US Media Simply Can’t Cover China Objectively; The Real Fake News

China is covered by American journalists with spite, contempt, and anger — at best. In fact, the media’s prime role in America is to manufacture the consent of the reader. In this essay, two articles, an opinion piece and an interview piece, about China’s Common Prosperity campaign will be compared, examined, and critiqued in order to inform readers of the practices used by the media in order to manufacture consent.

The first article is Opinion: Xi Jinping’s disturbing Maoist turn by David Ignatius. In this article, Ignatius starts right off with the ethos of the article, mentioning that he knows people who have lived in China during Mao’s rule, and that he could “hear the gasps” of China’s citizens who “lived through nightmare years.” Ignatius makes it clear in the first two paragraphs that he is not a fan of China’s leftward step. Pathos is very clear in this article, because the author is attempting to get as much emotional appeal out of the audience as possible. A good example from the article include an account from Lingling Wei, the senior China correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, where she describes over 100 new policies from the Common Prosperity campaign. Some of the new policies include limiting play times for video games for children, changing the education system, and restricting the way predatory corporations exploit Chinese consumers. This is an example of pathos because it makes the reader imagine policies like those implemented in their country. One of the only good examples of logos being present in this article was the paragraph on Evergrande, China’s most prominent real estate giant. In this paragraph, Ignatius fear mongers about Evergrande defaulting on their debt, and how it could affect global and Chinese markets. Like any socialist leader, Xi Jinping probably could not care less about markets when his citizens are being preyed on by a giant corporation. However, Ignatius’ paragraph on Evergrande does appeal to logic and rationale because almost everyone in the west is taught that good markets automatically means a better society, and if Evergrande were to default on their loans, it would lead to a less stable world.

The second article China’s ‘Common Prosperity’: The Maoism of Xi Jinping. This article is an interview of Ming Xia, a professor of political science at the City University of New York. A main ethos point from this article comes from the very first paragraph, where the author, Mercy A. Kuo, describes the credentials that Ming Xia has, attempting to establish that he is a reputable person to ask questions about China’s Common Prosperity plan. Throughout the article, Xia does prove that he has a vast knowledge about the politics of China, but it is unclear to me whether or not he truly understands the reasons why China is pushing their campaign. Pathos is not as common in this article as it is in the opinion piece, because this article is attempting to be a source of facts from someone who is credible to the audience. However, pathos is present in this article, specifically in the questions asked to Xia. “How are Xi and the CCP using ‘common prosperity’ to centralize power and neutralize dissent?” Is one of the questions asked, and it clearly appeals to pathos by making the audience feel sympathy for citizens of China. Finally, like many western news pieces, logos is very hard to find. However, a good piece of logic that can be found in this article is when Xia says that Jinping is not a “Maoist revolutionary” and that he is not leading China towards another Cultural Revolution. This appeals to the audiences sense of logic because the audience, who is likely politically aware, would not believe that China would make any big moves like a second Cultural Revolution when they are under scrutiny for what is essentially China’s “Build Back Better plan.”

Finally, while these two articles are from totally different publications, authors, and viewpoints, both of these articles have essentially just one job to do, which is to manufacture consent of the readers. In both articles, audiences are given partial pictures of the issue, which in this case is China, with the authors denying the audience access to alternative views outside of the American Overton Window. These two articles, while of different positions and publications, are not all that different when the audience looks at the facts presented, because those facts are essentially what the media is allowed to report in America, especially when 90% of media outlets are owned by 6 American corporations — the same ones that donate to almost all American politicians. Both articles present hostility, partial truths, and poor context regarding testimonies from citizens of China in order to ensure the audience does not have a complete view of the campaign via the use of logos, pathos, and ethos.

Overall, both of these articles outline the effects that China’s Common Prosperity plan is likely to have according to credible people familiar with the politics of China, and use ethos in order to trick the audience into believing they are getting the full story, when in reality they are getting the story that the previously mentioned 6 corporations want them to receive. The ways that American media uses to manufacture consent of the audience can be found easily if the readers simply understand the concept and reasons behind it, and hopefully, by comparing these two articles, people can start to realize the built in flaws of our country.





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