[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: What the hell is 'positive' reporting?

Friday, May 16, 2008

What the hell is 'positive' reporting?

The sheer audacity of a CCTV-9 news anchor to highlight the differences between Chinese and Western media reporting... first of all, no matter what cultural differences, that breaks the rule of objectivity.
While talking with a guest, she went out and said Western media usually focus on the gloom and devastation of natural disasters, while the Chinese highlights more of the positive side. Judging from her tone it's obvious whose side she was on. POSITIVE SIDE? What the hell is that? Is there a positive side in covering natural disasters? And besides CCTV-9 keeps showing pictures of disaster hit areas, people crying, and in between breaks they always show this rather emotional slideshow that's designed to tug on people's heartstrings. Is that positive??
But thankfully her guest, an experienced gentleman from some international organisation toned down the rhetoric by admitting both Chinese and Western media have their own ways, and none can be defined as superior or inferior. It's four days after the earthquake and most stories are focusing on mass scale donation efforts - that's not POSITIVE reporting, they're just colour stories to complement. That's probably why the anchor is boasting because of the pride and sympathy these images stoke. But the reason why the Sichuanese need so much aid is because of a lack of resources (and shoddy buildings apparently).
And don't fucking tell me the West doesn't do that... ask Americans how many teary-eyed stories have they seen/heard/read about relief efforts, courage and bravery during and after 9/11. There's your 'positive'.
I remember when the media kept playing pictures of the World Trade Centres and some viewers started complaining as it became too distressing. But I don't think this'll be the case with this Sicuhan earthquake. There is no iconic footage comparable to the scale of the planes flying into the WTCs, or the towers crumbling down. But I have no doubs that even the POSITIVE CCTV-9 would repeat such images if they had any. Pfft to contrasts between West and East media - it's nothing to do with cultural differences, it's about bringing the best and sensational images to the screen to raise viewership. And all media suffer from this syndrome.