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.


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Wow, hentai and 'milf seekers'. Where the heck do these comments come from?

Posted by Nator on January 23, 2011 08:45 AM

I still don't know what "hentai" is.

But seriously, as a former journalist, I know first-hand that there's a tremendous pressure to avoid controversy. I just worked at a small-town paper, but with so much competition, anything that might upset a portion of the readership and cause them to seek their news elsewhere is avoided. I call it the conspiracy of blandness.

Posted by Scott on January 23, 2011 08:52 AM

Nator and Scott,

As you can see, the comments by and about 'hentai' and 'milf seekers' are gone.

These are spam comments that managed to get past the spam filters. About 5% of spam manage to do so and I have to go in and delete them manually. I do this several times a day and most of them appear and disappear before real people come across them.

Posted by Mano Singham on January 23, 2011 09:49 AM