Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Phillip J Cunningham, "When the best in the West get it wrong," Informed Comment: Global Affairs

The earthquake in China offers those in the Western press a chance to do what they do best --report the facts, but it may also turn out to be field day for those who like to hit a country when it is down. Some good old-fashioned reporting would be a good change of pace for certain US and European news outlets, especially the recently maligned CNN, to repair reputations tattered for sloppy reporting on Tibet.


[In Burma] China's timely material aid was viewed as a PR exercise, while reckless US and French offers to essentially invade Burma to save it from itself, were cast in a deeply humanitarian light.


And now, another huge human tragedy, the earthquake in Sichuan....Here CNN has a chance to reverse its declining China fortunes, for the Beijing bureau is lucky to have a seasoned China hand like Jaime Florcruz at the helm....Earlier today, he quietly pointed out in a live report that the Chinese government is pretty good at marshaling resources in times of disaster.

On a not entirely unrelated topic, I have been reviewing Western media coverage of Tiananmen 1989 for an upcoming twenty-year retrospective. I worked as a freelancer for BBC at that time, and at one time or another have done work with NBC, NHK, CCTV and have contributed to China documentaries aired by CBS, TV Asahi and PBS. It is dismaying that after all this time, an event of such importance to the Chinese people is still taboo to the Chinese media. Secondarily, it is lamentable that so much of the Western coverage was narcissistic and imagination-driven.

Read the whole article =>

Cunningham's piece on Tiananmen 1989 is in the Bangkok Post under the title, "When the best in the West get it wrong." Getting it wrong is a euphemism for what he describes. =>

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