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CCTV and Clichés

Popularity 12Viewed 4524 times 2014-4-17 10:58 |System category:News| CCTV, CNN, Chinese reporters, Chinese media, English cliches

While in China, I'd tune in regularly to CCTV English news. Sure, I appreciated hearing news in English, but as a newshound, I think their best shows are documentaries and in-depth reporting by foreign reporters and financial news programs produced outside of China. The difference in the quality of reporting can be glaring. CCTV is government owned and this does affect what their Chinese reporters say. Does it also affect how they dress, especially the women? Are they all told to wear tight blazers, tight skirts, stiletto heels, false eyelashes, and very red lipstick? Are they more interested in fashion or the news? Are the men shown clips of CNN's Anderson Cooper and told they should try to be like him? But are the newscasters all experienced reporters like him or mostly newsreaders?


That CCTV models itself on foreign news broadcasts by the BBC and CNN is well-known. The BBC is a time-honored organization and has produced many wonderful programs for many decades. CNN is known for inventing 24-hr news broadcasting in 1980, but these days I'm more impressed by its technical innovations than the quality of its shows. I hope CCTV does not follow its example and produce programs where so-called experts sit around and try to shout over each other. That's not civilized debate. It's just noise, and that gets real old, real fast (US politicians do this all the time now, which is why Congress hasn't accomplished much for quite some years - it's totally embarrassing).


Chinese reporters are now using clichés like going forward, hopefully, that being said, at the end of the day, last but not least (whatever happened to perfectly decent expressions like in the future, we hope, still, it comes down to, finally?). I'm royally sick of these silly, overused terms. They make me wince. American media is full of them. There's nothing creative or original about it. Americans use them when they're trying to sound sophisticated and impress others with jargon. It's even worse when people from other countries copy foreign jargon. When I judge speech contests, I automatically give lower scores when speakers use clichés. If they spout jargon, it tells me their vocabulary is not good enough and their thinking not original enough for them to express themselves creatively, which is, after all, the mark of a good speaker.


(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2014-4-17 12:30
I imagine female CCTV news anchors and reporters are advised to wear CHINA RED dresses or suits. They feature a lot!
Reply Report voice_cd 2014-4-18 09:03
Thanks for sharing your story here, we have highlighted your blog.
Reply Report jiewei798 2014-4-18 11:01
I would argue that cliches are not jargon and in fact are a sign of colloquial speech, but I would agree that cliches have no place in the news. The news is supposed to be formal standard speech, not colloquial.

I had a discussion with my students earlier about the news and media. They said from the clip of Anderson Cooper that I showed that the Chinese news looked very similar, the way they dress and speak, but the content is vastly different because Chinese news is run by the government and only reports officially approved news.
Reply Report lexalee 2014-4-18 11:30
jiewei798: I would argue that cliches are not jargon and in fact are a sign of colloquial speech, but I would agree that cliches have no place in the news. The n ...
although jargon may begin as terms in a given profession, it can cross into mainstream and become buzz/cliche, such as BOTTOM LINE which means net income, a figure that appears at the bottom of a financial statement and has come to mean the outcome of some event. jargon in one profession can also cross into other profession/s and mainstream, such as BEST OF BREED going from pet shows to the stock market.
Reply Report PatrickInBeijin 2014-4-18 11:58
I like CCTV news.  I find it has more information and less talk about people like Justin Bieber.  There used to be good American news, but the last time I was there I could not stand to watch it.  Bloomberg is the best of a bad bunch in my opinion.  Faux News is disgusting.  BBC seems to be heading downhill as well.  I quite liked Al-Jazeera English.  I was abroad last year and found myself switching between CCTV and Al-Jazeera.
@Jiewei,  you may be too young to remember the Iraq war coverage during which virtually the entire mainstream American media acted as a mouthpiece for whatever the government said.  Ownership and control are not always the same thing.  You  need only to look at coverage of Climate Change on television news in the US to see how bad it all is.  Advertisers and owners control American news, and it is really terrible these days.
Reply Report teamkrejados 2014-4-18 12:21
"US politicians do this all the time now, which is why Congress hasn't accomplished much for quite some years - it's totally embarrassing" Well said!
Reply Report teamkrejados 2014-4-18 12:28
Who here thinks that only CCTV News is government run? Every government of every country I've ever lived in or read about has control of the news media. In America it is the FCC. In Great Britain it is The Office of Communications. Somehow your post seems to indicate that other countries enjoy total freedom and license to broadcast whatever the news agencies want, which is not the case.
Reply Report tedbrent 2014-4-18 12:48
Point Taken.
Reply Report lexalee 2014-4-18 21:28 (Pending for approval)
Validation failed
Reply Report LanaLiao 2014-4-18 21:57
teamkrejados: Who here thinks that only CCTV News is government run? Every government of every country I've ever lived in or read about has control of the news medi ...
Fabulously said!
Reply Report tedbrent 2014-4-18 23:07
LanaLiao: Fabulously said!
She is partly right. America doesn't have state-owned TV networks like CCTV, although C-SPAN and PBS belong to  public television stations.

  The big three, ABC, CBS and NBC are all privately owned, just like The  Fox Network and CNN.
Reply Report xuehailang 2014-4-19 09:02
i don`t watch CNN,SO I don`t know its program, as for cliche that you said in the aricle,in my opinion,maybe yes, and cctv news is a young program ,and has no its stytle now ,so it will learn from abroad program like CNN or BBC.That`s maybe you think it is cliche,and you said it is government owned , yes it is,but i think it does not matter, it has its right position to report news.
Reply Report 财神 2014-4-19 12:41
especially in media there is second hand creation.all are impressed from eachother so copied from one and applied to other.if there is not self creativity then this trend will go on for long.what you think the fashion on TV its really artificial.
Reply Report LanaLiao 2014-4-20 21:01
tedbrent: She is partly right. America doesn't have state-owned TV networks like CCTV, although C-SPAN and PBS belong to  public television stations.

  The big ...
Well, maybe you are right, but I still believe most countries have their  state-owned TV networks.
Reply Report austinong 2014-4-22 16:05
interesting observation!
Reply Report Fred.Hui 2014-4-25 13:51
I very like to read your articles,since i can know many new words and phrase.THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
Reply Report lexalee 2014-4-26 04:33
Fred.Hui: I very like to read your articles,since i can know many new words and phrase.THANK YOU VERY MUCH!
very kind of you, you're welcome

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lexalee

I am a semi-retired American physician and medical/science writer who lives in New Orleans, in the southeastern USA. I spent 2012-2013 teaching at a college in Lianyungang, Jiangsu.

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