|April 23, 2008|
|China's bashing of CNN's Cafferty Shows Need to Freshen Up on Media Relatiions 101|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|China’s over-the-top attack on CNN commentator Jack Cafferty shows why the country needs to freshen up on Media Relations 101. |
Foreign Minister Jiang Yu slammed Cafferty at an April 15 news conference for making “malicious attacks” against the Chinese people. She said Cafferty “seriously violated the ethics of journalism and human conscience.” The Minister demanded that both CNN and Cafferty “take back the malicious remarks and apologize to all the Chinese people.”
Note to Jiang. That’s not going to happen. Cafferty is a commentator, one who offers his opinions during CNN’s “The Situation Room.” He can be gruff. That’s part of his appeal.
In commenting on U.S./China relations, Cafferty said the U.S. is running hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of trade deficits with China as “we continue to import their junk with the lead paint on it and poisoned pet food.” Cafferty thinks the U.S. relationship with China has changed, but he still thinks "they’re basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they’ve been for the last 50 years.”
It’s obvious that Cafferty’s “goons and thugs” phrase was aimed at the Government, not the 1.2B Chinese. He reiterated that point on April 14. The bigger question: if China can't take some heat from a CNN commentator based in the U.S., what's going to happen if a pundit mouths off while in Beijing for the Olympics? Is China going to lock him up, the same way it does to Chinese journalists who do not follow the official line?
Jiang who also took on the U.S. Senate and House for resolutions condemning violence in Tibet and calling for talks between China and the Dalai Lama. Those resolutions “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people,” said the Minister. That's just too bad. The Senate and House did themselves proud.
China’s Embassy has helpfully posted Jiang’s remarks on its website. This blogger can’t wait to see her reaction to news that the International Olympic Committee put out a 26-page memo that advises its officials how to react to a Chinese crackdown on Olympic Torch protesters as the flame is carried through Tibet and China.
If protesters are reported “missing," the IOC officials are to say they “share in the families’ concerns and hope that the Chinese authorities provide information to clarify the situation as soon as possible and to satisfy questions and concerns.”
In the event Chinese authorities resort to "extreme measures," the memo suggests that IOC people express “deepest sympathies or condolences to anyone that was injured or killed, and their families.”
It is clear the IOC is having second, third and fourth thoughts about awarding the Games to Beijing.
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