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South China Sea Coverage, China Daily versus Reuters, Which is more propagandistic?

Following is a side-by-side look at how Reuters and China Daily reported on the South China Sea dispute in context of the U.S.-China relations. Again, you will have to decide which media outlet’s article is of higher journalistic standard.  One thing to bear in mind is that U.S. media almost always refer to the Chinese media ‘government mouthpieces’ as if they are propaganda machines.  In that case, read the Reuters article with that in mind too.  Which article in your mind is more a egregious and blatant propaganda piece? To be honest, I didn’t think the Reuters’ piece is that ‘bad.’ The more important point I want to make is that media is one sided. There is no such thing as ‘free’ media. We can see that when things are put side-by-side.

(Bold comments in parenthesis are mine.)

US, Philippines hold drills near South China Sea

Updated: 2011-06-29 07:58

By Cheng Guangjin (China Daily)

Beijing – The Philippines and the United States launched regular naval exercises on Tuesday close to the South China Sea, showcasing the US’ high-profile military presence in the region at a sensitive time, experts said. (China Daily says U.S. showing off powerful military in South China Sea despite a sensitive time.)

The 11-day exercises, called Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, kicked off in the Sulu Sea, which is separated from the South China Sea by the Philippine island Palawan, AFP reported. (China Daily tells their readers exactly where the exercises are.  If directly inside the disputed South China Sea areas, that would be a huge controversy.)

Two state-of-the-art US missile destroyers, along with the host’s World War II-era warships, will patrol the Philippine waters of the Sulu Sea, AFP said. (China Daily tells the size of the hardware involved.)

“We hope relevant parties do more things that are beneficial to regional stability,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news conference, commenting on the exercises.  (China Daily tells readers U.S. should be doing more things to benefit “regional stability.”  This is indirectly saying the exercises are destabilizing.)

The series of joint exercises began in 1995, but its close timing with the recent outbreak of tensions over the South China Sea is suspicious, said Su Hao, head of the Strategy and Conflict Management Research Center at China Foreign Affairs University.  (China Daily implies the outbreak of tensions might have been premeditated; U.S. joint military exercises pre-planned.)

In recent months, disputes over the South China Sea have again come into spotlight with the Philippines accusing Chinese vessels of making repeated intrusions into Philippine-claimed waters. (China Daily implying Philippines doing this is not ‘normal.’)

Meanwhile, Vietnam has accused Chinese vessels of hindering its oil exploration surveys in an area 370 kilometers off its central coast that it claims as an economic exclusive zone. (China Daily implying Vietnam doing this is not ‘normal.’)

China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia have overlapping claims to parts of the South China Sea, which is believed to have vast oil and gas deposits, while its shipping lanes are vital for global trade. (China Daily gives credence to the shipping lanes perspective.)

China has always said its sovereignty over those islands is indisputable and insisted on pushing for a resolution through peaceful negotiation and friendly dialogue according to international law on bilateral platforms. (China Daily repeats Chinese sovereignty claims.)

Su said the Philippines and Vietnam were aware that there were some multilateral events scheduled such as the joint military exercises and Shangri-La Dialogue held in Singapore earlier this month, and “brought things up on purpose”.  (China Daily suggests the spotlighting of the disputes and military exercises were pre-planned.  )

“The (Philippine-US) military exercise comes at a sensitive time,” said Su, noting that the US “has showcased its high-profile military presence in the South China Sea”.

The US is also scheduled to stage similar exercises with Vietnam next month, although it has insisted they too are unrelated to the South China Sea tensions, according to AFP.  (China Daily says despite the exercise, they are not related.  I might add, to the Chinese, their read is America is duplicitous.)

“The US is unlikely to go so far as to support the Philippines’ sovereignty claims,” said Su, “as what concerns the US is that China’s claiming of rights in the South China Sea will harm its interests in this region”. (China Daily wants reader to think the U.S. may not necessarily be engaging with China in a zero-sum struggle through Philippines.)

The US Senate on Monday unanimously approved a resolution that “deplores the use of force by naval and maritime security vessels from China in the South China Sea” and urges a “multilateral, peaceful process to resolve these disputes”, according to AFP.  (China Daily shows another relevant piece of fact – nothing to hide.)

Hong said the disputes “should be resolved through direct negotiations between the directly concerned parties” and that freedom of navigation has “never been influenced”.  (China explains freedom of navigation is separate issue and there is no linkage, implying the U.S. is using it as an excuse to inject herself into the dispute.)

The US Senate resolution “does not hold water”, Hong said. “We hope relevant senators will do more to promote the peace and stability of the region.”  (China Daily says the senate resolution is bad.)

Ye Hailin, a researcher with the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the US isn’t seeking to provoke relevant countries in the region to launch direct conflicts with China. What the US actually wants to see is an “unstable situation” in the region so it can be “a coordinator and leader in negotiations”, Ye said.  (China Daily clarifies U.S. is not there to try to get a piece of the dispute, but rather using it to become a political force in the region using it.)

“It is most beneficial for the US, as a factor of intervention outside of the region, to have regional countries in disputes but not going as far as fighting with each other, so they turn to the US for help,” Ye said.  (China Daily sheds more light on the U.S. strategy to be more relevant in the region.)

“The US will continue with its plots out of such a motive,” Ye said.

 

 

Military chief visits China, says to maintain Asia presenceBy Michael Martina

BEIJING | Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:19am EDT

(Reuters) – The United States is committed to maintaining its presence in the South China Sea, the top military official said in China Sunday, adding that Washington was worried disputes over the resource-rich waters could lead to serious conflict. (Reuters reporting to their readers justifying U.S. ‘commitment’ – whatever it means – to South China Sea in case of ‘serious conflict.’)

China has been embroiled in a row with the Philippines and Vietnam in recent months over what each government sees as intrusions and illegitimate claims in the stretch of ocean spanning key shipping lanes. (Reuters attempts to link shipping lanes and island dispute, building for excuse for U.S. interest.  The two issues should be viewed separately.  Still, I think China already recognizes the shipping lanes interest of the U.S..)

“The worry, among others that I have, is that the ongoing incidents could spark a miscalculation, and an outbreak that no one anticipated,” Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said at the start of a four-day visit to China. (Reuters implying to readers U.S. is an impartial third party who can mitigate in case of a ‘miscalculation’ between China and other South China Sea claimants.  What is the U.N. for?)

“We have an enduring presence here, we have an enduring responsibility. We seek to strongly support the peaceful resolution of these differences,” he told a news conference.  (Reuters continues to report the U.S. government view – “strongly support the peaceful resolution of these differences.”  I might ask, by joint military exercises with other claimants in the region is ‘strongly supporting the peaceful resolution?”  If Reuters quote another U.S. government source contrary to that view, I would be impressed.)

Despite unease over China’s growing military capabilities and assertiveness in the disputed waters, U.S.-China military relations have thawed in recent months and Mullen’s trip to China is seen a reciprocal visit for the one his Chinese counterpart made to Washington in May.  (Reuters’ claim of “growing military assertiveness” is opinionated.  Obviously, China is not bombing Libya.  China hasn’t been sending drones into Yemen or Pakisan killing people around the globe.  China is not doing military exercises with Russia in the South China Sea.)

That visit by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Chief of the General Staff Chen Bingde marked the country’s highest-level military-military talks since China severed ties in early 2010, furious about $6.4 billion in U.S. arms sale to Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province.  (Reuters sound objective here, but the narrative is actually very anti-China.  By the way, the basis of the joint communiqué which is the foundation of the U.S.-China relationship is that Taiwan is a part of China.  The narrative here is designed to show China is irrational about the weapons sale to Taiwan.  Sure, there is the Taiwan Relations Act, but Mainland is not invading.)

The United States has pledged its support to the Philippines in the South China Sea, which is believed to harbor rich oil and gas reserves. But Beijing insists on handling the disputes over the region on a one-on-one basis rather than multilaterally, a strategy some critics have described as “divide and conquer.” (Reuters explains why the U.S. should be party to this negotiation, simply because?  There is no basis for U.S. to be part of this dispute “multilaterally.”  That is saying, China should be allowed to inject herself in Mexico-U.S. land disputes.  U.S. interest is in the shipping lanes perspective which I think the China side already recognizes.)

China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and Taiwan all claim territory in the South China Sea. China’s claim is the largest, forming a vast U-shape over most of the sea’s 648,000 square miles (1.7 million square km), including the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos.  (Reuters singles out China having the largest claim.)

U.S. “NOT GOING AWAY”

China and the United States broached the South China Sea issue at talks in Hawaii in June, and the topic could dominate the agenda at an upcoming Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers meeting in Indonesia(Reuters tells readers this topic may come up at the upcoming ASEAN ministers meeting.  By the way, the strategy in the U.S. is to find ways to inject herself into Asian regional bodies, which Reuters knows.)

The official English-language China Daily newspaper said in an editorial Friday that ASEAN should not tolerate attempts by outside forces to interfere in bilateral disputes, a thinly veiled swipe at U.S. promises of support for the Philippines and proposed military exercises with Vietnam.  (Reuters take sides to dismiss the view that negotiations should be limited to those have claims, not third parties thousands of miles away.)

“Asia’s history proves outside forces have never worked whole-heartedly for Asian peace and development,” it said. (Reuters repeats Chinese position of distrust of foreign intervention.)

But Mullen, while emphasizing the United States’ desire to see a peaceful resolution to territorial claims in the South China Sea, also said Washington would not quit the region.  (Reuters tells readers the U.S. will ‘not quit the region.’)

“The U.S. is not going away. Our enduring presence in this region has been important to our allies for decades and will continue to be so,” Mullen said. (Reuters further justifies with ‘enduring presence’ – as if it means something.)

Chinese and U.S. ships have been involved in stand-offs in the seas off China in the past few years, and Beijing has repeatedly complained about U.S. reconnaissance patrols.  (Reuters tells a fact, but narrative is “it’s fine.”  Note earlier it said ‘growing assertiveness’ to describe the Chinese military, but says nothing about the reconnaissance patrols.  How about labeling it ‘intrusive’ and ‘provocative?’  See how propaganda works?)

China is also expected to launch its first aircraft carrier soon, which would add to its growing military clout just as other powers in Asia are becoming uneasy about its increasingly strident claims over disputed seas in the region.  (Reuters again makes a propagandistic claim.  What about the view against the existing massive U.S. military presence?)

Asked about the carrier, Mullen suggesting that having an aircraft carrier and deploying it effectively are two different things. “There is great symbolism associated with that and I understand that. Sometimes matching the actual capability versus the symbolism, there can be a gap there,” he said.  (Reuters assures its readers China’s one aircraft carrier is not much of a threat.)

(Editing by Ben Blanchard and Miral Fahmy)

 

  1. Amused
    July 11th, 2011 at 20:14 | #1

    Wow, the author shows a complete lack of analytic ability. He does a side-by-side comparison of articles on different new items (different underlying events), and he imputes meaning to the Reuters article that simply isn’t there. The author seems to be itching for an opportunity to stubbornly declare his pro-China, anti-US views, e.g. “There is no basis for U.S. to be part of this dispute ‘multilaterally.'” By the way, any state could participate in a multilateral discussion on how to settle an international dispute; this is not the same as having standing to assert a claim in a legal proceeding.

  2. July 11th, 2011 at 21:35 | #2

    So, pointing out this Reuters article is one-sided and essentially a mouth-piece for the U.S. government position is “anti-US and pro-China.” Then I must say, Amused, the day-in and day-out of this kind of reporting in the U.S. have worked ‘wonders’ for you.

    You said:

    By the way, any state could participate in a multilateral discussion on how to settle an international dispute; this is not the same as having standing to assert a claim in a legal proceeding.

    If the U.S. can demonstrate constructive engagement, I think the region should welcome that. I would wholly support it too. But, joint military exercises with some of the claimants? Come on.

    Amused, I am afraid you just don’t get it. And, it’s ok. I think many others will.

  3. July 11th, 2011 at 21:51 | #3

    any state could participate in a multilateral discussion on how to settle an international dispute

    Actually, based on Western doctrines on Libya, Amused is being too conservative. If we want to talk about prerogative of states, it probably should go something like:

    Any state could participate in the internal discussion on how to settle a purely domestic dispute of another.

    At least as far as Western-allied states are concerned.

  4. Common Tater
    July 12th, 2011 at 00:22 | #4

    Amused :
    Wow, the author shows a complete lack of analytic ability. He does a side-by-side comparison of articles on different new items (different underlying events), and he imputes meaning to the Reuters article that simply isn’t there. The author seems to be itching for an opportunity to stubbornly declare his pro-China, anti-US views, e.g. “There is no basis for U.S. to be part of this dispute ‘multilaterally.’” By the way, any state could participate in a multilateral discussion on how to settle an international dispute; this is not the same as having standing to assert a claim in a legal proceeding.

    You’ll have to get used to that around here. They attack the West with a smug and sloppy zeal. Sometimes they do some better stuff, more thought provoking, but the above post is really ridiculous. It is just the poster’s personal rants against the West, dressed up as analysis.

  5. July 12th, 2011 at 05:24 | #5

    These articles are about two different things. This is a classic straw-man article by yinyang. Good work, sir, but next time you may want to delete the headlines as they give the whole thing away before you’ve even started.

    The Reuters article comes off like a “government mouthpiece” for the US because it is about what a US military official said. It’s meant to be a summary of his statements, not a news story about the drills, which is very obvious from just reading the titles.

    Beyond that, though, I’m not sure why the author gives the China Daily credit for so much when half their story is just regurgitated from the AFP — gasp, foreign media! — report.

  6. July 12th, 2011 at 08:54 | #6

    @C. Custer
    Classic non-argument argument.

    An article talking about why China does not like the U.S. military meddling in the South China Sea and another about why the U.S. needs to be meddling in the South China Sea – is talking “about two different things.”

    I am amazed by your comment.

  7. Raj
    July 12th, 2011 at 12:51 | #7

    @C. Custer

    Fair point, Custer. But there’s not much else to expect.

  8. pug_ster
    July 12th, 2011 at 14:49 | #8

    C Custer,

    The Reuters article comes off like a “government mouthpiece” for the US because it is about what a US military official said.

    Actually, most of the paragraphs wasn’t quoted by Mullen, rather the author interjected his views.

  9. Charles Liu
    July 12th, 2011 at 23:25 | #9

    @pug – agree. for me a basic test would be “had this been government-sponsored media, would it report any differently?” At a minimum the comparison speaks volumn about our military-industrial-MEDIA-complex.

  10. July 13th, 2011 at 06:05 | #10

    yinyang :
    @C. Custer
    Classic non-argument argument.
    An article talking about why China does not like the U.S. military meddling in the South China Sea and another about why the U.S. needs to be meddling in the South China Sea – is talking “about two different things.”
    I am amazed by your comment.

    Really? You can’t figure out how those two are different? Let me help, since you apparently missed it the first time:

    The Reuters article comes off like a “government mouthpiece” for the US because it is about what a US military official said. It’s meant to be a summary of his statements, not a news story about the drills, which is very obvious from just reading the titles.

    One more time?

    The Reuters article comes off like a “government mouthpiece” for the US because it is about what a US military official said. It’s meant to be a summary of his statements, not a news story about the drills, which is very obvious from just reading the titles.

    How do I know the Reuters article isn’t meant to be about the drills? BECAUSE THEY WROTE A SEPARATE ARTICLE ABOUT THE DRILLS:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/24/us-philippines-usa-drills-idUSTRE75N1GC20110624

    They also wrote an article about China’s opposition to them, specifically to give China’s side of the story. They quote a high level Chinese military officer repeatedly! The US officer isn’t quoted until the absolute last paragraph!:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/11/us-china-us-military-idUSTRE76A25J20110711

    But of course, you couldn’t be expected to look for either of those articles on your own, as that would have required Google, and two seconds of your time. Here:
    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=reuters+us+phillipine+drills
    (note that you don’t even have to spell Philippine right for it to work!)

    So, tell me, where’s the China Daily article about the US’s perspective on the drills that’s like the last article I linked to?

    (Hint: You’re going to have a hard time finding it, because it doesn’t exist.)

    Game/set/match/etc.

  11. steve
    July 13th, 2011 at 07:06 | #11

    The free media part is your ability to put these two different sources side by side!
    ***YOU are the free media here!***
    Media freedom is not about the quality of any single source. It’s about the number of different voices.
    Given that there really is a lot of propaganda flying around from just about everyone, wouldn’t it be nice if the constitutional law that protects the rights of Chinese people to access different news stories and publicly discuss them like you’re doing here was actually enforced?
    I’m glad I came here and read your thought-provoking post. Thank you. But I only got here via a headsup from a news-links-hub site that is blocked by the Great Firewall.

  12. r v
    July 13th, 2011 at 07:30 | #12

    “The free media part is your ability to put these two different sources side by side!
    ***YOU are the free media here!***”

    YES, WE ARE. Unlike those who actually call themselves “free media”.

    Only proves that it has nothing to do with the laws or the system, but what people DO with the information they get.

  13. July 13th, 2011 at 09:06 | #13

    @C.Custer #10

    You said:

    The Reuters article comes off like a “government mouthpiece” for the US because it is about what a US military official said. It’s meant to be a summary of his statements, not a news story about the drills, which is very obvious from just reading the titles.

    Oh please! Wake up from your own wet dream.

    You said:

    How do I know the Reuters article isn’t meant to be about the drills? BECAUSE THEY WROTE A SEPARATE ARTICLE ABOUT THE DRILLS:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/24/us-philippines-usa-drills-idUSTRE75N1GC20110624

    Again, that article explains why the U.S. needs to meddle militarily on behalf of the Philippines.

    You are looking at a pimple on the elephants butt and can’t see the elephant.

    You said:

    They also wrote an article about China’s opposition to them, specifically to give China’s side of the story. They quote a high level Chinese military officer repeatedly! The US officer isn’t quoted until the absolute last paragraph!:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/11/us-china-us-military-idUSTRE76A25J20110711

    This article is light years better, because it does indeed offer some Chinese perspectives. BUT, did you see what the article did? Each position is then countered. Further more, the article reports in a very superficial way on the Chinese position. It is still arguing on behalf of the U.S. government position.

    Does it contemplate this idea of Chinese spy planes buzzing 16 miles off the coast of America? No. Why is this important? Because then Americans would realize the hypocricy of what the U.S. is doing. That alters the dynamics of the mindset important in understanding each other.

    As I have already said many times, not all articles are ‘bad.’ Despite it being not so good, the issue here is this type of article is still so rare in American media. (See my post about a PEW Research report systematically looking at U.S. media coverage of China.)

    You see my point? U.S. media despite being ‘free’ is not objective. It speaks for the U.S. government. Don’t feel threatened by that fact. The Chinese people and the American people will be able to understand each other much better when they realize how their media are reporting about each other.

    You said:

    But of course, you couldn’t be expected to look for either of those articles on your own, as that would have required Google, and two seconds of your time. Here:
    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=reuters+us+phillipine+drills
    (note that you don’t even have to spell Philippine right for it to work!)

    Let me repeat, you are looking at the pimple.

    If fact, you are a bit crafty. You might search for “us+philippine+drills” and omit “reuters” to get a sense of the amount of ‘propaganda’ from other corners of U.S. media.

    You said:

    So, tell me, where’s the China Daily article about the US’s perspective on the drills that’s like the last article I linked to?

    Where did I say Chinese media is verbatim ‘objective?’ My point is the China Daily article is in fact more objective.

    But sure, I will keep that in mind next time I am on China Daily.

  14. July 13th, 2011 at 11:49 | #14

    A system of slavery in which the slaves may choose their masters, is not a system of freedom.

    A system of “free media”, in which the people may choose among garbage news, caged in by their own preconceptions and cultural paranoia, is not a system of “free media”.

  15. xian
    July 13th, 2011 at 12:49 | #15

    Whether or not one should take a quotation as reflective of the outlet’s bias itself is never a clear answer, and is probably the exact reason why they do it. With the exception of overly strong wording of China being “furious”, the two seem more or less the same: Selective reporting of facts and quotes to present a stance without directly supporting it in plaintext.

    Again, the same media antics everywhere. You could argue every paragraph from either article is an attempt to infer some underlying message or impression. Or you could take both at face value, then combine the facts and quotes not found on the other article together, then judge for yourself. That is still the only objective way to read news IMO

  16. July 13th, 2011 at 13:47 | #16

    @xian
    Indeed, it is really hard. How do you prove I am biased and vise vera? I am trying to show for those who have gotten used to accepting the ‘government mouthpiecing’ as journalism to think otherwise.

    And this is an observation. Many Western journalists predicted with the Internet, the Chinese people will use it to ‘rise up’ against the Chinese government. But, I think what is happening is more and more Chinese people are realizing what the Western media are saying about China, and for the first time, in fact, the very same Internet, is giving them a voice to confront those narratives. Look up Martin Jacques.

    raventhorn2000 is absolutely right. Having ‘free media’ does not guarantee a variety of perspectives. Neither does it guarantee objectivity. As I have written previously what the PEW Research Center found about American media coverage of China:

    In fact, as you will see in the PEJ report, the U.S. media reporting of China really vacillates around few dominant and recurring negative themes. And, they are not so truthful; definitely not objective.

  17. July 13th, 2011 at 15:29 | #17

    I’m shocked. These are two totally separate stories, being compared as if they’re about the same thing. This is head-smackingly wrong. Are you guys serious?

  18. July 13th, 2011 at 15:37 | #18

    @richard
    C.Custer has beat you to that. If you have something more enlightening to add to his argument, please go ahead.

  19. July 13th, 2011 at 19:20 | #19

    yinyang :
    @C.Custer #10
    You said:

    The Reuters article comes off like a “government mouthpiece” for the US because it is about what a US military official said. It’s meant to be a summary of his statements, not a news story about the drills, which is very obvious from just reading the titles.

    Oh please! Wake up from your own wet dream.
    You said:

    How do I know the Reuters article isn’t meant to be about the drills? BECAUSE THEY WROTE A SEPARATE ARTICLE ABOUT THE DRILLS:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/24/us-philippines-usa-drills-idUSTRE75N1GC20110624

    Again, that article explains why the U.S. needs to meddle militarily on behalf of the Philippines.

    No, it doesn’t. It does explain the rationale for the drills, because that’s relevant information. And it’s certainly written for its audience — Americans — who want the answer to the question: What is the US doing in the South China sea, and why? That said, it’s not an op-ed piece, and it’s balanced by the corresponding piece that answers the question: Why does China oppose these drills?

    This article is light years better, because it does indeed offer some Chinese perspectives. BUT, did you see what the article did? Each position is then countered. Further more, the article reports in a very superficial way on the Chinese position. It is still arguing on behalf of the U.S. government position.
    Does it contemplate this idea of Chinese spy planes buzzing 16 miles off the coast of America? No. Why is this important? Because then Americans would realize the hypocricy of what the U.S. is doing. That alters the dynamics of the mindset important in understanding each other.

    Uh what? First of all, it doesn’t counter every point, although it does offer alternate perspectives on a few in addition to the Chinese perspective. Second of all, it SPECIFICALLY MENTIONS (and doesn’t counter at all) the Chinese opposition to the fact that “America’s global unmanned aircraft have conducted reconnaissance only 16 nautical miles from China’s border”. Later in the article, it mentions that AGAIN.

    So…what was that you were saying about it not mentioning spy planes again?

    You see my point? U.S. media despite being ‘free’ is not objective. It speaks for the U.S. government. Don’t feel threatened by that fact. The Chinese people and the American people will be able to understand each other much better when they realize how their media are reporting about each other.

    Of course not. Objective is an unattainable ideal. There are varying points on the spectrum, and you’re right that some US media do essentially function like propaganda rags when it comes to China. The difference — and this is a crucial difference — is that they’re not legally required to.

    You said:

    But of course, you couldn’t be expected to look for either of those articles on your own, as that would have required Google, and two seconds of your time. Here:
    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=reuters+us+phillipine+drills
    (note that you don’t even have to spell Philippine right for it to work!)

    Let me repeat, you are looking at the pimple.
    If fact, you are a bit crafty. You might search for “us+philippine+drills” and omit “reuters” to get a sense of the amount of ‘propaganda’ from other corners of U.S. media.

    I used Reuters because we were talking about Reuters. Of course, if you leave it out, you can find some propaganda.

    My point is this:

    If you search US news sites for news about this, you’ll find some that are relatively balanced and objective, and some that aren’t.

    If you search Chinese news sites, though, will you find the same thing? You won’t — not because the Chinese media isn’t as good, they are — because Chinese regulations do not allow them to be objective when it comes to international issues that involve China.

  20. July 13th, 2011 at 21:38 | #20

    @C.Custer

    I don’t think our debate is fruitful. Perhaps there is another way, but I haven’t found it yet.

    You said:

    No, it doesn’t. It does explain the rationale for the drills, because that’s relevant information. And it’s certainly written for its audience — Americans — who want the answer to the question: What is the US doing in the South China sea, and why? That said, it’s not an op-ed piece, and it’s balanced by the corresponding piece that answers the question: Why does China oppose these drills?

    Hilight is mine. So, we are still not talking about the same thing? Ok, whatever.

    You said:

    Uh what? First of all, it doesn’t counter every point, although it does offer alternate perspectives on a few in addition to the Chinese perspective. Second of all, it SPECIFICALLY MENTIONS (and doesn’t counter at all) the Chinese opposition to the fact that “America’s global unmanned aircraft have conducted reconnaissance only 16 nautical miles from China’s border”. Later in the article, it mentions that AGAIN.

    No, you are not comprehending. The point is to bring it home closer to America, talk about reconnaissance in context of China flying 16 miles off the coast of America. That is the type of honesty necessary to get Americans to think why China opposes what the U.S. is doing and is missing from the article.

    You said:

    Of course not. Objective is an unattainable ideal. There are varying points on the spectrum, and you’re right that some US media do essentially function like propaganda rags when it comes to China. The difference — and this is a crucial difference — is that they’re not legally required to.

    Nope, U.S. media in majority of China reporting is propagandistic. See my recent article, “Pew Research Report, “THE U.S. MEDIA ON CHINA”. This was based on a systemtic study done by the PEW Research Center on Excellence in Journalism. They concluded there were only a few predominant topics reported by U.S. media when it comes to China and were negative.

    On those particular topics, they were propagandistic (with one exception); conclusion of my analysis, not PEW’s. For example, the vast majority of Mattel’s toy recalls were due to design flaws (80%), not due to manufacturing. But the U.S. media made it all out to be ‘China’s’ fault which is a distortion. That was one of the topics identified by PEW.

    You said:

    If you search US news sites for news about this, you’ll find some that are relatively balanced and objective, and some that aren’t.

    Some are balanced and objective, but majority are not.

    You said:

    If you search Chinese news sites, though, will you find the same thing? You won’t — not because the Chinese media isn’t as good, they are — because Chinese regulations do not allow them to be objective when it comes to international issues that involve China.

    That’s a new one. What “Chinese regulations?”

    Sigh, where do we go from here? Let’s see, U.S. media essentially propagandized lies about WMD and cheerlead Americans into supporting an Iraqi invasion. Did Chinese media do anything like that? Look at Libya today – U.S. media are purposefully ignoring coverage of Libyan deaths from U.S. and NATO bombings. That is a form of propaganda through omission. Did the Chinese media do that?

    Now show me in what international issue did the Chinese media behave like that.

    Look, I am not saying the Chinese media is not capable of doing what the U.S. media has actually done. All media around the world are capable of that.

    I’ll quote myself from the OP:

    Which article in your mind is more a egregious and blatant propaganda piece? To be honest, I didn’t think the Reuters’ piece is that ‘bad.’ The more important point I want to make is that media is one sided. There is no such thing as ‘free’ media. We can see that when things are put side-by-side.

  21. July 13th, 2011 at 22:24 | #21

    No, you are not comprehending. The point is to bring it home closer to America, talk about reconnaissance in context of China flying 16 miles off the coast of America. That is the type of honesty necessary to get Americans to think why China opposes what the U.S. is doing and is missing from the article.

    It’s not the job of a newswire organization to come up with hypotheticals to get Americans to understand China’s point of view. If that’s the best way to make China’s case, then that’s what the Chinese military leaders should have said when Reuters asked them to state China’s case for the record. You’re just complaining that they’re not serving as a propaganda mouthpiece for China. That’s not their job, nor should it be. It’s China’s job to state its case in the strongest terms possible. If you don’t like how it was presented in that article, take it up with that Chinese general I was quoting.

    Regarding the PEW study, why do you gave the impression the media should be required to report an equal number of positive vs. negative stories? For that matter, during that same time, what were the major stories reported about the US during that time? Most US media reports on China are negative because EVERYTHING IN THE US NEWS MEDIA IS NEGATIVE. Tragedy, conflict, drama sells. Harmony doesn’t. This is as true in China coverage as it is in American coverage. I agree it’s not healthy, but it’s not some evil bias against China, it’s just the way the US news media does business.

    Look at, for example, the Obama birth certificate thing….that went from negative to negative. First, the story is that Obama is suspicious, and maybe a secret foreigner, which is a negative story. Then he releases the birth certificate, and the story becomes “Donald Trump is a dumbass” which, while very true, is also a negative story. THAT’S WHAT SELLS. Tragic, but no one’s going to buy a paper if the headline says “Everything is great.”

    It’s important to remember that it’s not the media’s job to help people understand China, it’s their job to REPORT THE NEWS. Sometimes those overlap, but usually they don’t. Anyway, they’re two different things. If your standard is the US media should be promoting understanding of China, then they will never, ever, EVER meet that standard. It’s simply not how the media works.

    Nor is it fair to hold them to some standards of “balance” in positive or negative coverage. Their job, again, is to report things of significance that happen. Their business forces them to skew heavily towards significant negative things that happen, except in sports reporting. They are more or less trapped by what happens. If China didn’t export poisoned toys, for example, then it would be unfair of them to report that, but that was a completely legitimate story, and the fact that they ran it doesn’t then mean they need to go out and find some positive China story just to be “fair” to China.

    Re: Iraq and Libya, the media certainly dropped the ball on WMDs, but they then came back on it and spent the next six years ruthlessly trashing the president and the administration in general. Well deserved, but if there had been that kind of coverage about China, your eyes would be popping out of your head. With Libya, I haven’t been following it closely enough to speak on it one way or the other, and I don’t have time to research it now.

    Re Chinese press regulations, just read the leaked propaganda directives on China Digital Times for a start (they post the latest ones every few weeks). Or I’ll give you a personal example: Last fall, I worked for a Chinese media company, running the website. I was, at one point, explicitly told by my direct supervisor that under NO circumstances could there be ANY positive mention of Liu Xiaobo on our website. Now, even if we assume Liu really is the evildoer the government says he is, any “balanced” and free media would at least be allowed to write an article about the Nobel prize, laying out whatever evidence there is for or against Liu. However, as the government controls all media outlets in China, no one was allowed to report on that at all. The few Chinese media reports that addressed it, such as a few Global Times editorials, were specially permitted exceptions and even then, they were just op-ed pieces, there was no “news” reporting allowed whatsoever, and no op-ed pieces that didn’t agree with the Party line (believe me, I tried!)

    Most large/controversial issues that are covered in the Chinese media are covered only within the restrictions of directives from the central and local propaganda departments. Occasionally something slips though before the directive comes down; those articles are ordered to be deleted. In some cases, especially with the Southern Media group where reporters and editors are always trying to get around or just ignoring restrictions and directives, then people also get fired.

  22. July 13th, 2011 at 22:37 | #22

    @C. Custer
    I appreciate you writing this thoughtful comment. And I promise to respond constructively too.

    I won’t burden you with considering this further until your overtime assignment is complete. So I will wait til tomorrow or later to respond.

  23. perspectivehere
    July 14th, 2011 at 03:09 | #23

    Now that the British phone hacking scandal has caused the scales to drop from people’s eyes regarding the perfidy of the British media, perhaps people will start asking some probing questions about the appropriate role of the corporate media in a democratic republic, and whether the power of concentrated corporate media subverts the democratic process.

    Pay attention to what is being said and reported, because what we are seeing is one of those rare moments when the mainstream media is actually lifting a veil – to a degree – from the corporate media and reporting on things that would ordinarily be relegated to “investigative journalism” blogs. This will only last a few weeks I suspect, before powerful interests reallign and tamp down on the discussion. Here are some examples of this:

    “For Murdoch, the scandal marks a dramatic reversal. For three decades, the Murdoch media empire has had near-mythic powers among British politicians to destroy careers and determine the result of elections.”

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/125547958.html

    I don’t know why people think that the corporate news media as it now exists in the Anglo-American economies represents in any way shape or form a seeking after “truth”. News as presented these days is driven by the business agendas of the owners. As does any professional marketing process, it seeks to promote sales of its products and generate profitable revenues for the benefit of its shareholders. News media (like lawyers) have the additional benefit of being able to influence the political process (through its “news”) so that laws can be written and regulations promulgated or enforced that are beneficial to the owners’ business interests.

    We can see this very clearly when News Corporation shut down the 168-year old British paper, News of the World, over the widening hacking scandal, not because of the scandal itself, but because the scandal threatened News Corp’s acquisition plans of another British media company.

    It is interesting that News Corporation shut the paper down without conducting a full investigation (as far as has been reported) of the allegations. The usual practice would be for the owners to conduct an investigation, and after those results are known, to assign blame accordingly. In this case, the paper was simply shut down. One can draw different conclusions as to why News Corp was so ready to kill the paper.

    What this scandal shows is that the British news media was also ready willing and able to conduct sordid, reprehensible and criminal activities in order to produce a more saleable product, in the form of exclusive and sensationalistic scoops. And the news media, at the same time acting as a scold and moral arbiter towards others, wrapping themselves in the flag of “truth, decency and media freedom”, refused to look at the rot and hypocrisy within its own. For example, this:-

    “What the papers won’t say: The omertà of Britain’s press and politicians on phone-hacking amounts to complicity in crime”
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/print/essays/7075673/what-the-papers-wont-say.thtml

    “So one point is beyond debate. News International’s leading profit centre, the News of the World, was dependent on a very ugly culture of lawbreaking, hacking and impunity. This freewheeling, ask-no-questions attitude spread to other parts of the organisation, such as the Times and the Sunday Times, both of which used have used illegal or unethical techniques. Even more troubling, when senior News International management were confronted with evidence of wrongdoing, the company made false statements and took actions which prevented key evidence from reaching the public domain.

    All of this raises the question: what on earth were the British prime minister and his wife doing at the Orangery on that Thursday night? There are those who maintain that David Cameron is little more than a high-grade public relations man. Cameron’s long association with the Murdoch empire, dating from his dreadful decision to hire Andy Coulson — a former editor of the News of the World who resigned after a phone-hacking scandal, and now looks to be in even deeper trouble — unfortunately suggests that the prime minister’s detractors are on to something.

    When still leader of the opposition, David Cameron came across the PR fixer Matthew Freud, son-in-law of Murdoch, at Rebekah Brooks’s wedding. The two men exchanged an exuberant high-five salute. To this day, the Prime Minister and his wife remain on cheerful social terms with Brooks, who lives barely a mile up the road from the their country home. They have been known to go riding together. All this is too depressing for words.

    In normal circumstances, such troubling and persistent failures of prime-ministerial judgment would be meat and drink to an opposition leader. But until this week, Ed Miliband had made the pragmatic decision to ignore the phone-hacking story — explaining privately to confidants that he had no choice because the alternative would be ‘three years of hell’ at the hands of the Murdoch press. His recent, panicked call for Brooks’s resignation only serves to highlight his silence on the scandal hitherto.

    …..

    The truth is that very few newspapers can declare themselves entirely innocent of buying illegal information from private detectives. A 2006 report by the Information Commissioner gave a snapshot into the affairs of one such ‘detective’, caught in so-called ‘Operation Motorman’. The commissioner’s report found that 305 journalists had been identified ‘as customers driving the illegal trade in confidential personal information’. It named each newspaper group, the number of offences and the number of guilty journalists (see above). But, as the commission observed, coverage of this scandal ‘even in the broadsheets, at the time of publication, was limited’. The same reticence has been seen, until now, over the voicemail-hacking scandal.

    By minimising these stories, media groups are coming dangerously close to making a very significant statement: they are essentially part of the same bent system as News International and complicit in its criminality. At heart this is a story about the failure of the British system, which relies on a series of checks and balances to prevent high-level corruption. Each one of them has failed: parliament because MPs feel intimidated by the power of newspapers to expose and destroy them; and opposition, because Ed Miliband lacked the moral imagination to escape the News International mindset — until he was forced to confront it all by the sheer horror of the Milly Dowler episode.

    That leaves the prime minister. He finally woke up to the kind of company he has been keeping on Tuesday when during his Afghanistan visit he declared the Milly Dowler revelations ‘truly dreadful’. David Cameron has repeatedly displayed an inability to make a distinction between right and wrong. The press ought to have stepped into the breach. Unfortunately, we in Fleet Street have forgotten that the ultimate vindication of journalism is not to intrude into, and destroy, private lives. Nor is it the dance around power, money and social status. It is the fight for truth and decency.”

    ****************
    Yeah right. Anyone who believes that — I’ve got a bridge to sell.

  24. perspectivehere
    July 14th, 2011 at 03:33 | #24

    I think what the British media hacking scandal has exposed (due to a seismic event) is not so much “the western media is the mouthpiece for government propaganda” as it seems to show that the corporate media is powerful as to make the politicians act for their interests. Politicians are afraid of the corporate media because of the media’s ability to manipulate public opinion, and make or break their careers. So politicians serve the needs of the media.

    How does this affect China?

    China has a tightly regulated media, and the global corporate media are not free to pursue profits as they please. China’s media has acquired more freedom and power in recent years, but they do not exercise much power over the State or the CCP.

    Global media corporations would love to exercise the same freedom to make revenues as it does in the Western countries, and to seek to make the Chinese government its plaything (like it appears to have done to the British government), but they are not powerful enough – yet. So they employ British (and American and Australian) politicians as mouthpieces to pursue their “media freedom” agenda. If the politicians will fight China’s government policies and open up the media, this will give the corporate media greater access to pursue revenues in Chinese markets.

    If I were a shareholder of these companies (and I probably am, through various mutual funds and retirement accounts), I would applaud these actions — purely from my own economic interests, I would think that these are exactly what they should be doing to enhance growth prospects in China. A CEO who failed to vigorously pursue a China growth strategy would be booted out.

    Commentators to this posting should simply agree that news media products are designed to enhance the interests of their owners, and with that as the starting point, try to analyze the news media products to figure out where those interests lie, and what interests are being promoted.

    Arguing about whether one or another report is or is not “propaganda” is not particularly useful. The most effective propaganda (or PR) is often the least obvious anyway, so it is pointless to argue whether or not something is propaganda.

    One of the most effective “propaganda” efforts in the 1940’s was this movie, which is one of my personal favorites. It can be somewhat disillusioning to learn of this, and one might want to be in denial, but then a mature understanding would be “so what”? It’s still a heck of a movie. http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/learning_history/casablanca/casablanca_menu.cfm

  25. July 14th, 2011 at 08:59 | #25

    “That’s not their job, nor should it be.”

    That’s merely an excuse for “self-censorship” for financial interests, which is a form of censorship according to the US State Department when criticizing the “pro-Chinese government” media in Hong Kong.

    By Western Media’s own logic, Western Media themselves are “intimidated into self-censorship” by their own governments, in picking the kinds of statements to report.

    ” then people also get fired.”

    And that doesn’t happen in Western Media?!

  26. July 14th, 2011 at 09:14 | #26

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/apr/22/chinathemedia.rupertmurdoch

    Here is a good article on how a Western Media Mogul grovelled to a Government.

    You don’t think he did it in the West? He got his US citizenship so he could own US TV stations and to get his license for NFL football.

  27. dadi
    July 14th, 2011 at 16:57 | #27

    Just one question – who owns China Daily? That speaks all

  28. raventhorn2000
    July 14th, 2011 at 18:25 | #28

    Who owns any big media? MONEY and POWER. Same in any country.

    If likes of Murdoch are the alternative, Yes, it’s better that the “Free Media” shut their mouths.

  29. July 15th, 2011 at 06:45 | #29

    Custer,

    “Or I’ll give you a personal example: Last fall, I worked for a Chinese media company, running the website. I was, at one point, explicitly told by my direct supervisor that under NO circumstances could there be ANY positive mention of Liu Xiaobo on our website. Now, even if we assume Liu really is the evildoer the government says he is, any “balanced” and free media would at least be allowed to write an article about the Nobel prize, laying out whatever evidence there is for or against Liu. However, as the government controls all media outlets in China, no one was allowed to report on that at all. The few Chinese media reports that addressed it, such as a few Global Times editorials, were specially permitted exceptions and even then, they were just op-ed pieces, there was no “news” reporting allowed whatsoever, and no op-ed pieces that didn’t agree with the Party line (believe me, I tried!).”

    Oohh, imagine that, a non-pro-government Western “journalist” actually working in a Chinese-government controlled media.

    How many pro-China Chinese reporters work in Western big “free media”??

    Then, you can get the kind of censorship in the West, ie. if you are Chinese and not openly anti-Chinese government, you won’t even get through the proverbial glass door in the Western “free media” company.

    Chinese-government controlled media actually gave you a job, where you actually “tried” to change the media policy??

    Wow. You are right, it would be much better that those Chinese media hire ONLY people whose views are openly aligned to their policies, to avoid your kind of “news” altogether.

  30. ltlee
    July 15th, 2011 at 20:28 | #30

    @C. Custer
    The odd thing is that when a western media was reporting on an issue involving China, it suddenly lost all analytical capability. Whatever western leaders had espoused would be reported as self evident truth.

  31. perspectivehere
    July 15th, 2011 at 22:45 | #31

    custer wrote:

    “It’s important to remember that it’s not the media’s job to help people understand China, it’s their job to REPORT THE NEWS.”

    ******
    It’s hard to tell if you are stating this opinion out of naivete, ignorance or disingenuousness.

    It’s more important to remember that you need to distinguish among (i) an idealized, wishful thinking picture of how you would like the media to work, (ii) how the media claims that they work, and (iii) how the media actually works.

    Professor Noam Chomsky of MIT has spent over 20 years analysing and writing about American media. His writings form the foundation of any college-level course on the media, and his views are pretty compelling. Have you considered his analyses? Here is one excerpt:

    “The Media: An Institutional Analysis”

    “If you look back at the Revolutionary War period, you’ll find that Revolutionary War leaders, people like Thomas Jefferson (who’s regarded as a great libertarian, and with some reason), were saying that people should be punished if they are, in his words, “traitors in thought but not in deed” — meaning they should be punished if they say things that are treacherous, or even if they think things that are treacherous. And during the Revolutionary War, there was vicious repression of dissident opinion.

    Well, it just goes on from there. Today the methods are different — now it’s not the threat of force that ensures the media will present things within a framework that serves the interests of the dominant institutions, the mechanisms today are much more subtle. But nevertheless, there is a complex system of filters in the media and educational institutions which ends up ensuring that dissident perspectives are weeded out, or marginalized in one way or another. And the end result is in fact quite similar: what are called opinions “on the left” and “on the right” in the media represent only a limited spectrum of debate, which reflects the range of needs of private power — but there’s essentially nothing beyond those “acceptable” positions.

    So what the media do, in effect, is to take the set of assumptions which express the basic ideas of the propaganda system, whether about the Cold War or the economic system or the “national interest” and so on, and then present a range of debate within that framework — so the debate only enhances the strength of the assumptions, ingraining them in people’s minds as the entire possible spectrum of opinion that there is. So you see, in our system what you might call “state propaganda” isn’t expressed as such, as it would be in a totalitarian society — rather it’s implicit, it’s presupposed, it provides the framework for debate among the people who are admitted into mainstream discussion.

    In fact, the nature of Western systems of indoctrination is typically not understood by dictators, they don’t understand the utility for propaganda purposes of having “critical debate” that incorporates the basic assumptions of the official doctrines, and thereby marginalizes and eliminates authentic and rational critical discussion. Under what’s sometimes been called “brainwashing under freedom,” the critics, or at least, the “responsible critics” make a major contribution to the cause by bounding the debate within certain acceptable limits — that’s why they’re tolerated, and in fact even honored.

    Well, to begin with, there are various layers and components to the American media — the National Enquirer that you pick up in the supermarket is not the same as the Washington Post, for example. But if you want to talk about presentation of news and information, the basic structure is that there are what are sometimes called “agenda-setting” media: there are a number of major media outlets that end up setting a basic framework that other smaller media units more or less have to adapt to. The larger media have the essential resources, and other smaller media scattered around the country pretty much have to take the framework which the major outlets present and adapt to it — because if the newspapers in Pittsburgh or Salt Lake City want to know about Angola, say, very few of them are going to be able to send their own correspondents and have their own analysts and so on.

    Well, if you look at these larger media outlets, they have some crucial features in common. First of all, the agenda-setting institutions are big corporations; in fact, they’re mega-corporations, which are highly profitable — and for the most part they’re also linked into even bigger conglomerates. And they, like other corporations, have a product to sell and a market they want to sell it to: the product is audiences, and the market is advertisers. So the economic structure of a newspaper is that it sells readers to other businesses. See, they’re not really trying to sell newspapers to people — in fact, very often a journal that’s in financial trouble will try to cut down its circulation, and what they’ll try to do is up-scale their readership, because that increases advertising rates.34 So what they’re doing is selling audiences to other businesses, and for the agenda-setting media like the New York Times and the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, they’re in fact selling very privileged, elite audiences to other businesses — overwhelmingly their readers are members of the so-called “political class,” which is the class that makes decisions in our society.

    Okay, imagine that you’re an intelligent Martian looking down at this system. What you see is big corporations selling relatively privileged audiences in the decision-making classes to other businesses. Now you ask, what picture of the world do you expect to come out of this arrangement? Well, a plausible answer is, one that puts forward points of view and political perspectives which satisfy the needs and the interests and the perspectives of the buyers, the sellers, and the market. I mean, it would be pretty surprising if that weren’t the case. So I don’t call this a “theory” or anything like that — it’s virtually just an observation. What Ed Herman and I called the “Propaganda Model” in our book on the media [Manufacturing Consent] is really just a kind of truism — it just says that you’d expect institutions to work in their own interests, because if they didn’t they wouldn’t be able to function for very long. So I think that the “Propaganda Model” is primarily useful just as a tool to help us think about the media — it’s really not much deeper than that.

    Testing the “Propaganda Model”

    Well, essentially in Manufacturing Consent what we were doing was contrasting two models: how the media ought to function, and how they do function. The former model is the more or less conventional one: it’s what the New York Times recently referred to in a book review as the “traditional Jeffersonian role of the media as a counter-weight to government” — in other words, a cantankerous, obstinate, ubiquitous press, which must be suffered by those in authority in order to preserve the right of the people to know, and to help the population assert meaningful control over the political process. That’s the standard conception of the media in the United States, and it’s what most of the people in the media themselves take for granted. The alternative conception is that the media will present a picture of the world which defends and inculcates the economic, social, and political agendas of the privileged groups that dominate the domestic economy, and who therefore also largely control the government. According to this “Propaganda Model,” the media serve their societal purpose by things like the way they select topics, distribute their concerns, frame issues, filter information, focus their analyses, through emphasis, tone, and a whole range of other techniques like that.

    Now, I should point out that none of this should suggest that the media always will agree with state policy at any given moment. Because control over the government shifts back and forth between various elite groupings in our society, whichever segment of the business community happens to control the government at a particular time reflects only part of an elite political spectrum, within which there are sometimes tactical disagreements. What the “Propaganda Model” in fact predicts is that this entire range of elite perspectives will be reflected in the media — it’s just there will be essentially nothing that goes beyond it.”

    http://www.uiowa.edu/~cyberlaw/lem02/chomsky1.html
    Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power: The Indispensable Chomsky
    (Peter R. Mitchell and John Schoeffel, editors, New York: The New Press (2002))
    (Fair Use Excerpts intended for the use of students in Nicholas Johnson’s Law of Electronic Media
    University of Iowa College of Law Fall 2002)

  32. perspectivehere
    July 15th, 2011 at 23:40 | #32

    I think yinyang’s recent posts comparing 2 articles, one by a Western press source and another by a China media source, while not perfect, are illuminating.

    Looking closely at the Reuter’s piece, the biases come through very clearly. For example, the Reuters’ piece contains emotive words like “furious”, “strident”, “military clout” and “thinly-veiled swipe” (referring to China’s actions). The journalist or editors who chose these words did so deliberately. This is their job, to make word choices that convey the message they intend to convey.

    Some readers will absorb the emotional message uncritically and reach the conclusion the editors want. This is a form of emotional manipulation – one can call this propaganda.

    The critical reader will be aware of this kinds of editorial bias and be capable of resisting these kinds of techniques.

    (see “Emotive Language made simple”: http://library.thinkquest.org/C008200F/page9.htm)

    “How to read Emotive Language”

    “The use of emotive language in academic writing can obscure the message, and is no substitute for facts. As readers, it is necessary to separate the fact from the emotion. As writers, take care that emotion does not distort the factual/analytical aspects….Emotive language reflects the opinion of the writer (for/against).

    ….As a reader, check that the use of emotional language is not covering inadequate facts or illogical or weak argument. These are value-judgements by writers, not facts.

    Here are a few hints to help you practice recognising emotive language:

    When you read any article, it’s a good trick to see if you can imagine what it might be like if written by someone who held different views. How could a writer use language to try to sway your emotions so that you come to a different conclusion? Listen to politicians, too! They often use a lot of emotive language to persuade people to agree with their ideas.

    Emotive Language use in reporting

    ….

    The role of emotive or dramatic language in the news is a subtle one – though the story itself may not be dramatised, it may be possible to inject emotive, attention getting language into a story to “liven it up”. This would have benefits in terms of engaging the audiences’ attention and understanding. The criticism of this is that emotive language takes away from the facts of a story and places an interpretative or dramatic angle on the facts, thus skewing the viewers’ perception of events via their emotions….

    By loading the news items with emotive language, some values are automatically implied on each item, limiting the ways in which it can be interpreted by the audience.

    Emotive Language is defined as language used by the journalist reporting the story that describes elements of the issue or situation in an emotive manner, particularly language that dramatises or places extreme meanings on the items in which it is used. The words used in such language should be recognisable as those words designed to elicit an emotional reaction from the viewer, and describe the “feelings” of an event, rather than the actual event itself. Examples include: “horrific” accidents, “heroic” actions, “furious” politicians, etc.”

    **************
    Here are some of the emotive words in the Reuters article that convey images, intentions or reactions regarding each of the US/Washington or China/Beijing, respectively.

    Emotive Words about United States / Washington:
    – committed
    – worried
    – enduring responsibility
    – enduring presence
    – pledged its support
    – desire to see a peaceful resolution
    – would not quit the region
    – important for our allies
    – involved in stand-offs in the seas off China

    Reuters Article – Emotive Words about China / Beijing:
    – embroiled in a row
    – growing military capabilities and assertiveness
    – severed ties in early 2010
    – furious
    – divide and conquer
    – thinly veiled swipe at U.S.
    – involved in stand-offs in the seas off China
    – repeatedly complained about U.S. reconnaissance patrols
    – add to its growing military clout
    – other powers in Asia are becoming uneasy
    – increasingly strident claims over disputed seas

    What are your emotional reactions upon reading these words? Are they neutral or slanted to promote a positive or negative emotional reaction?

    If I were an editor seeking to convey facts, I would have taken these emotive words out and used more neutral ones.

    Neutral language is best when one wants to avoid taking sides in a dispute.

    For example, see “Philosophy 103: Introduction to Logic: Emotive Significance”

    “I. Language can be analyzed into the two aspects of literal meaning and emotional meaning.

    A. Emotive words are words that carry emotional overtones. These words are said to have emotive significance or emotive meaning or emotional impact.

    1. Two different words or phrases can have literal (or denotative) meanings which are similar, but differ significantly in their emotive significance.

    2. Often, we speak of “slanting” as emotive significance; i.e., a word or phrase can be positively slanted, neutral, or negatively slanted.

    B. Emotively neutral language is preferable when we are trying to get to the facts or follow an argument; our emotions often cloud our reasoning.

    1. When our purpose in language use is to communicate (i.e., the informative use), then, if we wish to avoid being misunderstood, language having the least emotive impact is the most useful.

    2. When resolving disputes or disagreements between persons, it is usually best to try to reformulate the disagreement in neutral language. In essence, as we will see later, we are distinguishing between the belief (i.e., factual reference) and the attitude (the emotional reference) expressed by a given speaker or writer.”

    (http://philosophy.lander.edu/logic/emotive.html)

    ************
    It should be manifestly evident that, by using emotive words with a positive slant when describing the US and its intentions and actions, and emotive words with a negative slant when describing China and its intentions and actions, the Reuters article is biased and contributes to creating a positive image of the US and a negative impression of China in readers minds. As such, it would not be unreasonable to characterize it as “anti-China propaganda”.

  33. ltlee
    July 16th, 2011 at 01:10 | #33

    @perspectivehere
    Excellent analysis.
    Basically, western presses are for profit organizations. They exist to make money for their shareholders. Truth frequently comes in a distant second. And journalists would be successful by contributing to the companies’ bottom line. Articles which impact positive emotion on targeted audience are likely to sell more papers. Given this constraint, anti-China propaganda is inevitable and no one should be surprised.

  34. July 18th, 2011 at 02:08 | #34

    I’m back, but it seems to make more sense to respond to this stuff in the new post that’s been made about it, so see my comment there.

  35. July 18th, 2011 at 10:45 | #35

    http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/asiapacific/news/article_1649775.php/Vietnam-government-slams-plot-against-state-amid-sea-spat

    I believe I also predicted that this was going to be the case, that Anti-Communist groups (some sponsored by the West) are using nationalism to incite rebellion against the Vietnamese government.

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