Obama and China: Did the US media get it wrong?

Howard French, formerly of the New York Times, seems to think so.

The China Herald bog talks about French’s interview with the Columbia Journalism Review about the coverage of the U.S. president’s trip to China.

Here are the CJR reprots:

One of the complaints French had about the coverage was the lack of context:

It doesn’t give a realistic impression of what past behavior was like, diplomatically speaking, and what it achieved when we were really vocal and remonstrative; and it also doesn’t—in this critical, immediate insta-pundit analysis of what Obama achieved—it doesn’t allow for the fact that he, himself, said what he was going to do before he got on the airplane, so to what extent did his behavior actually fit the pattern of his own announced style and agenda? It’s like the press is on its own script without reference to either history or Obama’s announced intentions.

And this is surprising?

This is a constant complaint about international coverage — at least by many of us who think the rest of the world matters. Editors back home don’t seem to care. International process stories don’t sell papers or on-air ads. What is the local local local angle and stay with that.

And yet, the context of what is going on in China and in other countries is important to understand the news of today.

(First published at the blog of the SPJ International Journalism Committee)

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Filed under China, International News Coverage

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