January 22, 2011
Media filters at work
Apparently that portion of the press conference where Chinese president Hu Jintao was asked about human rights issues was blacked out in the state-run China media. Damian Grammaticas, the Beijing correspondent of BBC News, says smugly, "Just hearing a Chinese president deal with direct questions on human rights is incredibly rare. In China the heavily state-controlled media doesn't pose them”
But when have you heard anyone in the major US media ask Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton at a press conference how the US can lecture other countries on human rights when it is itself a serious serial violator?
The point is that the filters in the media that weed out independent thinkers works so well that it would never occur to almost all those who rise to the level of being allowed into these press conferences to pose such a question. Any journalist who had the temerity to do so would be frozen out by the government (and even his or her colleagues) and never be called upon again and would have to be replaced by his organization. This would be a bad career move and journalists likely realize this, at least at a gut level.
This is why the US does not have to be so crude as China and censor broadcasts. The media does it itself perfectly well.