China, Saudi Arabia and the Media

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One might be excused for thinking, based upon media coverage in the past week, that the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi government was the most important foreign policy story since the assassination in 1914 of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand.  At the blog Letters From Cato, notice is taken of the disparate treatment of our media in regard to China and Saudi Arabia:


As if to confirm what I said in my previous post about disparate treatments of Saudi Arabia and China, you’ll note how this news is greeted by radio silence.

The wife of Meng Hongwei, incumbent president of Interpol who has been detained in secret by China, says she is not sure her husband is alive after he disappeared mysteriously last month, to turn up under investigation in China.

In an emotional interview with the BBC, Grace Meng said she and her children have been waiting for news of Meng Hongwei, who has not been seen or heard from since 25 September when he flew from France to China. “I tell them Daddy is on a long business trip … We want to hear his voice,” she said in an interview published on Friday.

In September she reported her husband missing after he sent her a cryptic message on WhatsApp saying: “Wait for my call,” followed by an emoji of a knife. After French police opened an investigation and Interpol appealed to Beijing for answers, Interpol received his resignation and Chinese authorities announced on 7 October that he was in their custody and under investigation for bribery.

Go here to read the rest.  What explains this?

  1.  Anti-Trump bias-The Trump administration has worked with Saudi Arabia in putting together an anti-Iran alliance in the Middle East.  If Trump issued a statement opposing cannibalism rest assured that most of the media would suddenly find a new found sympathy for those who consume their fellow man.
  2.  Iran-Leftists in the media have long regarded the mullahs who run Iran with sympathy since they are anti-US.  Thus they have an interest in highlighting the savage misdeeds of American allies in the Middle East, with a studied indifference to the savage misdeeds perpetrated daily by the Iran regime.
  3.  China Inc-China wields considerable power among our corporate elite due to a hunger to engage the huge China market and to have the Chinese manufacture low cost goods for the US.  I do not claim any conspiracy to paint a rosy picture of China, but constant negative stories about China will not be a priority.
  4.  Ignorance and time-It takes time and study to understand what is going on in a country that encompasses a fifth of humanity.  Most media representatives have little of either.
  5.  One of Us-It is hard to sustain interest in America about most foreign policy stories unless there is some American hook.  In regard to Khashoggi he contributed opinion pieces to The Washington Post.  Thus in death this fellow traveler with the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood throughout his adult life has been transmuted into a Jeffersonian Democrat and a member in good standing of the media liberal elite.

None of this is to deny that the Khashoggi story isn’t an important story.  However, the biggest news here isn’t that US allies abroad like the Saudis, in places like the Middle East, sometimes engage in barbarous actions, but the longstanding double standard of the media in covering such actions by the allies of the US and the enemies of the US.  That gives a decidedly false impression of a world in which Western notions of human rights are regarded as something, at most, to merely pay lip service to when convenient.  We see this in the UN where agencies purportedly dedicated to human rights are routinely controlled by representatives of some of the most odious tyrannies on Earth, and somehow never get around to highlighting the misdeeds of those tyrannies.  That our media routinely goes along with this sham, when useful for domestic political purposes, betrays what should be the main goal of any media:  to give an accurate portrayal of reality for their readers, listeners and viewers.



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One Comment

  1. #5 has an added level of complexity, because they’re whole-heartedly accepting claims from the gov’t of Turkey– even when they are either flatly impossible (the iWatch recording video and audio and broadcasting it, accessing it with a fingerprint when it’s a swipe pattern, etc) or contradictory.

    Turkey, last year, was mildly famous for having the most journalists imprisoned of any country on earth, and Turkish Prisons have not really improved in the last century.


    The thing that’s painful to me is not just the incredible credulous nature of the press’ response to Turkish “leaks,” but the they’ve-got-to-be-joking ignorance when talking about the house of Saud. The Saudi royal house numbers about 15,000, last objective number I saw. They tend to be the people with money. That someone has “connections to the royal house” is not just possible, it’s probable, especially since this journalist was also a politician and worked for one of the princes known for being, ah, opposed to such radical changes as “don’t always try to kill the Jews, Israel might be useful, and maybe women should get some basic human rights.”

    One wag opined that Saudi Arabia’s real political flaw right now is making common cause with Israel against middle eastern terrorists.

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