Home > Analysis > Fine line between journalism and activism

Fine line between journalism and activism

Yesterday I tweeted this Global Times article, “Do not foment youngsters to protest,” and to my surprise, I got a retweet response from Tom Lasseter, who is currently Beijing Bureau Chief for McClatchy Newspapers. Now, I can understand it is human nature to agree or disagree with truths. But, the central tenet to freedom of the press is to make sure there is balance in narratives. So, Lasseter tweets back with, “! RT,” telling his Twitter followers to ignore the Global Times article. What do you think? Is this crossing the line between journalism and activism? Some may argue he is simply expressing his opinion. Twitter is mass media isn’t it? [July 6:Updated per response from Lasseter]

Tom Lasseter, Beijing Bureau Chief for McClatchy Newspapers, can’t stand GT’s perspective, asks not to retweet

[July 6: Lasseter wrote and clarified:

My use of exclamation point was meant to convey the piece is very interesting. Am not aware that it means “don’t retweet”

In that case, I owe him an apology for misreading what was meant by “! RT.” ]

Or, consider the recent settled case between Apple and ProView for $60million over the rights of the iPad name in China. Gady Epstein of The Economist tweets:

Gady Epstein of The Economist scoffs a rule of law in Apple-ProView case

Is this so called journalist for rule of law or for us-versus-them?

  1. Zack
    July 6th, 2012 at 13:05 | #1

    In an era where the internet has endangered the livelyhood of journalists, many journalists feel that they need to sacrifice journalistic integrity and editorialise their stories-this comes to a point where they become activists, as observed in your case, yinyang. Of course, it helps if part of that activism involves attacking their competitors-as Global Times is, in the case of any western media sponsored attack against any Chinese media sation.

    So really, i would disregard any western journalist criticizing Global Times, because they have a conflict of interest. Their objectivity and journalistic integrity is in question the moment they feel the need to simply simply say ‘RT!’ rather than honestly address each and every single point a Chinese article has to make.

  2. Charles Liu
    July 6th, 2012 at 15:22 | #2

    What’s not to understand?

    a) Don’t use children as human shields against the police; whoever used their kids should be prosecuted for child endangerment.
    b) Rule of law means the police have the right to tell you protest is over.
    c) If you don’t go home after that, it’s illegal assembly subject to arrest even in US.
    d) If you start rioting, the police have the right to use baton, tear gas, rubber bullets on you – heck even real bullet if use of deadly force is deemed justifiable.

    Free speech is not without legal limit, especially for foreigners who basically have no political rights in the country they are visiting. For example Canadians were routinely deported for protesting the Gulf War in DC.

  3. no-name
    July 6th, 2012 at 22:59 | #3

    The US media is rigidly two-faced and unashamed about it. Mcclatchydc is an anti-PRC news outfit (I am its regular reader) which likes to put words like corrupt, rape and Chinese in the same sentence. What kind of shit it is. China should be kicking them out if not for some WTO rules. US media is fond of censuing and/or selectively highlighting articles favouring the west. For example, my many articles at Scribd have been blocked and censored. I ask you, what’s wrong with this article at http://www.scribd.com/doc/99226301 which has been censored simply for telling the truth about the US.

  4. pug_ster
    July 7th, 2012 at 11:42 | #4

    What’s the significance of this story? Journalism was dead a long time ago in the West. These foreign ‘journalists’ working in China are nothing more than propagandists.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.