Opinion

Curious Why US News Networks Are Supportive of Chinese Government? Just Look at the Corporate Ownership

|
Posted: Apr 24, 2020 12:01 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
Curious Why US News Networks Are Supportive of Chinese Government? Just Look at the Corporate Ownership

Source: AP Photo/David Goldman, File

There have been a number of disturbing reactions in the press when it comes to the coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. From the distortion of the administration's actions to the contradictions in the critiques to the focus on only negative outcomes, the media complex has been notably obnoxious. One of the other truly disturbing actions has been the coverage of China and its role in all of this global pandemic strife.

The press has ranged from excusing responsibility to spearheading the Chi-Com insistence that the term ‘’Wuhan virus’’ be deemed racist, in order to skirt blame for the outbreak’s origins. There has been light coverage of the efforts to restrict notification of other nations, scant reports on the harsh methods employed by the government on the Mainland to contain the virus, and barely notice made of the suspect outreach by China - from flawed healthcare equipment sold to tainted testing kits delivered to nations. Excusing the World Health Organization of culpability is another connected result.

Our press has been also speaking glowingly on how China supposedly has been successful in containing its virus problem. There has been little curiosity to look into this claim, showing a willingness to merely repeat the party line delivered by the ruling party, despite two glaring issues. This is the same ruling class that has practiced sophistry and misdirection with the initial outbreak, yet no questions are posed about the veracity of current reports from this same source. Additionally, if the Chinese are experiencing such a grand reaction in efforts to stem the outbreak, why are they not offering the rest of the world their successful techniques?

These are questions not to be posed by our journalist class. While many are dismayed at the fawning behavior of our media elites regarding a communist regime it starts to come into focus when a larger picture is drawn up. To show the motivations behind this journalistic curiosity it helps to look first at Hollywood.

There was a time generations back when the studios and power brokers in the entertainment industry took a militant stand against censorship. Suggest any alteration to the content of their productions and you would be charged with being a fascist who wants to suppress artistic expression, and possibly even wanting to burn books! No longer is this the case. That stance has dissipated.

Regularly studios alter their films these days to appease Chinese censors and satisfy the Chi-Com leadership. This is because the Chinese film market has exploded in the past decade, now exceeding North America with the amount of movie screens on the mainland. This is a lucrative market for studios, and it is one fully controlled by their government. They limit the amount of Hollywood-produced titles to be shown per year, and keep a tight clamp on the content they allow. To get into this marketplace studios will bow to the demands placed on them.

More than box office receipts are at play. Most studios these days are part of a larger conglomerate, and those corporate interests extend well into the Chinese market. Therefore a studio cannot anger the Chi-Com authority with controversial movie content, or they risk a broader restriction being placed on the interests of the parent company. Were Disney to make a film angering the Chinese it could see its theme park expansion become threatened, for example. If Sony pictures offends the communists cinematically it might experience reprisals by having its electronics goods limited in those markets.

Now look at the commercial makeup of the major news outlets. CNN is part of the newly expanded Time Warner-ATT merger. NBC, and by extension MSNBC and CNBC, are under the umbrella of the Comcast monolith. It becomes clear that taking a harshly critical eye towards China could imperil the interests of the parent companies. ATT has communications efforts in play. Comcast also has telecom interests as well as a global reach with its television divisions. Both news networks could impact films released on the Mainland, respectively by Warner Brothers and Universal Pictures.

Even The New York Times is influenced. While technically an independent entity, the Paper of Record has a Chinese-language edition it publishes. It was about eight years ago when that edition published an investigation into the financials of the Chinese premier and promptly saw its access to the people of China blocked by the government.

It may feel off to some, trying to reconcile that news networks would actually be willing to mold their narratives based on the corporate needs in another country. Hollywood, again, illustrates what takes place. In 2009 MGM Studios produced the remake of the film “Red Dawn’’, with a modernized script that changed the invading army of the United States from Russia to Chinese troops, ostensibly intending to collect on all of the debt owed to the nation. 

MGM, as a financially struggling outfit, does not have its own film distribution network and as a result had to rely on other companies to place the film into theaters. Trouble was found when no other company would agree to distribute “Red Dawn’’, because they all were sure the Chi-Com authorities would become angered by the content and feared economic reprisals would follow. Despite the fact that they had no role in the production merely being connected to the film tangentially was too big of a risk. MGM ended up going to the ridiculous extent of taking its completed film and digitally altering the imagery so that the U.S. was laughably invaded by North Korea.

Today we are seeing it play out on our shores. The corporate media complex has to follow the directives of the Chi-Com authorities, or significant economic punishment could be realized by the parent companies. Now roll in their already rooted antagonism for President Trump and the bizarre narratives we have been fed begin to make much more sense.