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Tilting at Windmills

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April 18, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

CHO AND CHINA....Via Ross Douthat, James Fallows tells the story of what happened when one reporter made one mistake and identified the Virginia Tech shooter as a Chinese national: Fox and Drudge picked it up and the Chinese media subsequently went into full lockdown. Wow.

Moral of the story: get your facts right, kids. Second moral: freedom of the press sucks in China.

Kevin Drum 12:53 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (26)

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Comments

[Handle Hijack]

Posted by: Al on April 18, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK
Second moral: freedom of the press sucks in China.

Since when does "sucks" mean "does not exist"?

Posted by: cmdicely on April 18, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

They are all furriners, and therefore bad.

And Al, you can't use sober and sucks in the same sentence.

Posted by: Kenji on April 18, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

Fox and Drudge seem to pick up more than their share of bad information.

Why is that?

Hmmmmmm . . .

Maybe a huge dependence on single sourcing from dishonest and unreliable conservative sources?

Posted by: anonymous on April 18, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Al: It's also a fantastic demonstration that the constant chicken-littling about alleged lost civil rights is completely overblown; liberal blogs and the MSM have been slandering the president for years, with no consequences.


Al, you sound sad that the press here has not suffered... Just because the press here has not lost it's ability to obfuscate and propagandize, doesn't diminish the real loss of civil liberties in the US. These are two distinctly different issues. Maybe you'd feel more comfortable in China, where they really tell you when and where to shit your pants.

Posted by: bigcat on April 18, 2007 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

What's fascinating is reading Fallows's account of the ever-changing party line on the Chicago Sun Times web site. The poor schmoes on the copy desk there must have felt like Winston Smith on the day Oceania switched from being at war with Eurasia to being at war with Eastasia.

Posted by: Peter Principle on April 18, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

don't trust fox news.

Posted by: gregor on April 18, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Yet Drudge is the most trusted name in news:
STEP 1: A new right-wing gossip (Ben Smith) at a new substance-free political rag (The Politico) seizes on some petty, manufactured incident to fuel personality caricatures of Democratic candidates.
STEP 2: The old right-wing gossip (Drudge) uses his old substance-free political rag (The Drudge Report) to amplify the inane personality caricatures.
STEP 3: Right-wing hacks with pretenses of respectability -- like Mickey Kaus and others -- follow the script by "analyzing" the gossip and embracing it.
STEP 4: National media outlets -- such as AP and CNN -- whose world is ruled by Drudge, turn the gossip into "news stories."
STEP 5: Our Serious Beltway Political Analysts -- in this case, the very somber and smart Substantive Journalists at The New Republic -- mindlessly repeat all of it, thereby solidifying it as conventional wisdom, showing that "even Democrats and liberals are embarrassed by their candidates."

Step 1 is merely an optional source for Drudge who dredges up slime from wherever it can be acquired.

Posted by: Mike on April 18, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps the public sensibilities are not quite modern in China and the adjoining countries.

They are burning effigies of Richard Gere in Bombay for God's sake. And Gere is probabily an Indophile!

Posted by: gregor on April 18, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

If you have a blog, you can see if it is banned in China. (Both of the blogs I post to are. I am quite proud of that.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 18, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

It should be noted that Michael Sneed, the Chicago Sun-Times columnist who first made the claim that the gunman was a Chinese national, is a very poorly regarded gossip columnist. She (that's correct) made her name, such as it is, because old Mayor Daley liked her a good deal and gave her stuff that other reporters didn't get. Nobody in Chicago has taken her seriously about anything but celebrity birthdays in years.

Posted by: Paul or the Giant Rabbit on April 18, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Since when does "sucks" mean "does not exist"?

Well, a vaccuum sucks, and a vaccuum is the absence of anything....

Posted by: Shelby on April 18, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

I deplore this lock down by the Chinese authorities. They are a major threat to freedom and liberty.

Obviously, after we take care of Iraq, we have a little more East Asian housecleaning to do.

Posted by: egbert on April 18, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Oh man, Egbert, that's rich.

Seriously. Let's invade and occupy a country of well over one-billion! Particularly while our economies are so significantly linked! Should be easy.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume the real Egbert was spoofed.

Posted by: Everblue Stater on April 18, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

I can confirm what Paul of the Great Rabbit above says. No one here in Chicago takes Sneed seriously.

As for the Chinese media, you may recollect that they once took a story from /The Onion/ seriously, so that they are merely taking Gossip Columnists seriously is a step in the right direction.

Posted by: Disputo on April 18, 2007 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

And O'Reilly kept referring to him as Hui.

Did he not see the front page of one of his English papers - He typed his name as Seong Cho. Did not even include the -Hui.

Cho was his freakin' last name - Not his first.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 18, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

...freedom of the press sucks in China.

Uh-oh.

Don't tell me they heard the one about the teen in Aruba?

Oh my god.

Don't tell me they are also fixated on Anna Nicole?

She-la-la.

Don't tell me they've been following Tommy Cruise's baby story too?

Oh fuck.

Posted by: ROTFLMLiberalAO on April 18, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Al: A sobering account of how much China sucks.

Assuming that, in this context, you're using "China" as shorthand for "Chinese government", we've actually found something on which we agree.

It's also a fantastic demonstration that the constant chicken-littling about alleged lost civil rights is completely overblown; liberal blogs and the MSM have been slandering the president for years, with no consequences.

Wow, US gov't intervention in freedom of the press not as bad as Chinese gov't's. Talk about low standards.

What's next? Fairer elections than North Korea?

Better health care system than Somalia?

Less murderous than Stalin?

Posted by: alex on April 18, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

I guess the Chinese cant get enough of that href="http://frankwarner.typepad.com/free_frank_warner/2007/04/chinese_xinhua_.html#comment-66925026">breaking news from Tunisia.

Posted by: Neo on April 18, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

don't trust fox news.

...or women named "Michael."

Posted by: Tom on April 18, 2007 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

It's not even a Chinese name.

Hui is. Cheung certainly isn't. Don't think Cho is either.

Guess it sounds Chinesey enough to the American ear. But still, it's hard for me to believe that nobody in a newsroom broadcasting international stories had the wherewithall to say: "Whoa now! Fact check!"

Posted by: Saam Barrager on April 18, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Cho was his freakin' last name - Not his first.

I've seen alot of confusion regarding this.

Koreans place their family name first and their two given names (syllables) last -- when they are in Korea! When they are in the US, they adopt the Western convention of placing the family name last. In addition, many will replace their given names with an American sounding name.

It is perfectly appropriate for the NYTimes to refer to someone living in Korea as Cho Seung Hui, but it demonstrates ignorance on their part to refer to a Korean who has been living in the US for 2/3s of his life that way.

Posted by: Disputo on April 18, 2007 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

As for the Chinese media, you may recollect that they once took a story from The Onion seriously, so that they are merely taking gossip columnists seriously is a step in the right direction.

Posted by: Disputo on April 18, 2007 at 2:16 PM

Here's what happened, from a Kurt Andersen blog in 2002. Still makes me chuckle just thinking about it:

"Then a few weeks ago, the Beijing Evening News, a Chinese government-run daily with a circulation of a million, ran a story reporting that members of Congress want a new Capitol building with a retractable dome and luxury skyboxes, and that they were threatening to move the Capitol out of Washington to Tennessee or North Carolina if they didn't get it. That story was lifted from The Onion."

Posted by: Vincent on April 19, 2007 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

don't trust fox news.

...or women named "Michael."

Posted by: Tom on April 18, 2007 at 4:37 PM

Say what? Had a falling-out with Michael Learned of "Waltons" fame?

Posted by: Vincent on April 19, 2007 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Like the Nazis (who were big fans of gun control), the KKK, and too many of my fellow liberals today, you make broad, misinformed generalizations about people whose politics you don't like and are the picture of intolerance.

Sir, you cannot win an argument by citing the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. That's as preposterous as can be. While I am no fan of liberals, even I have more decency than that, and that's saying a lot.

And, no, I am no "sock puppet" as accused above. Every time I explain how things work to liberals, I get called all manner of things and NONE of them are true. Suffice it to say, if I was any one of those things, my comments would be moderated.

As for you, Sebastian-PGP--your time is up. I suspect a moderator will tire of your silliness before too long.

Good day, sir. And try to understand--wearing all black is a sign you probably want to go out in a blaze of glory like in some Bon Jovi video.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 19, 2007 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

That's on the wrong thread, there. Disregard me at 9:07. I think I am still buzzing after drinking too much green tea.

My apologies.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 19, 2007 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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