CCTV’s extensive coverage of Hurricane Sandy gives fodder for satire
As the East Coast of the United States braces against the superstorm Sandy, which is said to have cut power supply for millions of people, claimed dozens of lives and taken huge economic toll on the nation, Chinese state broadcaster, China Central Television, has dispatched a cohort of reporters to cover the calamity and reserved a significant part of its news program for its coverage. However, instead of focusing on how American people have suffered, most Chinese netizens took the television network to task.
Many net users were furious at CCTV’s benign neglect of civil protests at home (in Ningbo) and attempt to divert attention by giving priorities to situations abroad.
@总裁聚焦: #Media Focus# The entire world is aware of things in Ningbo, except that CCTV is not. But CCTV knows clearly about any single disaster in the United States. It seems CCTV aims to serve the United States. We can infer from it that it is a stooge for the Imperialistic America! (2,522 shares, 306 comments)
A political cartoonist going by the pen name “Murong Aoao,” who enjoys much popularity on Chinese social media, did not let go the chance of mocking the establishment.
@慕容嗷嗷: CCTV is a U.S. news organization with great conscience. (37,760 shares, 10,168 comments)
But others’ scathingly scornful remarks pointe to the inconvenient truth that many senior Chinese officials have sent their families and especially their children to the United States.
@记者刘向南: CCTV has sent so many reporters to the (disaster) scenes to cover the hurricane in the U.S. Some netizens wonder: why we did not see them work so hard on the thing in Ningbo! But others explain: (the news) is actually aired for leaders, because their kids are all there! (15,099 shares, 3,635 comments)
@fen1234: Why did CCTV reporters travel across the ocean and risk their life to report the hurricane in the U.S. from the very front? A few guesses ventured by netizens: 1, To materialize their noble belief in internationalism. 2, Due to their lofty journalistic ideals. 3, They have money to burn before going over this year’s budget. 4, They are balls-achingly bored. 5, They want to tell Chinese people that the Imperialistic America is suffering in deep water and scorching fire. 6, They want to show this to the leaders, because the wives and children of the leaders are all there. (19,980 shares, 4,910 comments)
Some netizens wrote up their own fake news stories by parodying CCTV’s stilted and propagandist reporting style, although some elements of their stories are unmistakably and painfully familiar to Chinese people.
@假装在纽约: After the United States was hit by the once-in-a-century hurricane, 1, President Obama hurried to the disaster area and wrote in tears “An abundance of disasters will only make the nation stronger” at Brooklyn Middle School. (An allusion to Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to an earthquake-hit school in 2008, where he wrote the aforementioned words on a blackboard, a gesture widely believed to be more show than substance.) 2, Washington Post raises the New York Municipal Government and City Committee for their effective management and success in leading party members to play important roles and minimize the harm. 3, The Heart-to-Heart Art Troupe from CNN went to the disaster-hit area and gave consolatory performances. 4, A number of ordinary citizens reported they had received a text message: “In the face of the disaster, a united people is like a fortress. The New York Red Cross calls on everyone to extend their helping hand. Bank account number: ****.” (An allusion to Beijing authorities’ solicitation of donations following a rainstorm to the fury of Chinese netizens.)
@那个野和尚: After the hurricane, President Obama rushed to the disaster-hit area in no time to mobilize rescue efforts and console the people. President Obama, with his shaky hands, wrote down on a blackboard, “Many disasters will be the country more strong” (sic.), and said to the people, “You should have faith in the Democratic Party and our government.” People affected (by Sandy) held tight to President Obama’s hands, their eyes teary, and chanted in unison, “With President Obama and the government on our side, the hurricane cannot destroy America!”