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Forward a post from anti-cnn.com
Dear Mr. or Ms. Editor of Maclean’s,|
As a financial research analyst working in a Canadian company, I have to ensure the accuracy of information in our publication before they are sent out to clients. Any misleading and inaccurate message is the least thing we want, since it will only result in downgrading our reputation and credibility in our clients. If we lost our clients’ trust, how could we survive?
Similar to my industry, I think you will agree that the credibility is also crucial to the media industry. However, as a regular Maclean’s reader, I’m extremely disappointed on the way you have reported the story on the Tibet riot and started to suspect the professional integrity and the standard of work ethics Maclean’s has. The reasons are as listed below. If you disagree anything I said or listed, please let me know; as an analyst, I’m totally open to the free discussion and communication, which I think is the only way to the mutual understanding and respect. However, if you agree most of what I listed below makes sense to you, I’m looking forward to a sincere apology announced publicly on your website and in your next issue. To make my points clear and easy to understand, I did comparative analysis based on the way in which Maclean’s reported that story and the Code of Ethics for a professional journalist referred from the Society of Professional Journalists (website address: (dot)spj(dot) org/ethicscode(dot)asp).
First, please allow me write down part of the Code of Ethics for a professional journalist referred from the Society of Professional Journalists: As a basic rule, the Journalists should Seek Truth and Report It. Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
1. Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.
2. Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.
3. Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
4. Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.
5. Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
6. Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
Then, please allow me analyze what Codes Maclean’s has violated: Okay, let’s talk about the cover page on the latest Maclean’s magazine: a huge vivid and shocking picture “a policeman is chasing and hitting a monk” with a big catchy title “’Butchers and monsters – Things we can never forget about Communist China”. With or without the small label illustration at the right corner, Nobody will deny that this cover clearly send out a strong message, exactly as your title said, “Look: How brutal and immoral China is now! It is a monster and is killing innocent monks now. ” Regarding to the cover page, the reasons for Maclean’s violation of the Journalist Code described above are as following.
1) Misrepresenting and Misleading: Big catchy picture and title with small label is very likely to give audiences’ impression that “the police was a Chinese police” and “Chinese Government is hurting unarmed demonstrators”, neither of which is true based on this cover page, since the police in the picture is not a Chinese and it was Nepal’s police hurting monks not Chinese government. Clearly, the cover page has strong misleading messages. If Maclean’s does not have clear evidence to show the message, then just do not use this one because “Deliberate distortion is never permissible for a journalist.”
2) Manipulation: I would like to say something about the corner label. People will not deny that comparing to the big picture and title, the corner label illustration is just so minuscule and unnoticeable. It only makes audiences feel nothing but Maclean’s sneakiness, dishonest and manipulation of news. People are not fool; the purpose of small label is too obvious.
3) Stereotyping: That “Things we can never forget about Communist China” is stereotyping current China as the old one with negative images which have been created by media among the western society over years. Maclean’s ignored to recognize any improvement in terms of freedom and democracy in China and did not fulfill its due diligence of researching what currently happened in China. It is not fair, objective, accurate and professional to show this stereotyping statement on the cover page only based on the “misleading” picture.
Okay, now let’s talk about the report itself. The subtitle of the report is “The brutality in Tibet is no surprise. Communist China will never change”. Obviously, all of the discussion of the report was built up on the author’s a**umption that Chinese Government has used force to repress the peaceful demonstrators. However, the whole report was only based on the “misleading cove page picture” and “the history of Chinese repression” of the author’s thought, without giving audiences any clear evidence (either in photo or video) of “repression of demonstrators in Tibet from Chinese government”. Don’t mention that the author totally ignored any photos showing that the violence of Tibet came from the demonstrators, any articles written by the foreign Australian and Canadian tourists and any appeal made by the victims or the family of the dead. All of photos, videos, and witnesses’ reports clearly illustrated two critical points in this Tibet riot which are against the Maclean’s report’s a**umption:
1) The “peaceful” demonstrators were not peaceful. They were firing shops, beating random pa**engers and even killing innocent people.
2) The Chinese government did restrain its action during this riot and there is no evidence so far showing the government being a“butcher” or “monster” to the demonstrators. All pictures show how the police put out the fire, helped the wounds and restrained themselves to the violent demonstrators.
I really do not understand why Maclean’s and the author totally ignore these evidences. Is that because they are all against your view? Otherwise, it might be because of the constraints from both language barrier and the ability of research for Maclean’s and the author. According to the Code of Journalist, the author did not do his due diligence to seek the truth, did not illustrate its argument objectively and fairly, and did not even have any clear, accurate, and convincing evidence of the starting point of his argument. This only makes audiences deeply doubt the capability and credibility of the author being as a journalist, which negatively affects Maclean’s reputation as well.
Given my comparative analysis, the only conclusion I could make is that, as a leading influential media in Canada and even in North America, Maclean’s did not have any accurate and credible evidence to back up its messages “China is a Bucher and Monster; they did brutal repression on Tibet unarmed demonstrators”, proving a fact that Maclean’s did not remain being fair, accurate, objective, due diligent, credible and professional by manipulating and misrepresenting the inappropriate pictures and arguments to mislead the audiences in its report of Tibet riot.
Finally, as the Codes said, “Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility”, I believe, by keeping open mind to listening different voices and honestly and fairly doing its due diligence, Maclean’s will find its both Professional Integrity and Credibility back.
I am sincerely looking forward your response and deeply appreciate your attention to this long letter.