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This is what happens when you don’t get the concept of a slow news day…

December 20, 2008

Picking up on other news just briefly, I am really in two minds about this article about a Chinese man in Kunming holding his girlfriend out of the window.

Reported in both the Times and the Telegraph in the UK almost word for word the same.

The Times allows 300 character comments on all articles and so the hatred started, accusing them of anti-China bias. The article then droped from front page of the website with pictures to second from bottom of the global news section.

Then the comments started disappearing. Hmm this all smells a bit fishy to me.

I can’t work this one out in my head- perhaps anyone else out there can throw in their opinion?

  • The argument is that the reporting is anti-China because it shows a negative. The Chinese don’t like this as you have probably guessed by now from my other posts.
  • The paper is then accused of bias because people claim that this would not be reported if it were New York or elsewhere in the world. But is that true? Taking a hostage is a relatively common thing but holding her our of a window- that is more like the stuff of films. This is actually worth reporting from a sensationalist human interest story point of view.
  • The guy was talked down by negotiators, this is remarkable because China clearly now has effective hostage negotiators. A clear sign of increased police training and the desire to solve problems without just shooting people.
  • One might want to consider this against the hugely negative reporting of police in the UK following the Stockwell shooting and the shooting of a 15 year old in a Melbourne park by Australian police recently.
  • Some Chinese cry foul for reporting this story but it could have been a lot worse. It seems that the police did rather well, solved a situation and all over. Thus painting them in a pretty good light.
  • Amazingly, even the biased British press decided not to turn this into anything more than a human interest story. Progress, one might say.

At the end of the day though, this only got on the front page because there was absolutely nothing else to report. That is what happens when you have a free press, who are trying to make money and they run out of things to say about the credit crunch.

It then got demoted from the front page, I guess due to the comments. Chinese censorship at work in the UK? The Times is a business and they walk a fine line between doing their job and keeping potential consumers happy. This applies to all of us, no matter which industry we may be in.

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