They Read My Mind!

Monday, August 18, 2008

So I'm sitting in an airport diner this morning (I like to start my stories with "So"), at an ungodly hour I might add, eating my french toast and reading the paper, when a small story at the bottom of the USA Today caught my eye. "NBC coverage gives narrow view of China." "Sounds about right," I think.

The article went on to list the various news stories that have been overlooked, or barely covered at best. Stories of arrested protesters and the detention of reporters who tried to cover it, "aggressive security measures," and an overall Pollyanna picture painted by the major networks. They acknowledge that, of course, the real story is the Olympic Games, and the networks didn't pay millions upon millions of dollars to run undercover political investigations. But don't turn a blind eye to the problems that arise during the events.

I remember having a conversation with a fellow American who lived in China for several years on how he was interested to see how the country would change in the years leading up the Games. Capitalism was heavily on the rise, people were becoming more independent because of their new prosperity, and China had so many HUGE national issues that the government had an enormous job ahead of them in clean up before they opened their country up to millions of cameras, reporters, visitors, and viewers. Seeing the stark contrast between the economic classes (i.e. an Armani store next door to a muddy market of shacks selling near rotten meat dangling from hooks), hearing stories from persecuted Christians, learning about the personal implications that arise from membership and non-membership in the Communist party, I thought, "There's no way they'll be ready. The world will be shocked when they see some of these images." Since that conversation three years ago, I've been eager to see the coverage, to see what's changed and what's stayed the same.

Apparently, though, the government didn't have such a tough job ahead of them since the reporters aren't to keen to cover it in the first place. "Don't go looking for trouble. Just be up front about what you see, and we'll call it even." Well said.

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