New York Times should also seek answers from within

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-11-14 0:28:01

A few overseas media outlets, such as The New York Times and Bloomberg, are agitated over visa issuance for their China-based correspondents. These news organizations are well aware that some of their stories are unacceptable to China, and they have deliberately linked the suspension of visas to these stories.

An editorial in The New York Times Wednesday claimed that "it has no intention of altering its coverage to meet the demands of any government - be it that of China, the United States or any other nation."

The New York Times still wields huge influence in the global journalism profession. The editorial oozes with pride for being the top Western public opinion platform. It sends two clear messages. Since the newspaper is hard even on the US, it feels the Chinese government needs to accept its coverage and that China merits the serious and honest attention The New York Times gives to its coverage.

Conflicts between Western media and non-Western countries often occur. Recently, CNN announced it would go off-air in Russia due to changes in Russian media legislation. Under such friction, Western media outlets often proclaim their universal values and professionalism to conceal loyalty to both their own and national interests.

The US has a different system from China. The New York Times can disregard the feelings of the US government, but cannot neglect the feelings of most American people. Maintaining US interests is the boundary The New York Times must abide by.

The newspaper will not have the intention to cooperate with the Chinese government on important matters. Its coverage is often against China's interests. It shouldn't be surprised when some of its reports and opinions make Chinese people feel uncomfortable.

The New York Times will synchronize the newspaper's interests with American national interests much more than with Chinese national interests. We basically hold these practices to be normal. The New York Times needs to know its innate restrictions and weaknesses. Only then would it be willing to reflect on itself if there is conflict between it and the Chinese government.

The world is changing. If a news outlet dares to believe that it is always doing right and need not make adjustments when running into conflicts, it's certainly not something to shout about. The New York Times declares it has "no intention of altering" as if this is a directive that China should change for it. It sounds exciting, but it won't be surprising if the newspaper meets with rejection.

China is accelerating its reforms. But some Western media outlets step in to intervene in China's political process. This goes beyond their role.

As peers, we hope journalists at The New York Times can continue to work in China. When they find they cannot stay, they should also ask themselves why.

Posted in: Observer

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