On June 4, 1989, the communist regime in China cracked down violently on democratic protesters in Tiananmen Square. American networks had provided weeks of coverage of the protests, and the crackdown was a global outrage.
But both then and later, some national reporters embarrassed themselves by making odd comparisons between the communist crackdown and allegedly similar outrages in America:
The romantic treatment of the leftist sit-in at Wall Street by Michael Kimmelman in his Sunday Review “news analysis” “The Power of Place in Protest" was bad enough, with talk of Aristotle and “the size of an ideal polis” and how “Zuccotti Park has in fact become a miniature polis, a little city in the making.” But the real offense came in the New York Times's choice of comparison photos.
The think-piece by the paper's architectural critic was accompanied by archive photos of other massive legendary protests; Kent State in 1970; the Central Park protest against the Vietnam War in 1967; the famous man in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square in 1989; the fall of the Berlin Wall that same year. Of more recent vintage was the Tahrir Square protest in Cairo and Occupy Wall Street.
New York Times critic Michael Kimmelman was granted the front page of Wednesday’s Arts section for a snobbish chiding of uncouth American conservatives who helped squelch a video some found sacrilegious, by a featured artist in a Smithsonian gay art exhibit: “In Britain, Separation of Art and State.” ("Separation" except for when it comes to actually subsidizing the art, which Britain does.)
The Times even ran a large photo of a clip from the controversial video by artist David Wojnarowicz, "A Fire in my Belly," showing ants crawling over a crucifix. This is the same newspaper that proudly refused to reprint newspaper cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad after radical Muslims instigated an uproar back in February 2006.