Fat Steve's Blatherings

Friday, March 11, 2005

Our Next Eason Jordan?

      Michelle Malkin draws our attention to an interview in the Chinese Communist Party's newspaper.  The Managing Editor of the Washington Post tells it like it ain't.

      As Malkin notes, we have so far only the Chinese paper's word that this is accurate.  So before we get to riled, let's give Bennett a chance to respond.  That said, what's in the interview?

      Bennett agrees that our country's image abroad is deteriorating, at least the U.S. govt.'s is.  It's because we support those damned Jews in Israel, are occupying Iraq, and are unilateral.  Especially bad is how Bush, after 9/11:
". . . reacted by deciding that the country would make decisions in foreign affairs that respond only to US interests."

      The fiend.

      Fortunately, our movies and pop music are popular.

      The Red Chinese correspondent is suspicious of Bush's attempts to spread democracy.  Bennett more or less agrees.  Pakistan and Saudi Arabia aren't democracies, but the U.S. is allegedly "a great ally" of them.  China is not a democracy "by American standard [sic]."  Apparently Bennett isn't sure what democracy is.  But Bennett is sure that the U.S. should not be leader of the world.

      Bennett returns to democracy, and plunges into an intellectual swamp:
Democracy means many things. How do you define democracy? As a Chinese journalist, you may have your own definition of democracy which corresponds to your history and your way of seeing the world. I may have another definition. Someone else may have their own definitions. Democracy means a lot of different things.

      Apparently, the only sure thing about democracy is that whatever it is, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia aren't it.

      I guess after all that seriousness, Bennett felt the need for a humorous change of pace:
Bennett: We have a little bit different roles in newspapers compared with our counterparts in Europe and other countries. We don't have any political point of view that we are trying to advance. We don't represent any political parties. We are not tied to any political movement. On the news side of the paper we try not to give opinions.

      Good one, Phil!

      Back to the quicksand:
One of the jobs of our correspondents in Baghdad is to tell our readers what the Bush administration is trying to hide. Bush says democracy is advancing in Iraq, but our correspondents say the situation there is much more complex than that.

      We don't know what democracy is, but, whatever it is, the statement 'Democracy is advancing in Iraq' is too simple.

      Bennett is sure that the Post should doubt the word of the White House more often.  Whether such doubting applies to any other country's govt., he doesn't say.  However, he does say the Post is like the Chinese state run media in some respects.  Just what they are is unclear to me, but I think it has something to do with both of them being anti-American.

      Bennett does make an interesting comment about major U.S. newspapers.  He says they are all pro-Democratic, and this isn't because of any rational reasons he can name, but just tradition.  He also thinks that no one pays any attention to candidate endorsements.

      Bennett also suspects the Main Stream Media are out of touch with the population.

      Oddly enough:
I think there is a perception among some of our readers that we are hostile to the Bush administration or representing our own political point of view in our news coverage. I think it is impossible to make that perception go away. Over the time it could damage the reputation of a newspaper.

      I wonder why anyone would think something like that.

      More humor:
I think the primary job of the Post is to provide people with information, not views. The primary job of a newspaper is to inform people of what is going on in our community and the world in an impartial and fair way.

      The interviewer asks a tough question, and Bennett responds with that MSM courage and unflinching integrity that even critics like me have to respect:
Yong Tang: The Washington Post often describes China as a dictator communist regime without democracy and freedom. Why is the newspaper so fond of playing with such negative words?

Bennett: I disagree with that. First of all, Neither The Washington Post, nor the New York Times, nor any other big newspapers, refer to China today as a dictatorship regime. We don't use these words on the paper any more. Now we say China is a communist country only because it is a fact. China is ruled by the Communist party.

On the contrary, we are trying to understand the complexity of China. We stayed last year in China writing many long stories about the civil society in China, about Internet, about workers, about disputes between the state and individuals over certain things. Those stories showed how complex China is.

There are many things happening now in China. Sometimes it is extraordinarily contradictory because it is a big country and it is a country which includes many many things happening at the same time. You have economic development which has put more people out of poverty over a short period of time than any other country in the world in human history. At the same time you have a single party state which dominates almost most aspects of civil society. I was in China last year to interview Primer Wen Jiabao and other Chinese officials. The top leaders of your country have spoken very often about these contradictions. How Chinese leaders will resolve them is something the whole world is waiting to see.

      You bootlicking curs.  And you wonder that we don't trust you!

      More tough stuff:
Yong Tang: What you want to say most to People's Daily readers?

Bennett: we recognize the history of People's Daily as an important newspaper in China that has played an important role in China's transformation. I feel the Washington Post has good relations with People's Daily when we came to China. People's Daily leaders have been kind enough to invite us to China. I have been to People's Daily offices in Beijing. We read People's Daily when we were in Beijing. I think this a mutually beneficially relationship.

I hope the next time when I come to China, I would be able to meet with people from People's Daily.

Yong Tang: Do you have any plans to invite our People's Daily leaders to visit your newspaper?

Bennett: We have had your editor-in-chief here. We even had a dinner together. That was two or three years ago. Of course we would be happy to see anybody here who has interest in coming to our newsroom.

      Again, assuming this is accurate, it speaks volumes about the press in general, and the Post in particular.  Now, where did I leave my flaying knives . . .



Post a Comment

<< Home