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An Open Letter to the Official-In-Charge of CNN
To Whom It May Concern:
March 31, 2008
Credibility is the only key for every member of news media to accomplish wide public recognition. It is an intellectual asset wooed by every member of media. While the establishment and confirmation of such credibility is an accumulating and difficult process, the destruction of such is as easy as blowing a candle.
CNN was inaugurated in 1980. While it struck the media community with its coverage of the attempted assassination of President Reagon, CNN was not really seen as part of the main stream by the American public then. CNN failed to lift itself off from financial difficulty within the five years since its inception. Its audience share was among the lowest. The most outstanding feature of CNN was live coverage at the scene. However, in the Gulf War between 1990 and 1991, CNN allowed audience around the world to watch "Desert Shield", a war raged by the Alliance troops with United States as the leader to fight Iraq . In August 1991, a coup d'etat broke out in Kremlin, at the time even the U.S. CIA received no advanced warning, but CNN was able to make the first presentation of the event to the world expeditiously. Since that time, CNN has achieved an outstanding reputation and confirmed its status as the only global TV news agency. It has then established an invaluable and hard-to-achieve level of credibility.
It is undeniable that journalists at CNN in general observe the most basic rules of news reporting, seeking for the truth and all the facts. However, regrettably, these rules seem to be applicable only to news stories about the Western countries. For news about China , the Chinese Communist Party or overseas ethnic Chinese, a double standard based on entrenched chauvinism would arise. Discrimination, prejudice and an anti-Chinese sentiment would then replace all ethic standards and rules of news reporting. CNN would adopt all means of distortion, stating inversely right into wrong , mixing lies into truth, taking quotes out of context, defaming and making wrongful accusation, and even fabricating facts without basis to cover news in China and life of the overseas ethnic Chinese, and to tarnish and demonize China, people of China and the overseas Chinese.
On March 14, the "Tibetan Separatists" provoked certain criminal elements to start a riot in the capital city Lhasa of the Tibetan Self-Autonomous Region of China . As it had done before, CNN did not shake off its attitude of being unfair and non-objective in covering news of China . In order to prove its intention of portraying "Tibetans are being persecuted", CNN first broadcast non-stop news stories about "Tibetans assaulting Chinese" and "Tibetans burning down shops owned by the Chinese". CNN unreasonably tried to separate the Tibetan compatriots from the Great China Family of 56 ethnic groups. It then edited the original photos on Internet and presented the most convincing parts to confuse the facts and to fool the audience. It even became a spokesman of Dalai Lama and repeatedly emphasize that rioters in Tibet were in "peaceful demonstrations", and that China had launched a "military crack-down" in Tibet , a "control measure by force" and "a hundred Tibetans had been killed". These are all but fabricated news stories to mislead the American public and they deprived the rights of people around the world, including the American public, to find out the facts and the truth.
These made-up news stories were based on distortion of facts, casting inversely right into wrong, mixing lies with truth, taking quotes out of context, defaming and making wrongful accusation and fabricating facts without basis. Not only did they become the worst failure of news reporting by CNN and became the biggest joke 0f 2008 among members of media, but they undermined the credibility long established by CNN.
Credibility is the soul of news media. The ugly conduct of CNN in its tarnishing and demonizing of China cannot and will not escape from scrutiny in this age of mass media. For its coverage of Lhasa riot on March 14, the American public has timely created a humorous and sarcastic comment about CNN: "Don't be like CNN", which has been widely adopted all over the country. It seems like the credibility established with tremendous endeavor by CNN over the years has suddenly collapsed in the eyes of the American public.
On behalf of Citizens of Chinese descent in United States , members of the United Chinese Associations of Eastern America strongly condemns CNN for its adoption of a double standard and the violation of ethic for news coverage. The Association would like to caution members of the CNN news team that the key of good news coverage lies not only in its timeliness of presentation, but also in its fairness, objectivity, truthfulness and credibility. In case that the journalists mix their individual ideology, personal taste of favor and disfavor, their wishful prejudice or subjective judgment with their news coverage, they would violate the most basic ethic in news reporting, i.e. being fair, objective, truthful and credible, and they would lose their credibility in the media community and among the public. The kind of news coverage, as lacking credibility as CNN has presented, not only would mislead the public and harm sentiment of the people, but it would become a negative factor in obstructing and damaging the relationship between China and United States, and in hurting the friendship between peoples of the two nations.
Executive Chairman of
United Chinese Associations of Eastern America
公信力是新闻媒体的灵魂。贵台丑化中国、妖魔化中国的丑陋行为在现今的信息时代将无所遁形。就这次贵台报道3月14日拉萨暴乱事件之事件，美国民众非常及时地为贵台度身定造了一句既幽默又有讽刺味道的一句话：“Don't be like CNN”，并已经在美国国内广泛流传。看来贵台多年以来的好不容易建立起来的公信力在民众心目中已轰然倒塌了。