Sunday, March 09, 2014

All Your News Are Belong To Us

China goes to great efforts to shape and censor news even from abroad about China that the Chinese Communist Party does not like.

This item on the CNN web site is old, but worthwhile to note (heck, I might have noted it back then):

The efforts of China’s leaders to prevent its citizens from circulating information inconvenient to the ruling Communist Party are well known. But while censorship is a daily reality for media outlets inside mainland China, their counterparts abroad are increasingly finding themselves under pressure as well.

China’s leaders, it seems, have become more ambitious in their attempts to control the news.

What I really find disturbing is this disclaimer before the piece:

Editor’s note: Sarah Cook is a senior research analyst for East Asia at Freedom House and author of report The Long Shadow of Chinese Censorship, which was released October 22 by the National Endowment for Democracy’s Center for International Media Assistance. The views expressed are her own.

Well, CNN wouldn't want the Chinese Communist Party to blame CNN for this news, now would they? Blame Sarah! She did it!! Take her!! We didn't do anything! Really! It's not our fault and doesn't express our views!!

It is disturbing because CNN admitted that it shaped and censored its news reporting from Saddam Hussein's Iraq in order to maintain their ability to operate in Iraq:

Over the last dozen years I made 13 trips to Baghdad to lobby the government to keep CNN's Baghdad bureau open and to arrange interviews with Iraqi leaders. Each time I visited, I became more distressed by what I saw and heard -- awful things that could not be reported because doing so would have jeopardized the lives of Iraqis, particularly those on our Baghdad staff.

Oh sure, the editor portrayed it as an effort to protect their employees. But CNN could have cut loose, left Iraq, and reported from Amman. Or Kuwait City. But no, they stayed and did not report the news. "Dateline: Baghdad" was too valuable to throw away even if what followed that tag was not really news as much as it was Saddam-approved or-tolerated stories.

Which always struck me is circular idiocy: CNN did not report the actual news in Iraq in order to avoid being kicked out of Iraq by Saddam, which would have meant they could not report the news in Iraq.

At what point in their plan did they see reporting news in Iraq?

And now, a far more powerful China is attempting to shape and censor news reporting about China.

Tell me again why we should trust CNN's--or anyone else's--reporting from China?