Media bias against China

I do hope everyone who points approvingly to Anticnn and insists the US media are hopelessly biased against China gets to listen to this superb podcast over at Popup Chinese. It touches on many media-related issues, but the first few minutes are devoted to the bias issue.

These are really smart China hands talking, and they all agree that the notion among many Chinese (especially the fenqing) of purposeful media bias against China is seriously inflated.They generally agree there is some bias against China, but it occurs mainly over in the US editorial offices where the headlines and photo captions are written, and is not symptomatic of the foreign correspondents living in China.

They also acknowledge there is bias for the Dalai Lama, but not because the editors are anti-China, It’s because there is a strong, irrational bias in America towards Buddhists, just as there is often a strong media bias in favor of Israel, and an even stronger media bias against Arabs and Muslims. Thus, as they say in the podcast, the Tibetan monks get far more sympathy and attention than the Uighurs. But what the fenqing need to get is that this is generally not anti-China bias, but a bias in which Buddhists are gentle, devout souls who are all about peace and love. Editors in the US may also view China as the oppressors and the Tibetans as the oppressed. But this doesn’t mean they are anti-China.

What those pressing this issue furthermore need to get is that everyone feels they are a victim of media bias. The Republicans, the Dems, the left and the right – we all have complaints with media bias. We all feel we are misrepresented. Every company feels that way, too. China just needs to join the club; everyone perceives bias against them. The difference is that most don’t allow themselves to get so manipulated and worked up about it so they think they’re the only ones. Inaccuracy in media is simply a fact of life.

The podcast goes on to explain why this is especially so today, with US newsrooms being drastically shrunk in size and fewer editors doing much more work. Everyone suffers, not just China. And I know (I really do) that you can find this or that example of media bias against China. Yes, it does happen. But usually it happens in the copy room, and often it’s simply a mistake. There may be bias behind these mistakes; that’s probably what led to some Western media falsely describing weapons used in the Tibet protests of 2008 as belonging to the Chinese, when in fact they were being used by the Tibetan demonstrators. This wasn’t an act of intentional bias against China, though. It was a matter of jumping to conclusions based upon a bias that sees the Tibetans as gentle and sweet.

Much of the current media coverage, as discussed in the podcast, is surprisingly pro-China. There is a powerful new meme going through the media, particularly the financial press, about how China proves how effective an authoritarian government can be, and pointing to it as a possible model for the future. (As part of this argument the pundits point to the hopeless political mess in the US; does that make them “anti-US”?) Most economic stories on China are positive, although a lot of critics jumped on the property bubble band wagon, as well as Jim Chano’s predictions of a China collapse. But they also jump on similar stories in regard to Europe, and the US.

This is pack journalism, a bad thing, but certainly something that is in no way exclusive to coverage of China. The media, in a huge pack, went after Obama last week for not getting emotional enough over the Louisiana offshore oil rig catastrophe. Does this mean the media is biased against Obama? Say that to any wingnut and they’ll laugh in your face; in their eyes the media are hopelessly in love with Obama. The truth is they are just being the media – short-sighted, rushed, fact-starved, on impossible deadlines and fighting to get the best headline in the face of shrinking readership. They do it to Obama, they did it to Bush, they do it to Europe and they do it to China.

The notion that there is a monolithic prejudice among the US media against China is a falsehood and a fabrication. What you’re seeing is the standard prejudice and screw-ups that pervade all journalism, unfortunately. Many see the media fawning over China, others see it as needlessly and unfairly critical. Both are right. Because it is not monolithic, and the distribution of prejudice and poor reporting is spread out evenly to everyone and every nation.

The Discussion: 34 Comments

My suspicion is that most people come to China blogs such as this one not as carte blanche, but already with a point of view. Thus, they are here to express that POV, and hopefully to modify it in the face of new information; but I doubt too many are here to discover one. So really, all of us here have our biases to begin with.

If you can stipulate to that, then it would seem unreasonable to think that “reporters”, simply by being a reporter, instantly lose such personal biases. So the hope, and expectation, is really for those reporters to report “facts” for the reader to make judgments for themselves, with the assumption (perhaps unfounded in some cases) that even an inherently biased reporter can obtain and relay “facts” in an objective fashion.

There is also a tendency to conflate all forms of reporting into one umbrella of “media”. To me, there is “news” reporting, where I have the expectation of being presented with “objective” information, from which I can draw my own conclusions. BUt there is also a large (and becoming increasingly larger) segment of “editorial” content, where the writer isn’t so much reporting facts as they are presenting their particularly POV. Among them, of course, are the usual FQ targets like Glenn Beck etc. However, when you’re watching/reading/listening to an editorial, there should be no expectation of objectivity. The guy/gal is presenting his/her POV, and if one chooses to consume that, then that is exactly what one is going to get. Nonetheless, when people reach for the ubiquitous “western media bias”, it seems that it’s the editorial segment that gets their goat.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that, when people throw out their “western media bias”, their objection isn’t so much that the media is “biased”, but that in those particular instances, the media is dispensing information and/or a POV with which they disagree. The proof of this comes from the fact that the same people who always yell “bias” are only too happy to trot out a piece from any particular “western media” outlet when it happens to agree with them, and they with it. So western media isn’t biased because of a lack of objectivity per se; she’s biased when she says something that some folks may find disagreeable. If that’s the case, then there may well be bias, but it’s certainly not aggregated solely on the side of western media.

June 1, 2010 @ 12:25 pm | Comment

The notion that there is a monolithic prejudice among the US media against China is a falsehood and a fabrication.

It’s pretty close. The same goes for news on Arabs, Muslims, Russia, Israel.

The main distinction with anti-Chinese pieces is that “reporters” tend to cling onto Cold War Propaganda to use as filler for their junk pieces. With Muslims and Arabs they tend to be more up to date.

June 1, 2010 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

What SK said.

Merp, old sport, as I said, many stories on China are positive, and pundits have been cooing about the efficiencies of China’s system for getting things done, writing about “the next great superpower,” telling us to learn Mandarin, etc. Compare this to the tone of coverage of Arab nations – not for content, because that doesn’t apply, but for tone. But your whole schtick depends on China being spat upon and reviled, so of course we can never expect a rational discussion from you on this topic. And if you include ad hominemns like some of your earlier comments, they won’t go up at all. Thanks.

I would say the bias in reporting the Arab-Israeli conflict – more from the editors at home than the reporters in the gunfire – is about as close as the US media comes to monolithic bias, but even that has taken a sharp turn in recent months as Israel pushed the envelope. On the right, this bias is absolutely shocking, where Israel can literally do no wrong, every brown person is a terrorist, and people who show any sympathy for the Arabs is a friend to terrorism. The mostly mythological bias against China doesn’t even come close.

Update: I’m happy to announce that Merp is banned. I gave him a lot of leeway, as everyone knows. If you could see the deranged comments that don’t get published….

June 2, 2010 @ 12:11 am | Comment

Poor ol’ Merp. Time to buy a new computer.

June 2, 2010 @ 10:11 am | Comment

I do have noticed that reporting about China in states have become less ‘biased’ and more comprehensive after the financial crisis. One point worth to note is because the prolong ‘biased’ narratives did existed, especially on the Tibet and Olympic reporting in 2008, the westerns medias have alienated many oversea Chinese, and ended up contributing to instigate pro-ccp sentiment in the Chinese communities…even an extreme case like Merp…but especially among the students groups, many have become even more nationalistic because their experience in the west.

June 2, 2010 @ 12:36 pm | Comment

Spotless, you’re right to a point – many overseas Chinese were in fact turned off, but not so much by the media bias but rather by the perceived media bias, which Anticnn successfully turned into a major story, a classic example of misplaced indignation. Most of those horrible errors were your typical studio screw-ups that everyone – and I mean everyone – complains about constantly. They do it to Obama, they do it to Israel, they do it to Hamas, they do it to Japan, and they do it to China. We all have to get used to it and take it in stride.

June 2, 2010 @ 1:00 pm | Comment

Moving from media to personal interactions, based upon my experience, “bias against China” usually means that one has said something that doesn’t accord perfectly with official ideas of China. And “understanding China” means that you go along with all of this BS. For example, if I play along with people (as I sometimes do), emphasizing how Tibet and Taiwan have always and will always be part of China, I often receive a particularly warm reception as someone who “understands China.” However, if I suggest something even fairly moderate, such as the notion that perhaps the people of Taiwan should have the opportunity to decide their future for themselves, this is frequently attributed to misunderstanding or my being “brainwashed” by biased reports. Then I suddenly find that I “don’t understand China.”
As such, the only way to fight “bias against China” seems to be to transform all media into the People’s Daily. Which sounds like a dreadful idea to me.
As someone with a fair degree of concern about the present situation in china, I tend to feel that media in the US is a bit too easy on China. There are many issues that, in my opinion, go underreported, and too much of the “China’s Century” stuff which strikes me as far too premature.

June 2, 2010 @ 2:26 pm | Comment

Sadly this is the sort of thing that happens when you try to add balance to the debate in Britain.

From Foot & Mouth Disease to the Beijing Olympics to Copenhagen, it’s a bit tiresome trying to challenge these waves of anti-Chinese feelings. How are you supposed to argue with liberal press that still describe us as “inscrutable”? Valid criticism is one thing but the hysteria and hypocrisy is full-on weird.

June 2, 2010 @ 6:26 pm | Comment

Richard, you hit the nail pretty dead-on with this one. As you can probably attest to, a lot of the work that goes into producing newsarticles is the result of forces somewhat exogenous to actual journalism, such as the vibe of the copyroom, and the general societal zeitgeist of the audience.

The problem for a lot of the antiCNN’s supporters, I feel, is that on the field of global discourse, they think that China is losing, and losing badly at that; also, that China loses on multiple levels–the first is the direct bias against China they percieve; the second and perhaps much more frustrating one is that China does not have much agency in shaping the global discourse around itself (unlike Israel, which, contrary to what the editorial board of the Jerusalem Post may think, is remarkably successful at it.)

This perception you identify, however, is probably not something that could be changed by sympathetic reporting. It’s much more a subconscious recognition of, really, the powerlessness of “rising China” in world media, so it won’t change until China can become a full participant there. For this, we could just as easily blame the incompetence of CCTV as the prejudice of CNN. What would probably be better for the world media, both in terms of balancing out its coverage and bringing the Chinese audience closer to the world, would be creating a channel that gives the Chinese people some feeling of a respected voice in the world… a sense of stakeholdership.

June 2, 2010 @ 7:46 pm | Comment

Madam, you can always find examples of media bias against any target you’re interested in. And as I said, sometimes the media moves in packs, so you’ll see a burst of articles, many of which can be cited for bias, as we saw in last week’s frenzy over Obama not being emotional enough, and as we’re seeing now in the coverage of the flotilla attacked by Israel (in that case there’s bias on practically all sides).

I challenge your blanket statement that the “liberal press” describes Chinese as “inscrutable.” I think you perhaps saw this once or twice, and then through the filter of your own biases and preconceived notions conflated it into an example of across-the-board media bias.

T_co, thanks for the comment. No arguments.

Kevin, while I mostly agree, I do sometimes see examples of bias against China in the media, and unfortunately these are seized upon and pointed to as representative of all media coverage, as in Madam Miaow’s assertion of “waves of anti-Chinese feelings.” Many of these are in the eyes of the beholder, but unfortunately it does happen – as it happens to everyone the media’s writing about. About the media being too soft on China, all I can say is that it comes and goes. There was a massive flood of articles this year on China’s imminent collapse, and there are also the “China’s century” articles. I also think often the degree of bias we perceive is based on our own filters and biases; I certainly know it’s true for me, which is why I try to see the picture from as many sides as possible, with varied degrees of succcess.

June 2, 2010 @ 10:20 pm | Comment

“Update: I’m happy to announce that Merp is banned. I gave him a lot of leeway, as everyone knows. If you could see the deranged comments that don’t get published….”

Math and Hong Xing are perhaps less offensive, but they rival Merp in sheer contempt for fact and reason.

June 3, 2010 @ 3:10 am | Comment

Perhaps, but they don’t derail every thread and they don’t always make the same tedious argument, insulting everyone else along the way. Math provides comic relief and has become an institution of sorts.

Finally, here’s a good post that illustrates how stories about China get mangled by the Western media. It’s a lot less intentional and conspiratorial than some would like to believe.

June 3, 2010 @ 3:21 am | Comment

Madam Miaow
Inscrutable? Sorry but I would like to challenge you on this. I read the Telegraph, the Independent, the Times, the Sun, the Mail and others and I have never read this. Opaque, yes, when describing Chinese secrecy in reporting news/statistics etc.
I have had this discussion once or twice with students here – the biased is seemingly taught in schools or something for they all trot out that line. When asked to provide examples, they can’t – they can give the CCP version which they also have to accept is…biased.
To say that bias isn’t in the western media (by western, I do mean all – not just the US or the BBC) is, of course, fasle. There are examples of bias but these, you will generally find, are in the personal opinion columns – and with these, nowadays, one can comment and one can see how the personal opinion is rated (not helped, of course, by the ultra-nationalistic bias of the 50 Centers, I am sure you have to agree).

Bias is there is you look for it. It’s next to Zionism and all the other foil hattery so eagerly lapped up by those that prefer a good conspiracy to hard facts.

June 3, 2010 @ 5:49 am | Comment

Professor Goldendork,

So we are the students here now, huh? While there is biased in Western and Chinese media, I find the Western Media troubling because they like to put these little fibs in their stories and readers that it is propaganda a mile away. Take an example today’s NYtimes when they said that “Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007” is totally BS. They won in an democratically election fair and squaer but it just so happens that US and Israel doesn’t like the Hamas. It doesn’t take long for the Chinese to find Western Media as unreliable sources of information.

June 3, 2010 @ 7:56 am | Comment

Only today’s NY Times never said that. Pugster wins the award for 100-percent fact-free comments.

June 3, 2010 @ 9:01 am | Comment

I think you should’ve said 100% fiction free.

June 3, 2010 @ 9:16 am | Comment

You were right, Pug, the Times did say that; I couldn’t find it in their search engine, leading me to think you made it up, as you usually make stuff up. But the NYT only said it because it was true. I know this will be hard for you to get, but Hamas won the Palestinian election in 2006, and they did seize the Gaza Strip in 2007. One does not preclude the other.

Make no mistake: I have deep issues with Israel, and I strongly condemn the way they handled the flotilla incident. But like issues in China, this is a very complex story, with many different participants presenting wildly divergent scenarios. I’m going to wait for the dust to settle before passing judgment. All I know for sure is that as usual, each side is hysterically claiming media bias. The monolithically pro-Israel faction is crying that everyone is rushing to condemn Israel. The other side is shouting that the US media eats out of Israel’s hand and is only telling Israel’s side of the story.

The answer probably lies somewhere in between. It’s not a matter of saints and sinners.

June 3, 2010 @ 9:32 am | Comment

To Pugster,
it’s almost funny, and I should almost thank you for making my point for me…but you’re complaining about a piece in the NYT OPINION section.

Did you just find someone with inherent biases giving you their opinion? Say it ain’t so! Were you surprised that their opinion might reflect their biases? Dear god, stop the presses!

And just as icing on the proverbial cake, let me guess: you don’t agree with the opinion described in that article, do you?

If there’s one thing about folks like you, it’s that you’ve become awfully predictable.

June 3, 2010 @ 12:10 pm | Comment

Madam Miaow, who is apparently a highly regarded British blogger, describes her blog as “centre-left” commentary.

Well, I am British, very much “centre-left” politically, live and work in Hong Kong and the mainland, and never cease to be amazed and depressed by these commentators on the left who pen apologias for the Chinese government.

Look, Madam Miaow, get real, remove those roseate-hued spectacles, and inform us how you can label yourself as being from the left and yet defend a regime that not only is one of the most authoritarian states in the world, one that regularly imprisons democracy and other human rights activists, but that also allows rampant free-market capitalism, has created one of the worst rich-poor divides in the world, where a new ruling herditary class of rich cadres exploits the impoverished rural poor, one that doesn’t allow independent trade unions, and one that fosters a decidely jingoistic nationalism.

At least those of us from the “old left” were once able to identify a proto-fascist society when we saw one.

June 3, 2010 @ 12:44 pm | Comment

Richard, challenge away all you like. Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth used the term “inscrutable” in the Independent during the Copenhagen mess. At the same time, various Guardian journos, including Jonathan Fenby, were dismissing all the Chinese sounding contributers who said anything positive about China on CiF as five-yaun a time tarts paid by the Chinese government. Well that’s one way of getting rid of opposing arguments.

Soujourner, I don’t have time to deal with every one of your cut and paste jobs repeating yourself on the net and at my blog. So please allow me to reply in kind and pasting here what I’ve already replied to you:
(On China’s banning of evidence gained under torture)
I am sorry you are driven by a hatred of China rather than an appraisal of the facts. How is reporting a fact in a post that is critical of torture (and lack of trade union activity) suddenly an “apologia”?

Compare China and the West and you’ll find state oppression in a variety of forms: China does not have the monopoly on this. All top heavy states use torture — US and Britain are no exception, even if Britain gets others to do it for her.

I agree that enforcing this change is a whole other challenge — and I hope that the tide is turning in favour of improving human rights. But now that China has taken this positive step it will be a lot easier to enforce than before.

(On Copenhagen and sinophobia)
David, in order for there to be an honest debate, you need the facts in the public domain, whatever conclusion they may lead you to.

I had two main points. The first was that China’s changing policy regarding the environment had been ignored. It is a scandal that, as the nation that invented carbon capture technology, Britain has none while China has been building them at the rate of one per month. I’m informed they are only 44% capture efficient but it’s a massive improvement on what went before.

Not only that but China has made serious inroads into green technology. As I write in my blogpost, this may not be because they are angels: both necessity and the potential profitability makes it inevitable that China will invest where we won’t.

The figures being doled out by Lynas and the West are misleading. What the West is proposing leaves the US still belching out carbon emissions four times per capita that of China.

Then there’s that Danish Text document they were caught red-handed trying to sneak through. The summit was a stitch-up from the start. To offload anger onto the Chinese with such diversionary tactics as the round of China-bashing that we witnessed really does not help.

If you read my posts properly instead of projecting your assumptions on them you will see that I am critical where I believe it is right to be critical: China’s free market capitalism is very much of concern. I’ve already covered the much of what you list. But I will not blindly stand up for any side right or wrong, whether that’s Beijing, London or Washington.

After all, China isn’t starting World War III in the middle east or poisoning the world’s oceans with an unstoppable flow of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

All forms of capitalism are taking us to hell in a handcart in their own way. While depressed about what China gets wrong, there are also some areas where she’s getting things right and that’s to be encouraged.

June 3, 2010 @ 7:14 pm | Comment

That’s exactly what I mean, Madam. You find opinion piece (repeat, opinion piece) where some columnist used the word “inscrutable” and then make the blanket assertion that “the media call the Chinese people inscrutable.” That is your own preconceived notion in action. And it’s sloppy. I said clearly in my post, you can always come up with an example of prejudice about any group. The Chinese are no different. As for poisoning the environment, the spill was created by a British company that skirted the law and while it’s definitely our responsibility because we let them drill there, it’s hardly a commonplace occurrence, unlike in China where there is literally no natural drinking water that isn’t lethally polluted. And then you take what Sojourner said and call him a “China hater.” I think it’s pretty clear where you’re coming from and how you react knee-jerk to any perceived bias against China, a country I love but that is no more beyond criticism than America. To criticize is to hate.

I loved your embrace of China’s new edict banning torture. It’s also in their constitution that everyone’s entitled to free speech, but I wouldn’t go out and dance in the streets over that, because unless the law is enforced it means nothing. And in China it is often impossible to enforce such laws because there is no across-the-board rule of law. Who to people go to to file suit, especially the little farmer out n the countryside? How can they get the 60 Minutes camera crew to set up and cover their story? Oh, right, the media aren’t quite that free. And only public awareness and transparency can bring these cases to justice.

China’s new green policies and its progress have not been ignored. They have been the subject of many articles. It’s just not a topic that’s on everyone’s mind, because it’s not particularly sexy and it’s still very much in its infancy. China’s pollution is still a staggering problem. Similarly, Obama’s role in cutting taxes for the middle and lower classes has been pretty much ignored by the media, where there’s a huge meme that under Obama taxes have soared, a Tea Party mantra. The media isn’t biased on the topic, but people are simply too lazy to dig for the truth, which is out there if you look. Bias, bias everywhere.

I also read your gobsmackingly prejudiced post about Israel and the floatilla, which was so black and white – evil Israel, peace-loving humanitarians – it was laughable. Israel did some really bad and stupid things, and the Israeli-Egyptian blockade can be compared in some ways to the Lodz Ghetto. Detestable. But the issue of what actually happened and why is absolutely not black and white, and for you to come on here puffing about bias against China becomes a parody of itself when you look at your site, which is a poster boy for intense and total bias. Despite all those testimonials in your left sidebar about how brilliant you are (something I’ve rarely seen before on a blog) I see a site of complete predictability and suffocating prejudice. And then you have the cheek to declare “the media” to be biased – and stake your claim over an opinion piece in which the writer used the word “inscrutable” in a totally unprejudiced way.

To prove this point, let’s go to the actual opinion piece and see what Tony Juniper actually said:

One of the most difficult questions to answer at Copenhagen is just how far are the Chinese prepared to go to halt climate change. What is their bottom line?

I think they do want a deal and they do want action that will be effective in taking on global warming. But they are being inscrutable over what exactly they are willing to do themselves.

Oh boy. Looks like he was absolutely NOT saying the Chinese people are inscrutable. He is saying that on the issues of global warming, the Chinese are being inscrutable, cagey, unspecific about what they will actually do to improve the situation. And yet you, with our own bias, saw the word “Chinese” and “inscrutable” in the same sentence, your panties lit on fire and you instantly screamed, “Prejudice! He’s reverting to the orientalist stereotype of Chinese as inscrutable!” As expected, however, this was false, and simply a reflection of your own anger and prejudice. I realize you’re brilliant and that you cast “a sharp eye” on all the issues the common folks might not be able to understand without your selfless assistance, and you’re to be congratulated for that. But your argument here illustrates precisely the point I’m trying to make: Prejudice is often in the eye of the beholder, and you are no worse than a fenqing who goes ballistic at the most innocent reference to certain hot-button issues, allowing your emotions to neutralize your brainwaves and resulting in absurd assertions unsupported by the actual facts. Keep it up, Sharp Eyes.

June 4, 2010 @ 12:13 am | Comment

Ooh, tantrum over?

Of all the words in all the gin joints in all the towns in the world, Juniper had to use that one. But, in a scathing attack on China, “he was absolutely NOT saying the Chinese people are inscrutable”. Yeah right.

What I wrote was: ‘How are you supposed to argue with liberal press that still describe us as “inscrutable”?’ Last time I looked the Independent was liberal press. And there’s that word …

So you’re saying he used the word but didn’t mean it in the way he used it? Yeah, right 2.

Semantics. A last refuge of someone who can’t back up his argument.

I thought this was a site where it was possible to have a meaningful debate. Sorry, my mistake.

June 4, 2010 @ 5:46 am | Comment


I’m going to raise just one point that you’ve discussed, the oil leak, because otherwise I’d be up all night writing a short essay if I addressed everything else.

This was hardly a disaster caused by America (even inadvertently). There is an arguing point (whether right or wrong) that American regulations could be stronger and/or that if drilling nearer the shore were allowed such an accident would have been less likely/it would have been much easier to cap the leak. But that’s a sideshow compared to the responsibility the companies involved have for what happened.

I’m not going to pre-judge any investigations into what happened, why it happened, who is to blame, how much they are to blame, etc. But certainly it’s entirely wrong to imply only American companies did wrong. British Petroleum (the clue is in the name) was in overall charge, which is why it’s picking up the tab for the clean-up operation. There are also serious allegations that it embarked on a cost-cutting exercise to use equipment that might have met the letter of the relevant regulations but was not the safest on offer by any way, as well as pushing for the operation at the well to be undertaken quicker/more cheaply, even though it’s reportedly safer to do it a different way.

So at best for your argument the spill was caused primarily by both American and foreign companies, which will be resolved through private litigation. At worst the chief portion of the blame lies with the British company.

I say all this as a Briton, not some American looking to point the finger elsewhere.

Whereas China, wow, how much does government (central or local) really care about the environment? As richard says there has been coverage of how there has been more green development, but pollution is still a massive issue. Companies that break even China’s relatively lax laws are often allowed to continue polluting because politicians know or fear that they’re playing a great role in China’s growth that cannot be cut off. America takes pollution a lot more seriously, however you perceive China’s attitude.

June 4, 2010 @ 6:11 am | Comment

Darling, let me repeat this simple fact.
The reporter never said Chinese people are inscrutable. Never. Not even close. What he did say was that the government was being inscrutable about what they themselves would do about climate change. if you can point to this as an example of media bias against China I’d say you’re a bit hysterical and a lot irrational. Here, let me give you another example. “The Americans are being dishonest about the number of nuclear weapons they sell to Israel.” Now, would you read this as meaning American people are intrinsically dishonest? of course not. That quote, like Juniper’s, was about the respective governments in regard to specific issues. Can you make this rather simple distinction? Inscrutable is not a racist word. It means mysterious. You read it through your own filter of victimization, in which you inscrutably see anti-China bias everywhere.

Here is the offending sentence once more:

I think they [the Chinese government] do want a deal and they do want action that will be effective in taking on global warming. But they are being inscrutable over what exactly they are willing to do themselves.

If you bristle when you hear this, and if this is the very first thing you point to as proof positive of the liberal media being biased against China, it’s reflective of your being politically correct and hypersensitive, not of bias on the part of the writer. I maintain that no sane person would look at that sentence and recoil in disgust at its bias. They may say the reporter chose an unfortunate word which, to the hyper-politically correct crowd, may have some baggage, but to see bigotry and prejudice and bias is plain nuts.

Sorry if it’s not as comfortable here as it is among your sycophants but nonsense like this isn’t going to get a free pass. You’re free to debate but I expect you to honestly address the issues. Thanks madam, and I enjoyed the pun on your role model’s name.

June 4, 2010 @ 6:27 am | Comment

Thanks Raj, exactly right.

And apologies for letting Madame Mao get the better of me. Two things that set me off are hysteria and stupidity. When they’re combined it really annoys me.

June 4, 2010 @ 7:15 am | Comment

Don’t apologize, I enjoyed that.

June 4, 2010 @ 8:37 am | Comment

Heh, thanks. I think I was getting a little nasty, but only because I felt it was so well deserved.

June 4, 2010 @ 8:57 am | Comment

How do you argue with someone who would take the view of one reporter, and generalize that to represent the concerted views of the entire “liberal press” (whatever that is)?

How do you have a meaningful debate with someone who would take a word used in the context of describing a nation’s policies, and try to pass it off as being used to describe a nation’s people?

The answer to both those questions, of course, is that you don’t, for you can’t do so intelligently. What’s further striking is the failure in some quarters to grasp some basic principles. One should draw conclusions based on one’s observations; it doesn’t work nearly as well if you start with your conclusions, and look around only for those observations that fit them (give or take some additional distortion of context etc).

June 4, 2010 @ 2:39 pm | Comment

Richard, you did a devastating job on bringing Madame Miaow down.

Rather than address your points, she opines, “I thought this was a site where it was possible to have a meaningful debate. Sorry, my mistake.”

She must be a very sensitive soul.

June 4, 2010 @ 4:22 pm | Comment

If you follow the threads on MM’s own blog, when she starts losing arguments to people better armed with facts, she shuts people down with threats to delete their comments.

June 5, 2010 @ 2:04 am | Comment

Slim, thanks for pointing that out. I just saw her latest thread. Yikes. Talk about being able to dish it out but not take it….

June 5, 2010 @ 7:58 am | Comment

I believe that when all the opinion piece from journalists are heavily biased its tends to blur what is fact and what is opinion for it’s readers.

August 24, 2010 @ 12:38 pm | Comment

Have any read the Economist articles? This magazine is as china biased as you can get. Don’t get me wrong, I like reading it for it’s non-china reporting.

August 24, 2010 @ 12:39 pm | Comment

I think people in general are not against China but for some reason, I do find that the media are very much biased. I have read very carefully the articles on China and they would use words that evoke negativity in the readers mind. If example, when describing china the media woud almost always use the “Communist Government…”. About the currency issue, China like many countries would “pegged” is currency but instead of using this word the media would say “manipulation”. The media uses thes subtle words thatwould often paint a negative picture of china. Yes most of these words are more often than not used when talking about china then other countries they might have done similar things.

August 24, 2010 @ 12:48 pm | Comment

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