New York Times, CNN, and Apple speak truth to power in China

My visit to China coincided with the peak of the “2019 Hong Kong protests”. How did the U.S.-owned media outlets available in China cover the story?

Apple keeps it simple, whether roaming on LTE, using hotel WiFi, or a VPN:

The company is brave enough to attack shareholders who object to “green initiatives” (Tim Cook speech at MIT) and voters in Indiana and Arkansas (“Guy with a “Whites Only” sign in his conference room tells others not to discriminate”). The CEO is also brave enough to fly a rainbow flag (but not the Taiwanese flag on the iOS keyboard or in text displayed in China).

How about the New York Times? My hotel offered a local print version at breakfast. Our brave fourth estate provided readers in China with a half page about books being reshuffled in a library in Idaho, a column on how much tax they’d pay on tampons if they were to travel to Germany, and some material on Puerto Rico, a Siberian island, and Israel (must be true since it is written by a guy smart enough to marry the daughter of a billionaire). There was no mention of anything unusual going on in Hong Kong.

How about CNN? I flipped it on when it was still early morning in the U.S. and therefore hearings had not started at the U.S. Capitol.

I watched it for one hour and learned that I was watching “history unfolding,” that the people testifying against Trump are not anti-Trump. They are “devoted to the rule of law.” The American experts (how many of them would have been able to find Ukraine on a map a year ago?) explained that the president of Ukraine is lying. Ukrainians aren’t actually tired of the Trump impeachment drama. They’re only pretending to be tired of it so that they can retain bipartisan support for aid to Ukraine.

CNN had time to break away from the impeachment story to talk about the most important events elsewhere on the planet, e.g., that Italy beat Romania in a game of soccer. And they did slip in two mentions of Hong Kong. First was in a multi-city weather forecast: high temperature tomorrow in Hong Kong would be 25. (American reaction: “7 degrees below freezing on a subtropical island?!? No wonder they’re protesting!”) Second was in a puffy filler piece on a 100-year-old company that happens to be based in Hong Kong.

7 thoughts on “New York Times, CNN, and Apple speak truth to power in China

  1. The article about the cockfighting ban in Puerto Rico actually has some important consequences. The ban wasn’t passed in-country, it was passed in Congress, where PR doesn’t have a representative. There are an estimated 20,000 people in the cockfighting industry who are now operating an illegal enterprise.

    “The Last Days of Legal Cockfighting in Puerto Rico”

    “The cockfighting world is made up mainly of men….unlike state legislation, which was enacted by elected representatives, this ban was passed by Congress, where Puerto Rico’s 3.2 million people do not have a voting member. Lawmakers slipped the ban into last year’s farm bill, catching even the Puerto Rican government by surprise…A recession has strangled the Puerto Rican economy for 13 years. The industry estimates it directly and indirectly employs some 20,000 people…“This is our life,” Mr. Figueroa said on a recent morning as he tossed dried corn kernels into the birds’ feeding dishes. “If they take this away from us, what are we going to do? I’m 70 years old. No one else is going to give me a job.”

    So Congress slipped this into the farm bill because animal rights are more important than the people who make their living off this, in a country that has been in recession for 13 years.

    But I’m glad to hear tampons are going to be cheaper in Germany. I wonder if retailers won’t just raise the price to cover the difference.

    I guess there’s no news about Hong Kong that’s fit to print.

  2. More on the Cockfighting ban:

    “But González-Colón said that in Puerto Rico, the provision is devastating, particular with the economy so fragile after 2017’s Hurricane Maria. “This will have a direct impact on the economy of the island if you are prohibiting the cockfighting industry,” she said. “This issue never received a congressional hearing. This issue never received a markup discussion or any other consideration appropriate to regulate this industry.”

    “We’re devastated,” said Josean Rivera, who raises roosters, charging their owners $5 per week per bird. “We don’t know what to do. We weren’t prepared for this. This is how I feed my family…If federal agents raid farms and confiscate them, they’ll likely kill them, Rivera predicted, “because they can’t set them free. If they set them free, they’ll kill each other.””

    An interesting question I haven’t found the answer to:

    “WHO Put the Ban into the 2018 Farm Bill?” Trump signed it. Did he know it was in there? Who put it there?

  3. Here’s part of the answer:

    HSUS’ Kitty Block and Sara Amundson weighed in on the ban from the Humane Society Legislative Fund, which lobbied — who’s? office in Congress to put the language in the bill that Trump signed and the DOJ defended?

    From NPR’s Code Switch, “Race and Identity, Remixed”

    They polled 1,000 people out of 3 million+ as evidence of support: “A 2017 poll of 1,000 registered voters in Puerto Rico, conducted by Remington Research on behalf of the HSUS, revealed that among residents with a definite view of cockfighting, there was a two-to-one majority favoring a ban on the practice.”

    So there ya go, that’s how the sausage gets made, but I still can’t find out exactly who put the language in the farm bill. Someone must know. The President signed it and even the Governor of Puerto Rico couldn’t get it overturned. There’s only one person for the cockfighters to blame for not defending them.


    Winston examined the four slips of paper which he had unrolled. Each contained a message of only one or two lines, in the abbreviated jargon — not actually Newspeak, but consisting largely of Newspeak words — which was used in the Ministry for internal purposes. They ran:

    times 17.3.84 bb speech malreported africa rectify
    times 19.12.83 forecasts 3 yp 4th quarter 83 misprints verify current issue
    times 14.2.84 miniplenty malquoted chocolate rectify
    times 3.12.83 reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs unpersons rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling

    With a faint feeling of satisfaction Winston laid the fourth message aside. It was an intricate and responsible job and had better be dealt with last. The other three were routine matters, though the second one would probably mean some tedious wading through lists of figures.

  5. Actually, from a much nicer version:

    “The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought — that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc — should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meanings and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings, and so far as possible of all secondary meanings whatever.”

  6. I don’t know, Phil, sounds to me like you are engaging in “mansplaining,” i.e., trying to use logic and reason to understand the world around you.

  7. See, that link to Friedman contains one of the best reasons I stopped reading him about 8 years ago. He’s so reliably insipid:

    “Today ‘billionaire’ has become a dirty word and a disqualifying status for many in the left of the Democratic Party,” Friedman continued. “To me, that is as nonsensical as dismissing Elizabeth Warren as a ‘communist’ who wants only to confiscate your money.”

    That’s not even wrong! First of all, there are no “dirty words” or any other words the Left won’t use to describe someone they hate. Billionaire isn’t a dirty word, it’s a code word. And Elizabeth Warren doesn’t want to “only” “confiscate” “your” “money.” First of all, it’s not just you, or just your money. It’s also the rest of your wealth. And everyone else who has it. And she doesn’t want to confiscate it, she wants to transfer it! As for anyone who dismisses her as a ‘communist’ – well, here I partially agree with him. It’s nonsensical because dismissing her as a ‘communist’ isn’t taking her anywhere near seriously enough, you need to use a capital C, without the air quotes. As in Cherokee.

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