in Uncategorized on CNN

CNN is in town this week, and doing several programs about Shanghai. Most a bit stereotypical, but I guess that’s what the average CNN viewer is looking for. They also approached Toodou for an item about podcasting. This morning I watched the item (luckily my illegal sattelite dish was working today), and I was not too impressed.

The item itself started off OK, but very soon it turned to censorhip in China. Gary gave a good comment by saying that for every page that is blocked there are probably 9 million with similar content that are not blocked. And he is right, the government knows it cannot block everything. But it is not really an issue for the average Chinese netizen: most don’t even want to go to the (mainly foreign) sites that are blocked.

Why does the media always focus on censorhip when they hear China and internet? In most of the interviews that I do the word comes up in the conversation. It is really not a big issue here (for me personally it is sometimes, but not for the average Chinese), and everybody knows there are so many ways around blocked sites that it is more like a joke to me.

Toodou is about entertainment, giving people a platform to show their videos. The site is supposed to be a place to relax, find new interesting videos and share these with friends. By focusing once again on censorship CNN is giving the world a very distorted view of reality in China.

Note: I got some questions about my illegal sattelite dish. Why do I not have a legal one? Simply because my building has no permit for legal (government controlled) dishes, and therefore I cannot buy a legal one. Almost every apartment here has one.

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  1. Consider CNN’s target audience, and their stakeholders. There’s no such thing as freedom of press in the US, you’ll have a better chance of that in China I bet.

    Americans want to hear that their country is the best, and love to see the evils of the outside world pointed out to them – so they can feel good about themselves, their government, and any outstanding wars that might be going on.

    Cut to commercials: buy more beer, fast food, and diet products, of course.

    If there ever was such a thing as unbiased reporting on CNN, it ended the day they invented the term “embedded journalist” at the start of Gulf War 2.0.

    In other words, don’t get me started on American media. 🙂

    Actually, CNN is quite tame. For some real revisionism and striaght up Republican propaganda, switch to Fox News the next time you’re in the US. Or the next time your illegal dish works, whatever comes first. It’ll turn your stomach. That sort of shit makes SBS Actienieuws look like a pillar of ethical journalism.

    Anyway, you got some exposure – I’m sure it’ll pay itself off somewhere down the line. 🙂

  2. Interesting comments Jasper, considering that your wife is a US citizen 🙂

    I actually also have Fox News on my sattelite dish, and I agree that most of it is just right-wing propaganda. It’s quite sad that many Americans don’t seem to realize this.

    One of the things I learned while living abroad is that every story has two sides, but that most media only show one side: the side that their audience expects to hear.

  3. Hi Thijs,
    I agree with your view of the reporting of CNN. Kristy Lu Stout, a nice anchorwoman, was a bit unfair as well. The way she introduced the ‘Internet and Censorship’ item didn’t make any sense. She started talking about the People’s square in Shanghai, connected it with the Tiananmen square in Beijing, recalled the 1989 incident and tied it with the Great Firewall of China. It was very suggestive, biased and was not necessary for that item. I liked her item about the traditional Qing ladies robe though…Anyway, fact is that Chinese people have more freedom than ever in history. An Internet which is superficially restricted is better than no Internet at all. People have to see things in perspective and see it in the right historical context.