Posts Tagged ‘Ye Shiwen’

The Political Olympics

August 9th, 2012 27 comments

As the Olympics wind down in London, there can be little doubt in anyone’s mind that this Olympics is about politics.  How else can one explain the string of smears against Chinese athletes and their performances – coming from unexpected sources such as the prestigious journal of Nature – all in the name of “science and objectivity” – as well as expected sources such as the NY Times – where personal tragic setbacks such as Liu Xiang’s can be made into a kind of political statement?

Nature’s article on Ye Shiwen was especially troublesome.  The editors of Nature wrote:

At the Olympics, how fast is too fast? That question has dogged Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen after the 16-year-old shattered the world record in the women’s 400-metre individual medley (400 IM) on Saturday. In the wake of that race, some swimming experts wondered whether Ye’s win was aided by performance-enhancing drugs. She has never tested positive for a banned substance and the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday declared that her post-race test was clean. The resulting debate has been tinged with racial and political undertones, but little science. Nature examines whether and how an athlete’s performance history and the limits of human physiology could be used to catch dopers.

Nature then went through the “science” of how unusual, super-human Ye’s performance and how a clean drug test during competition does not necessarily rule out the possibility of doping. Read more…

Nature apologizes to readers and Ye Shiwen

August 9th, 2012 8 comments

If there is anything that the British should be the most proud of, it is their establishment of the science peer review process. Because of it, science research work are inspired to be top notch and published works stand scrutiny. This culture has taken root firmly in America and other developed countries. Developing countries like China are too working to have it ingrained. And, perhaps, no other than the science journal, Nature, epitomizes that culture the best. Nature is the most revered around the world and the most cited magazine within the science community. Scientists around the globe dream to have their work published by Nature. Once published, it is instant fame and even promotions for the scientist. So, what does the paper have to do with Ye Shiwen? I will start with the journal’s apology to readers and Ye Shiwen by Chief Magazine Editor Tim Appenzeller and Editor-in-Chief Philip Campbell. Read more…

Ye Shiwen follow-up: media scorecard (BBC & New York Times)

August 9th, 2012 28 comments

First, let me emphasize that I don’t believe or even suspect the 800m freestyle Olympic gold medal winner Kathie Ledecky is doping.  Yes, she came from nowhere (ranked #55 in 2011) and had a huge one-year improvement (4.2%), but these aren’t unheard of for teenagers.  For example, the 2004 200m backstroke gold medal winner, Zimbabwean Kristy Coventry had the similar trajectory (ranked #19 in 2003 and one-year time improvement was also 4.2%).  Compare to Ye who was fairly well known prior to the Games, they truly came from nowhere and had much larger one-year improvement (Ye’s one-year improvement was 1.9%.).

While on the topic of suspicion of doping, I am having a hard time to believe Carmelita Jeter is clean.  Jeter’s personal best of 100 meter dash was at age 26 11.48”, at age 27 11.02”, and she has managed to improve to 10.64” at age 32.

The purpose of this post is examining the coverage of Ye and Ledecky by a couple of major Western media outlets, and scoring them in terms of being fair and balanced.



It aired the viewpoint of John Leonard; it also aired the rebuttals by Ye, her team and her Australian coach.

It reported the WADA test result as it is, and Lord Moynihan’s view.

Its guest commentator Ian Thorpe offered his defense of Ye.

At the end, with all information available so far, it has done a couple of fine pieces of summary reports (report A, report B).  Also the pictures of Ye Shiwen aren’t the unflattering ones, certainly not PS’d.


New York Times – F

What an embarrassment of horrendous journalistic integrity!  I know New York Times has sunk into hell, but I simply can’t imagine it can sink this low.

Like everybody else, it provided a stage for John Leonard’s viewpoint.  It made no mention of the rebuttals, but had no problem of summarizing the reactions by the Chinese media and the public — in its twisted way I might add.  It didn’t report the WADA test result, or Moynihan’s defense, or Ian Thorpe’s defense, or Michael Phelps’ defense of Ye.  It also didn’t report the doping questions being raised on Ledecky because of her improvement being far better than Ye’s.

Finally, check this piece out. Like the great Ludacris asked, how low can you go?

Categories: Analysis, media Tags: ,

The Guardian bitterly fights tarnished image from propagating Leonard’s lame accusation over Ye Shiwen

August 7th, 2012 45 comments

Seeing Phelps and other Olympians defend Ye Shiwen against wild accusations by Leonard has given the Chinese hope that China and the West can see eye to eye on issues. While Leonard’s accusations were problematic, the true culprit in this whole affair are in fact the British and American media, for they were the ones to glorify and propagate that seemingly racist charge. For every single gold medal winner, there will bound to be sour grapes. If the media collectively cherry-picks only certain sour grapes targeting athletes of certain nationality, that is willful defamation. The British and American media in fact voiced no perspective defending Ye Shiwen, but instead gave credence to Leonard. Chinese on Weibo responded with anger. Chinese media have brought this ridiculous behavior on the Western media’s part to light. Now that this whole affair has back-fired, I’d like to share with our readers how the British paper, The Guardian, unrepentant, still tries to be on the offensive. Read more…

The politics of the Olympics, more unfounded unfair criticisms

August 3rd, 2012 10 comments

One of my favorite Western reporters in China is Rob Schmitz of the Marketplace program from American Public Media. (In contrast to propagandist variety like Andrew Jacobs who once wrote for the New York Times that China was banning the jasmine flower.) Today, I must take exception to a narrative he offered about Yang Yu and Wang Xiaoli for being disqualified from throwing matches as a sign the Chinese government is hellbent on getting gold medals. The best explanation there is that the badminton rules are designed such that better players can throw matches to influence which opponents they are paired against in subsequent rounds to up their chances at winning ultimately. See Scott Page and Simon Wilkie’s article, “Bad(minton) by Design,” published today at the Harvard Business Review.
Read more…