November 17, 2009
President Obama is visiting China this week. It's a good opportunity for me as a news junkie to compare and contrast how the US and Chinese press cover the same story.
When the President arrived in Shanghai, he had a town hall meeting with students from Fudan University and Tongji University. The article from the China Daily emphasized Obama's support and curiosity about China.
"The main purpose of my trip is to deepen my understanding of China and its vision of the future..."
"We do not seek to impose any form of government on any other nation..."
"The rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a source of strength for the community of nations..."
The article in the New York Times covering the same meeting focused on the brief discussion about internet censorship in China and how Twitter is blocked.
"I should be honest, as president of the United States, there are times where I wish information didn’t flow so freely because then I wouldn’t have to listen to people criticizing me all the time...because in the United States, information is free, and I have a lot of critics in the United States who can say all kinds of things about me, I actually think that that makes our democracy stronger and it makes me a better leader because it forces me to hear opinions that I don’t want to hear."
The China Daily merely said "[Obama] noting access to information and political participation are universal rights" about the presumably same topic.
The Times also had two paragraphs about how the Q&A session was not broadcast live across China and how it was being carried by the White House website live. They also noted how the students were members of the Communist Youth League.
Interestingly, I don't think either story was unbiased or told a complete story. As expected, the China Daily had a very pro-China, on-message story; however the Times writer was clearly trying to emphasize the control the Chinese government has vs. just reporting on the meeting.
I guess as in all things in life, you need to get your information from multiple sources, note the point-of-view of the source, and then make your own judgments.Posted by Tony at November 17, 2009 10:42 PM | TrackBack