Hi Passenger,

This is Davide Mastracci, the managing editor at Passage. Thank you for subscribing to Dissected, which is a newsletter of media criticism from a leftist perspective that holds the mainstream press to account for what they publish.

So far, this newsletter has been focused on sharing all the media criticism we publish on our site with you, accompanied by introductions to the articles that aren’t published anywhere else. 

As a reminder, here’s some of the media criticism we’ve shared with you here:

We’re going to continue sharing anything media-related we publish with you, but going forward we’re also going to be doing a little more.

Frankly, I spend an unhealthy amount of time monitoring the reactionary stuff corporate media publishes. That means I’m not able to write detailed articles about everything I come across. Regardless, some of it’s still worth sharing beyond my Twitter account.

So with that in mind, I’m going to start getting in touch with you more frequently to help make sense of what’s going on in the corporate media world. 

Today, I want to point your attention to how the media is still trying to demonize China for its response to COVID-19, which I wrote about back in April.

First, you should take a look at this October 6 Toronto Star article titled, “Negative views of China reach historic highs in Canada amid COVID-19 outbreak,” which was prominently featured in Twitter’s “Explore” section.

The article lists a few stats from a new Pew Research Center survey, including:

  • 73 per cent of Canadians have a negative view of China
  • 78 per cent of people surveyed have no confidence in Chinese President Xi Jinping to do the right thing on international affairs
  • Negative views of China reached their peak in 10 of the 14 countries surveyed

Altogether, this gives the impression that China has done a poor job handling COVID-19. In reality, it has done incredibly well. For example, right now China has recorded three COVID-19 related deaths per every million people in the country. Canada stands at 252. And the United States? 652.

The article does mention that the U.S. has suffered more than 209,000 COVID-19 deaths (although it tries to draw a false equivalence between it and China by immediately claiming after that “Beijing continues to face global anger for reports that it suppressed information about the outbreak.”)

In fact, buried within the article are these two sentences:

“Only the U.S. received more negative evaluations from the public, with a median of 84 per cent saying the U.S. handled the outbreak poorly. Only global confidence in the leadership of U.S. President Donald Trump was lower than confidence in Xi.”

With that in mind, I have to ask: Why didn’t this article focus on the U.S. instead of China, especially if we know the U.S. has objectively performed far worse on COVID-19, and is also our neighbour and most significant ally? Even the headline on the Pew article accompanying the survey is “Negative views of both U.S. and China abound across advanced economies amid COVID-19.”

Another thing I want to point out is the 14 countries who made up this survey: the U.S., Belgium, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, France, Italy, Denmark, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Sweden, Japan and South Korea. These countries, almost entirely in North America and Western Europe, are hardly representative of the world at large.   

But the article also fails to get at one of the reasons why there is so much anti-Chinese sentiment throughout these countries despite the clear indicators of success: Sinophobia. 

The article does mention instances of anti-Asian racism in Canada throughout the pandemic, but here is an example of how it’s done:

“As long as Beijing withholds information about its handling of the early days of the outbreak, ordinary people of Asian descent will pay the price, said Fenella Sung of the organization Canadian Friends of Hong Kong.”

East Asian people throughout the West are certainly being targeted simply because they’re East Asian, but it’s not because of some legitimate grievance against China being misdirected, as this quote implies. China can’t prevent anti-Asian hate crimes from happening here, and they aren’t China’s fault. They are, in part, the fault of politicians and media outlets at home drumming up baseless anti-Chinese propaganda (although I am certainly not implying they either want to partly incite, or approve of, these hate crimes. They do not, and speak against them.) 

And that brings me to the second thing I want to point you to, which I came across yesterday morning thanks to Canadaland’s Jonathan Goldsbie.

Yesterday, the CBC launched what they’re calling a “nationwide directory to help Canadians find and support local news media in their communities.” As Goldsbie noted, however, one of the listed publications on the CBC website is The Epoch Times, an international publication that journalist Max Blumenthal notes is “owned by Falun Gong, a cult whose followers believe ‘Trump was sent by heaven to destroy the [Chinese] Communist Party.’” 

The CBC not only links directly to the site, but also to their support page where you can become a paying member. 

It’s truly disturbing that The Epoch Times made this list. The CBC should retract it from the list, and apologize immediately.

And that does it for today. If you’d like to see more of these mini media briefs going forward, please do consider becoming a fellow Passenger. It would mean a lot to us, and lets us continue doing this sort of work. 

Until next time,

Davide.

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