Thursday's CBS This Morning stood out for zeroing in on the plight of Catholics in China, as it covered Pope Francis's trip to South Korea. Seth Doane noted the Pope's overflight of the communist country, and pointed out how "that's significant, because the last time a pope wanted to fly through Chinese airspace was in 1989, and Beijing refused the request." The Pope at that time, St. John Paul II, took a vocal stance against the communist regime in his native Poland.
Meanwhile, ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today touted the Pope "making history" with his trip, as he is the first pontiff to visit South Korea in 25 years. Both newscasts also hyped the temporary Popemobile – something that CBS This Morning left out of its coverage: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
NBC's morning and evening newscasts have yet to cover the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong on Tuesday. That day, ABC's World News labeled the demonstration "one of the largest marches in Hong Kong's history" during an 18-second news brief, but failed to mention that the communist Chinese government was the target of the participants. The network's morning show, Good Morning America, has yet to devote any air time to the protest.
Seth Doane filed a two-minute report about the march on Wednesday's CBS Evening News. But like his peers at ABC, Doane omitted describing the "central government here in Beijing" as communist. Anchor Scott Pelley introduced the correspondent's report by noting the anniversary the protesters were marking: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
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:
On Tuesday, New York Times reporter Coral Davenport nudged Obama from the left ("Governments Await Obama’s Move on Carbon to Gauge U.S. Climate Efforts") to show "how serious [he] is" in getting with the international program to stop global warming. The effort apparently involves the president shackling the coal industry of his own country.
The article's upshot: Global warming will overwhelm island nations and cause mass destruction, and it's mainly America's fault. Yet even reporter Davenport eventually admits that it's China, not the United States, that is currently the world's most harmful polluter, though China gets a pass.
It’s been nearly a week but it seems that someone in the press finally noticed the lack of American media traveling with Mrs. Obama across China. The Washington Post’s Krissah Thompson, who just yesterday gushed over the first lady’s trip, finally acknowledged in a March 26 piece that American media were shut out from the first lady's press pool.
Despite Thompson’s admission, the Post buried the details on A7 with the awkward title that “In China, first lady lauds free press amid questions about access.” The Post reported recognized that “coverage of the trip has been made more difficult by tight restrictions on reporters and photographers, who have been kept far away from many events and were not allowed to accompany the first lady, her mother and her two daughters on their flight last week from the United States.”
First Lady Michelle Obama is wrapping up her tour of China sans the American press. Despite American media being shut out from the visit, Mrs. Obama has received glowing coverage of her trip, most recently from The Washington Post’s Krissah Thompson.
Writing on Tuesday’s March 25, Thompson puffed up “History and jump-rope as first lady visits Xi’an” before providing a glowing description of Mrs. Obama’s “five-hour sightseeing tour, giving her and her family a view of China’s long history- plus a little jump-roping on the side.”
Ignoring the most important part of the story, CBS This Morning reporter Jan Crawford hyped Michelle Obama for promoting free speech in China. Yet, Crawford never mentioned that American journalists weren't allowed to travel with the First Lady on her trip. With no sense of irony, Crawford touted, "Michelle Obama hit a hot button issue in China by praising freedom of speech in America." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The journalist played a clip of Mrs. Obama trumpeting, "My husband and I are on the receiving end of plenty of questioning and criticism from our media and our fellow citizens...But we wouldn't trade it for anything in the world." Wouldn't this have been a good point to stop and inform viewers that the First Lady did just that? Crawford even used Michelle Obama to report on Michelle Obama.
National coverage of Michelle Obama’s trip to communist China has been overwhelmingly glowing and shamelessly quiet on Team Obama’s decision to allow no press contingent to follow along, because the trip was apparently “not political.” The networks dutifully repeated that with no protest, despite more than 30 tweets from the First Lady’s account touting her trip.
But NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday deserves some kind of booby prize for burying the story of the press pool-drowning. Anchor Rachel Martin blatantly discussed how the Chinese press was fascinated by the trip, while ignoring the restricted access of American journalists.
First Lady Michelle Obama is wrapping up her tour of China today and even though the American press was shut out from her trip, the First Lady has received glowing coverage of her taxpayer-funded visit.
Despite the already over-the-top praise, NBC’s “Today” had a unique take on the trip. Appearing on Sunday, March 23, CNBC’s Eunice Yoon commented that both Mrs. Obama and the wife of the communist president of China were a “hip fashion icon from a small town who happens to be married to a very powerful man who’s running a country.”
Friday's CBS Evening News and ABC's World News both glowingly harkened back to a prominent past example of bilateral exchange between the U.S. and China, as they reported on Michelle Obama's trip to the East Asian country. But they continued their blackout on covering the White House's ban of journalists accompanying the First Lady. During a news brief, CBS's Scott Pelley trumpeted how "education is the focus of her [Mrs. Obama's] week-long trip, but there was also time for a little bit of ping-pong diplomacy."
The ABC evening newscast surpassed their competitor, however, with David Muir touting "the images making headlines out of China... the Chinese president unexpectedly coming out to meet her – the whole thing reminiscent of those iconic shots of President Nixon in his groundbreaking trip to China." Jonathan Karl also raised the air of "ping-pong diplomacy," but noted the current First Lady's departure from her predecessors in her approach to the communist regime: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
In a full report for Friday's Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: "This trip is really focused on building good will. White House aides are confident that the First Lady's personal story will also resonate with the Chinese people....It's a highly anticipated visit to a country whose relationship with the U.S. is complicated at best." All the more reason to allow American journalists to go along. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On Thursday, NBC's Today and CBS This Morning dutifully parroted the White House line that First Lady Michelle Obama's trip to China was "not political" but ignored the fact that the press corps was banned from traveling with her on the overseas junket. ABC's Good Morning America skipped the topic. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Kudos to the Washington Post's Express tabloid, which on Friday published a gripping story from Associated Press by Didi Tang headlined "The Perils of Pregnancy In China." It described how China's communist government still carries out a one-child policy with late-term abortions that are supposed to be banned.
The text box in the Post tabloid came from once-expectant mother Gong Qifeng, who said "It was the pain of my lifetime, worse than the pain of a delivering a child. You cannot describe it." AP's Tang wrote a gripping account.
Nicholas D. Kristof (I've tended to call him "Nick" through the years) has made and implemented a momentous, course of civilization-altering decision effective 1/1/2014 (HT Twitchy): "If you look closely at my Times byline ... I’ve knocked out my middle initial for the new year."
Why oh why would Nick want to do that? "I think in the Internet age, the middle initial conveys a formality that is a bit of a barrier to our audience. It feels a bit ostentatious." I've got a clue for you, Nick, old buddy old pal: Your columns are much more than "a bit" ostentatious and pretentious. Unfortunately, the disappearance of your middle initial is not likely to change that. If ever anyone exemplified navel-gazing, knee-jerk, double-standard liberalism, it would be you. Accordingly, I suggest that you begin to use a more appropriate middle initial than the one you just dropped. My suggestion follows the jump.
The fascination with and excuse-making for long-gone communist dictators responsible for the murders of millions during their reigns is a long-standing phenomenon.
Both CNBC and the New York Times continued that hoary tradition last week. Each headlined reports on the 120th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong (whose name was written as Mao Tse-Tung until about two decades ago) with "Happy Birthday, Chairman Mao!" headlines. CNBC's appears after the jump (HT Twitchy; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Wow! File this one under: what would have been the MSM reaction to a conservative who had made the same un-PC statement?
On today's Morning Joe, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, discussing the way American children have fallen behind children in other countries in academic achievement, and are coddled, handed trophies for non-achievement and protected from stress, said: "stress will be not understanding the thick Chinese accent of your first boss. That will be stress." View the video after the jump.
The latest evidence of that detachment from reality came online Saturday evening at the New York Times, and appeared in today's print edition. Writer James McAuley, described as "a Marshall scholar studying history at the University of Oxford," wrote that Dallas collectively "willed the death of the president," and that it has prospered disproportionately in the subsequent 50 years because of "pretending to forget."
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer had some harsh words for President Obama Monday in the wake of Russia and China's handling of National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
Appearing on Fox News's Special Report, Krauthammer said, "If there's no element of respect or fear - and you saw it in the summit with the head of the United States and head of Russia and China within the last two weeks - they care nothing for what Obama says, and they know that when he makes a threat, it carries no weight behind it."
Over at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin notes that the New York Times finally published a story about woman in Oregon finding a note inside some Halloween decorations which told the tale of China’s system of forced labor prisons.
These facilities—formerly called laogai or “reform through labor” but now simply referred to as prisons to avoid negative connotations—have been in use for decades as a means of crushing beliefs unapproved by the country’s authoritarian regime. But given the vast market and huge amounts of money that the Chinese regime has at its disposal, these prisons are not something that Americans and Europeans hear much about.
On Thursday's World News, ABC News correspondent Terry Moran acted like it was a big surprise that newly-elected Pope Francis stands by the Catholic Church's teachings on sexuality: "Now, as the world comes to know him, it turns out, on many issues, Pope Francis is a staunch traditionalist. He compared abortion to a death sentence; called gay marriage 'destructive of God's plan.'"
By contrast, CBS surprisingly reported on the continuing persecution of the Catholic Church in China on Friday's CBS This Morning. Though he didn't explicitly label the Chinese government as communist, correspondent Wyatt Andrews noted how "millions of the faithful worship in groups at home, praying in underground churches where religion, if practiced too openly, can lead to arrest." Andrews' report stands out from his network's biased coverage of the papal election.
Andrea Mitchell isn't about to let a good hurricane go to waste in her push for economy-wrecking climate change regulations.
On her MSNBC show today, Andrea Mitchell claimed that recent weather events including Superstorm Sandy have "taught us if nothing else, that we have a real climate problem and that we have to deal with this here even if the rest of the world isn't going to deal with it in China and elsewhere." View the video after the jump.
In 2008, as reported by Tim Graham at NewsBusters at the time, Thomas Friedman at the New York Times wrote that America ought to become "China for a day," so that Friedman's dream, in Graham's words "of a green revolution -- all those allegedly planet-saving taxes and regulations and product bans -- can be permanently enacted."
The mainland's totalitarian regime isn't merely not "green" in any meaningful sense. It also is often remarkably unconcerned about the health and well-being of its subjects. For example, a recent chemical spillp poisoned the water of millions (that's right, millions), and the government didn't bother telling anyone about it for almost a week. The story has received almost zero attention in the U.S. press. Excerpts from a January 7 story at the UK's Financial Times follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer made a scary statement Tuesday.
Appearing on Fox News's O'Reilly Factor, Krauthammer said, "China is developing a huge and sophisticated navy which it never had. And it is quite clear what the objective is: to expel the United States from its coastal waters in the Western Pacific where we have been the prevailing power for the last 50 years since the fall of Japan."
With President Obama's election win, the worldwide celebrations have commenced again. NBC's Today show documented as much as they possibly could on Wednesday morning.
Reporting from London, foreign correspondent Michelle Kosinski was tasked with narrating the story of how the election has been perceived and reported overseas. Eerily similar to four long years ago, jubilant residents from other sovereign nations were shown in a high spirits after a second term was guaranteed to Obama. [ video below, MP3 audio here ]
While President Obama's record-breaking pace to raising a total of $1 billion earlier this month received significant media attention, there was little if any curiosity among the traditional press about how he was on track to achieve such an unprecedented milestone in presidential fundraising. The broadcast networks in particular have not bothered to mention the growing scandal that is being scrupulously pieced together by alternative media outlets.
An independently-owned website Obama.com (redirects to official site here) has been suspected of accepting millions of dollars worth of illegal foreign donations for months now. Despite all the speculation and accusations coming from a nonprofit organization known as the Government Accountability Institute (GAI), no action had been taken until recently.
(See Updates re President Obama's statement in 2010 and money the State of Michigan flushed down the drain.)
Eric Savitz at Forbes relays news this morning that "A123 Systems has filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court ... Late yesterday, the battery company had warned that it was about to default on several loan issues, noting that a bankruptcy filing was a possibility; but it still seems startling to see them file just hours later."
What does (or did) A123 do? It "makes rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for electric cars." Savitz can't resist casting the bankruptcy in political terms in his third paragraph:
NPR's All Things Considered on Friday night aired a shocking piece questioning China's one-child population policy and the forced abortions that result when people try to go around the prohibitions.
Host Melissa Block said loud pleas inside China "come after gruesome photos of a 7-month-old fetus whose mother was forced to have abortion spread across the Internet last month. Increasingly, Chinese scholars say the government's population policy is not only inhumane, it's also creating a demographic disaster, one that will leave China with far fewer workers and more elderly people to take care of." Reporter Frank Langfitt told the story of Deng Jiyuan and his wife Feng Jianmei, who have a six-year-old daughter. After Feng got pregnant again, she was abducted and given a labor-inducing injection :
Despite devoting 33 stories to the dramatic case of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, NBC and ABC have all but ignored the major cause of the human rights activist: Opposing the communist country's policy of forced abortion and sterilization. From April 28 to May 7, the two networks only mentioned this detail five times– and then only in passing.
Although Chen's high profile plight might seem like a logical time to take an expansive look into China's one-child policy, the two networks passed. CBS, however, touted Chen's pro-life activities the most, referencing them in seven of 16 stories. (The three networks totaled 44 stories over ten days.) On April 28, World News reporter David Kerley mentioned, as an aside, that Chen,"who has protested and exposed forced abortions and sterilizations, was able to scale a wall and escape" his house arrest.
In the domain of what properly constitutes human rights issues, forced abortions and sterilizations have to fall in that category. So why isn't the Washington Post describing Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng as a "human rights activist"?
In two stories packaged side-by-side on page A9 of the May 8 paper, the Post's Andrew Higgins and Keith B. Richburg failed to use the term to describe Chen. Higgins tagged Chen a "blind activist," as in an activist who is blind, not an activist for the blind, but the term could confuse casual readers unfamiliar with Chen's plight. Richburg opened his story by tagging Chen as "the self-taught lawyer who has become the center of a diplomatic crisis between the United States and China."
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Thursday fretted about the "very tough spot" a Chinese dissident and human rights activist has put Hillary Clinton in. On Friday's Good Morning America, Josh Elliott kept the spotlight on Clinton, lamenting that the Secretary of State is "caught in the middle" of this ongoing diplomatic crisis.
Rather than start his report by focusing on Chen Guangcheng, the man who's life is in danger, Williams warned, "We begin tonight with a man who has changed his mind and by doing so put the U.S. and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a very tough spot in what is already a complicated relationship with China." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]