Saturday, December 15, 2007

dirty red bastards 

I will be providing a PayPal link below in order to raise funds for the mirror shortage at the Times which has apparently reached crisis levels:

But despite the proximity and important interests in play, most Chinese newspaper readers had to content themselves with dry, narrowly drawn and sometimes inaccurate accounts of the events. Absent from the foreign news coverage was independent reporting from the scene or any in-depth analysis that referred to China’s strategic interests in the countries in question.


But what Chinese readers are able to learn of events in the rest of the world from most mainstream media here remains sharply limited in context and tightly controlled.


News media critics say one result of this lack of vigorous independent reporting is that what most Chinese news readers know of the world closely conforms with government policy and propaganda.

“By and large, China’s international reporting is a mirror of China’s diplomacy,” said Yu Guoming, a journalism professor at People’s University in Beijing. “As government mouthpieces, their international reports are linked with the government’s diplomacy. It’s not free, so what we’re really talking about is China’s diplomacy, not its media.”

Not that this isn't laughable on its face, but if there's any lingering doubt cf. Venezuela below. Or for an example plucked from the current news cycle, consider the Times' front page piece on the horrors currently taking place in the Congo. The conflict there is exponentially more murderous than that in the Sudan, having claimed upwards of 4 million lives in the last thirteen years.

However it is primarily driven by US and European corporate economic interests. The Congolese happen to be sitting on approximately 80% of the world's supply of Coltan, an essential substance for the manufacture of cell-phones and laptop computers, among other precious natural resources. Of course this goes nearly unmentioned in the Times piece which refers only to a "quest to control Congo’s unusually rich endowment of minerals and farmland". Those on this quest remain unnamed, and ethnic tension as source of the conflict emphasized in accordance with the Middle East reporting model.

But Save Darfur we must. Why, after all, go to Boston, Cleveland or Myrtle Beach to protest when you can rail at the dusky barbarians in Kinshasa from the comfort of your living room? Fuel costs make traveling so expensive these days. Surely we've a better chance at influencing an unallied foreign government than we do with the State Legislatures of Massachusetts, Ohio and South Carolina. Do we not? Kristof and his fellow scribes are only too happy to oblige, indulge and foment our desires to make the world a better place.

Well, so much for the Chinese media, but what of their leadership? We learn from David Brooks:

In the West, there are tensions between government and business elites. In China, these elites are part of the same social web, cooperating for mutual enrichment.

Which is why when in "the West" I choose to avoid cocktail parties, several thousand-dollar-a-plate fundraising dinners, corporate jet flights, four-star lunches, golf outings, and attending Boopsie's sports contests at Prep. That shit is tense.

In the interests of full-disclosure the Times should print a copy of Brooks' social calendar so we can rest assured that a man with the most prime newsprint real-estate in the country has extricated himself from the web of government and business elites. I'm sure Brooks knows no one who would fit the description and nothing he writes is conducive to mutual enrichment. Fucking. Douchenozzle.


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