China in the Ozarks: Part Three : Analysis of Western Media Coverage of China
For the last few months there's been extensive media coverage about the Tibetan protests in China and the Olympic torch relay. As part of our on going series Global Citizenship, KSMU is bringing you a week of in-depth reports about Chinese influences in the Ozarks. KSMU's Emily Nash talked with a media professor in Springfield about the recent coverage by western media. Weiyan Wang is a Mass Media professor at Missouri State University.
She's from Beijing China, where the Olympics will be hosted this summer.
The recent media coverage about the Olympic torch relay and Tibetan protests has her concerned.
"For all we know, the majority of people actually support the relay, but on the western media, they only see that small portion of the people, so that makes most of the Chinese people really angry."
Westerners and Tibetans have been protesting the Olympic torch relay because of China's recent crack down on Tibetan human rights.
Wang says there have been inaccurate news repots about the Tibetan protests from western media sources.
She shows me a web site called anti-cnn.com.
The site is full of pictures and videos criticizing the western media's coverage of the situation in Tibet.
Wang points to several pictures that illustrate how a western media outlet incorrectly labeled Nepali police as Chinese police.
"There is one like where the media the demonstrator, protestor, actually that is Nepal or Indian police."
She also shows me recent comments about China made by CNN commentator Jack Cafferty that offended the Chinese people.
Jack Cafferty on CNN:"We also are running hundreds of billions of dollars in trade deficits with them, as we continue to import their junk with the lead paint on them and the poison pet food, and export you know jobs to places where you can pay workers a dollar a month. I think they are basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they have been for the last 50 years."
Cafferty later said he was not criticizing the Chinese people, but the Chinese government.
Wang says because of negative media coverage like this, the Chinese people are uniting and supporting their government.
"For the first time the Chinese people stick together. Just stand by the governor, because it really hurts feelings. Out feelings because we are so passionate about Olympic games. So for the first time they do support our governor now."
But even if western media have some inaccuracies, some say it's better than the government controlled Chinese media.
Jia Hou is from China and is studying in the U.S. this year.
She's been watching the recent media coverage about the Tibetan protests.
"I think there is always good and bad you know in everywhere in the world. So I heard some negative feedback about China and you know Olympics in China. Which maybe not heard by the local, common people in China."
Missouri U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill visited China recently and experienced government controlled news.
"One of the things I witnessed in China for the first time in my life was I witnessed censorship. Um, I was in my hotel room and CNN was on, and they began to report about Tibet and the screen went black. And it's a moment I will never forget. Um, because I had never seen something like that obviously in this great country of ours."
But Wang says thanks to the Internet, people in China are able to have more access to alternative news outlets.
"I think we are open, we are more open than 20 years before because there is a different way to access the media. So a lot of the Chinese they try to use the Internet. So they basically know what is going on from the western media, but back to the 20 years before we cannot know, there is no way we can know this information.."
She says the people in China have put a lot of work into getting ready for the Olympics, and says she doesn't want to see the games tainted by negative media coverage.
"Most of the Chinese people think the Olympics will be a success in China. We work for that since 2001, and we get to host in 2008. So, we work all the way up through here, and so everyone in China is looking forward. We have high expect. We want to have the biggest success in the Olympic world, in history."
Wang admits that no news media outlet is perfect.
But says she hopes to see China in the news for the positive changes it's making.