This has become their Truth. They’re painfully easy to expose as frauds and charlatans, if you bother to take the time. And sometimes I wonder why I even bother. I’m not going to convince their die-hard fans. But at least I can put their bullshit on the record.
(Update: A friend just complained that I use the term “bullshit” too many times in this post. All I can say is, if the shoe fits, wear it. Even if it has bullshit on it.)
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.