Count

5/15/2008

做人不能太CNN...

"You should not be so CNN..." is a popular phrase that ironically has its roots in "You should not be so CCTV..." (CCTV being the Communist media mouthpiece). CNN replaced CCTV after its reporting on the Tibet riots.

Anyway, here's some irresponsible reporting that touches my heart. Headlined as "Parents' losses compounded by China's one-child policy," this news (Main page, main news, with pictures and all) seems to attribute compounded pain to China's policy. Fine, let's look at those two components then:

Now... I'm no expert on measuring pain, but I have experienced it first hand. I promise you that the loss of a family member cannot be compounded. The pain is already maxed out. Losing one is same as losing two is same as losing one of two. Perhaps there's some study that shows more pain is suffered... though the report doesn't mention such studies.

Did the Chinese policy cause this loss as implied by the headline? Well, not quite. First of all, I think the earthquake is the main culprit." Losses compounded by China policy"? Really? There are parents who would have had one child anyway... in fact, given China's much improved life expectancy, studies (from Freakenomics!) have shown the parents will choose to have less offsprings since the success rate of raising a child is high. What about the parents who have lost two children in the earthquake? Three children? Are their pains not compounded then, Ms. CNN reporter?

Such personal/political agendas that get worked into the frontpage of a major media outlet is ridiculous. Yet so little of it gets scrutinized (Oh, yeah, if I did the same on HK or Chinese media, it would be just as bad).

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I disagree with you. When you only have one child all your hopes and dreams are suddenly lost with that child. If you have other children you still have the hopes of becoming a grandparent, of seeing your offspring grow, and many other dreams.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that was the point he was trying to make I think we're all in agreement here that losing children is a bad thing. The point Josekin is trying to put out is that the fact that china has a 1 child policy shouldn't be the main point of relevance to the fact that China has had a devastating natural disaster. It is clear that the CNN reporter is attempting to put some sort of criticism on the Chinese government any which way possible

Anonymous said...

This is a non-issue.
I don't really believe the reporter meant any harm, but to say that the 1-child policy is an extraneous infringement on human rights is simply ignorance. The policy has prevented birth of 400 million people! Considering the world population now days, that's a good thing. Without this policy, China's population would be out of control, and competition for scarce resources including jobs and education would create enormous social problems that could potentially set China back for years. Then you'd all be complaining about government not doing anything to create more jobs.

Anonymous said...

This CNN headline is an assault on the dignity of Chinese people at this time of tragedy. CNN should focus on the tragic facts, loss of lives, rather than on such distasteful analysis.

Anonymous said...

That's the problem of western media: always trying to produce eye catching headlines.

Author didn't even mention that Sichuan province, an area of approx 1/20th size of U.S., already has a population of 100 millions, that's 1/3 of U.S.

Anonymous said...

It is bizare that CNN has turned blind eyes or silence to the fact that Chinese Gov allows minorities such as Tibetan to have as many children as they want.

one-child policy only applies to Han Chinese...

Anonymous said...

Most people who live close to the epicenter are Ethnic Minorities Chinese. They are Tibetan people and Qiang people.

In China, Ethnic Minorities do not have to follow the One Child Policy. They can have as many children as they want, so that they can keep their culture alive. Only the Han People (around 90% of the population)have to follow the One Child Policy.

CNN reporters, please learn some Chinese history and culture!!! Do not lie to the world!!!

Anonymous said...

I wish America had the 1 child rule.

Anonymous said...

I wish people in the media would quit attempting to make its own insightful analysis. "Digging deeper and framing the story in a human perspective - so that you, are naive and unthinking reader, can understand and have feelings". This sort of nonsense is actually advertised, and it's not the news anymore at that point. When reporting on China, how about asking the Chinese to come up with some analysis? When the news organization reports on events in another culture and comes up with its own 'analysis', they're projecting their views, concerns, and questions upon someone who they do not understand. It bothers me.

Anonymous said...

I'll post once more.. I suspect that journalists treat China particularly unfairly because they are journalists. A journalist will by nature/trade tend to be very against any sort of censorship or restriction of the press. On top of this, they in particular resent being denied full access to China. This bias amongst journalists distorts all reporting of China, and it unfortunately filters into everyone's views around the world because for most of us, journalists supply our only window into China. I hope that journalists can begin to look at themselves a little more closely and recognize where their views are not in alignment with what is inherently human, and exercise more care and caution thereafter.

Josekin said...

Wow, I didn't anticipate this amount (yeah, I'm easily satisfied with 10 people reading what I wrote...) of response. I didn't mean to endorse the one child policy. In fact, I am against any rules that overrule the basic freedom of choice, which includes the animal instinct of passing your genes onto the next generation. I write because of the way CNN has tried to attribute pain to a policy. I have experienced the loss of a brother; my mother the loss of a son. And I can tell you, the pain cannot be compounded. Especially not by a policy.

Anonymous said...

I did focus mainly on the silliness of reporting.. but I also agree with your sentiment about loss. If I had to add to that from my own experience, I would have to say that experiencing loss alone and without support is particularly difficult. I hope that with so much sympathy and awareness in the aftermath of an event such as this, that their loss may be somewhat tempered. Perhaps that is wishful thinking.

Also, I have criticized the one-child policy in China somewhat before. I know they had to do something to restrict population growth, but I would have gone with a more balanced 'two-child' policy (sounds like I'm kidding, but 'one-child' sounds just as funny). I think people could have accepted this measured action taken to counter a foreseeable catastrophe, and it would have been less rash and more human. The population would eventually have tapered down anyway.

Josekin said...

Ops, did I come off too negative? While I'm against the one-child policy, I will also objectively acknowledge the benefits that it has brought to modern China. Sometimes you (Chinese Govt) got to do what you got to do (Control population).

Ben said...

To those who are against China's one child policy: The western media is actually criticizing China and India of causing the recent food shortage. Wonder what it would be like if there is no one-child policy? No matter what China does, the western media will always only see the negative perspective.

Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous to suggest that losing one of your, say 10 children, will be less painful. Give me a break, CNN! This is typical of CNN and Western mainstream medium at large, they just have to throw some dirt at China.

Anonymous said...

At this time of tragic, CNN continues to demonize China by attacking its one-child policy. How pathetic! Americans should be thankful that 400 million fewer people are fighting for scarce limited natural resources as a result of this policy that has tremendously contributed to the control of global over-population. Ironically, had the Texas polygamous families practiced "one-child per wife", they would not have been raided by the state of Texas. It hits the nerve of state government that too many polygamous children are claiming welfare benefits.

Anonymous said...

All you guys made good point.

I personally found this article somewhat distasteful. It is sad a life is lost no matter what. For those lost children during the quake, I am sure the government will allow to bear more children again. I guess this is not the point. I am sad and I just donate some cash to the Sichuan Earthquake Relief Fund.

Laughing Man said...

"This CNN headline is an assault on the dignity of Chinese people at this time of tragedy. CNN should focus on the tragic facts, loss of lives, rather than on such distasteful analysis."

Well, the People's Daily isn't much better. Instead of focusing on the quake victims, they instead choose to report mainly on the activities of government officials. Though, yes, quake related, but they should really focus more on the little people.

Laughing Man said...

"I wish people in the media would quit attempting to make its own insightful analysis. "Digging deeper and framing the story in a human perspective - so that you, are naive and unthinking reader, can understand and have feelings". This sort of nonsense is actually advertised, and it's not the news anymore at that point. When reporting on China, how about asking the Chinese to come up with some analysis? When the news organization reports on events in another culture and comes up with its own 'analysis', they're projecting their views, concerns, and questions upon someone who they do not understand. It bothers me."

A lot of misconception or "mis-reporting" of China stems from China being so closed and secretive about news that Western societies consider to be open and everyday items. Reality is a blur in China, and I suspect it is a partial reason for all the guess work done by Western reporters.

China needs to open up and hire a boatload of good PR people.