Author: satsu_jin

Western media play along in the disinformation game [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2010-6-29 20:19:10 |Display all floors


I think we share some common points regarding the media. And I certainly understand why a Westerner would rather simplify my reasoning and call such an argumentation "one major mistake", when in reality this so-called “mistake” is more a difference of opinion & perspective. Imo you also over-simplified a complex issue too much in black and white. Also you clearly misinterpret my points, I never said "100% factual and unbiased reporting is impossible therefore I prefer to remain ignorant". It should be interpreted as “100% factual and unbiased reporting is impossible therefore the government has the responsibility to screen out information in order for the country’s development not to be disturbed, people are not misled and information not distorted and giving enough room for the nation to continue to move into the correct direction for the best of interests of the majority of the population.” It was never about “me me me”, like what in the West is more often the case…. To simply point out it as a major mistake illustrate more the background you come from, but somehow I feel you are sincere in trying to understand, thus I am willing to elaborate more my thoughts if you are interested in this “major mistake”:

You have mentioned one of the keywords in your commentary: Stability. One probably needs to fully understand the “Why this obsession for stability" of the current China before he could understand why certain policies such as censorship are approved and maintained in this stage of our development and evolution, when the goal is actually to be as open as possible and to be as close to the truth as possible. It sounds like a big dilemma, it is too, and it requires a better understanding of the Chinese history and culture, especially the recent past 200 years.

If the responsibility of maintaining stability means sacrificing certain freedom, liberties and even sacrifices of lives or “certain ideas” at a certain period of timeframe, I would say "so be it". So, when in 1989 those demonstrations for more and faster openness came way too early and pre-maturely considered the phase of development, decisive and swift actions need to be made by the responsible and visionary long-term oriented leaders. And we are lucky the leaders did make these hard decisions, I’m sure Deng cried in his heart when he gave the final approval, but it was his responsibility at the time. The signs of external influences made this decision-making most likely much easier.

By the way, long-term oriented we are talking about not merely every 4-10 years like in the West’ rotating governments, we are talking about 50-100 years ahead planning, in which we need to continuously improve these planning by non-dogmatic learning from the world and at home what is useful and to improve and implement it into the Chinese cultural context.

Anyhow, the dilemma is in the wanting to give more rights, openness and coming closer to the truth, but yet the need for censorship in certain circumstances in certain periods. This contradiction is also caused and magnified because of the realization that the world is not perfect, same as that human nature is not perfect. In fact, although human beings are all born equal in rights, but in reality because of the imperfection of nature, not all people are born equally smart and capable. This is why in the education system from primary school to university in every country on Earth we are always screening out the smarter people from the lesser smart people, critical and uncritical people are developed. In an ideal education system we can screen out who fit best in what field taking into consideration the person’s individual interests and desire and allocate the most optimal resources to prepare this person in that particular field, either it be in a critical minded required profession or in a uncritical minded required profession.

The issue at point is that in each society with a variety of more smart and lesser smart people, there are more “uncritical” and lesser interested, lesser smart people. The younger the society the more of these “uncritical” people, and these are the people who need much more guidance. Without proper guidance a teenager will for example much more easily be convinced by that cool rich guy to try out drugs, not that all of them would, but too many of them would. Looking back in Chinese history, even uninformed misled adults would create China’s worst epidemic of opium-addiction, nearly destroying the whole country. In this example it is why the government has a responsibility that the correct “real information” is screened for the teenager and even adults. This counts the same for whole groups of people in a society.

Without constraining and screening the information flow, it will be very dangerous for the stability of a young society, we have seen too often too many examples how young societies had failed because it pre-maturely and too often blindly adapted to ideals which it does not fit in the cultural context and is not in the best interests of the majority. Regardless of how ideal certain ideologies, dogmas, and principles are, we have no place for blind unconstrained ideals over here (anymore).

Yes, we want that ALL 1.3 billion Chinese will fight for stability and upkeeping the Chinese pride, but reality is that people are way too easily being tempted and affected. This level of “easily” depends a lot of the level of development and the timeframe we live in and how strong and sincere the government is. When it was much easier to affect the Chinese people in the 80s, in the 21st century we can see through the lies and distortion in certain groups of media, in particular Western media. Therefore, in the 2010 we all can see that Party feels it is time to be even more open. After all, after 3 decades of reforms and opening up we are transforming into a different and more grown-up society. And it is working. If policies are set not for the interests of the majority of the people, you can count on that no matter how strong and “perfect” controlling systems are, that government will eventually fail. We are obviously not failing and the trend seems to be that with our continuous non-dogmatic approach to problems-solving that we are going on a succesful track for a long time to come. Does the people support this system? Well in the 2008 Pew Global Attitude Survey 86% of the Chinese citizens support the state of the Nation and the direction we are being lead to. People blinded by prejudices would say that all these Chinese citizens being interviewed are brainwashed, well, what do you think?

Now I share and agree with your key statement that it is important to know [and understand] the nature of the bias [of media] to fully appreciate an article. However, like I mentioned before, way too often these biased media with bad will has mastered in nicely dressing up and packaging the whole “nature”, which for the untrained uncritical minds it is extremely difficult to see through the very same question you raised. Whether or not it is deliberately and consciously misleading and distorting facts or is it a “sincere” bias due to political differences, ideological differences, information gaps etc. These “uncritical people”, which make up the majority of the nation, are also not capable of cross-checking and examining as you also stated that it requires a “critical mind”.

Ps. Before someone raises up that comment: I am against censorship for the benefits and interests of some corrupted individuals in the Party, but if it is in the best of interests of the majority of the nation to not disclose the details and/or delay the disclosure I am all for it. And those who willfully in bad will use censorship for their own personal gains and interests, these should be given the death penalty.

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Post time 2010-6-29 22:44:09 |Display all floors

Hm... why do I think Gregory is merely...

Originally posted by satsu_jin at 6/24/2010 07:56 PM
This OP was published in today's Japan Times. It's from Gregory Clarke, a former Australian diplomat and a long time resident in Japan.  I'm not sure whether it will be allowed in this BBS. If not, ...

... having a "hissy fit" - given that P.R. Chinese investors are considering buying U.S. media outlets?

ht tp://w ww.impactlab.c om/2010/06/19/chinese-plan-to-acquire-u-s-media-businesses/


China's Southern Daily Group's recent attempt to acquire Newsweek magazine - the country's first bid for a Western publication - has failed, but the bidder is expecting to make other, similar purchases, the publication's senior management said on Thursday.

"The offer to Newsweek is a volunteer action of Chinese media professionals and investors," said Xiang Xi, managing editor of Southern Weekly, a weekly owned by the Group, who was granted an exclusive interview with President Obama during his visit to Beijing last November.

"With nine-language versions, Newsweek's platform with global communication resources and influence is in line with our pursuits."

What's the old adage?  "If you can't beat 'em, buy them"?
China's Eccentric 'Uncle Laowai' from Chicago, IL

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Post time 2010-6-29 22:51:10 |Display all floors
Thank you for your constructive post IchiNiSan, I can agree with most of it.
I was just going to disagree with one major caveat but then you said this:
Ps. Before someone raises up that comment: I am against censorship for the benefits and interests of some corrupted individuals in the Party, but if it is in the best of interests of the majority of the nation to not disclose the details and/or delay the disclosure I am all for it.

We probably disagree to which extent censorship of officials is self-serving, and what part is indeed benefitial for the countries development; but there must be more mechanisms for external (Chinese, but not official) questioning of government decisions to counter abuse of power and corruption. If the media is silenced on this it will not only be the loss of these people, but the public as well. Corruption is directly linked to poverty, and tackling corruption will be one of the major challenges and the media will have to play an increasing role here.

What I also probably disagree with is your perception of Western media. There is such a huge plurality in opinions and reports in every single country with free media it's impossible to judge them in one broad swift. Any sentence making a general judgement of "the" Western media, without specifying which exactly are meant therefore cannot and will not be taken seriously by Western observers. But be that as it may, I appreciate the dialogue.

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Post time 2010-6-30 00:36:21 |Display all floors
Originally posted by seneca at 2010-6-27 11:22

Actually my previous retort was unnecessary because I hadn't read this post of yours through. And why should I in the first place?

Because the intent of the OP is now becoming clear: He or s ...

QUOTE:  Yes, I see you were rationalising the need of 'ssensorship' (sic). You were therefore giving the CPC credit for disseminating its own disinformatsiya (sic) and lies because these are in 'the national interest'.

Yes, some examples would have been nice here.

Your post deserves a B-, for credibility.

I hope as a teacher you know what a B- is ........................  

And for other errors ............................

Well I will not go into that ................

But, simply atrocious ...............................  

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Post time 2010-6-30 02:36:59 |Display all floors

# 75

QUOTE: That doesn't deflect from the fact that if there weas (sic) NO competition between the various news media in the West, i.e. if they all were monolithical or, indeed, a single monopoly, then they would disinform their readers. But such is not at present the case. Even a medium-sized country such as Italy or France has at least 5 different state-run TV channels, one of which is dominated by leftleaning (sic) hacks, and another that is on the contrary hawkish or rightwing. Then there are the private playuers (sic). So where is the common interest in 'disinforming the public'?

And the owners are ?

And their interests are ?

And their editors are ?

Isn't a bit naive to imagine that just because there are 5 media outlets.

They cannot be influenced.

Do some reading on NED.

It might help a little .......  

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Post time 2010-6-30 16:46:04 |Display all floors

# 80

Exactly, you need to do some more research.

As a starter try, National Endowment for Democracy.

Especially, South America and ex-Soviet satellite states.

But, it can be a very enlightening experience.

So enjoy it.

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Post time 2010-6-30 20:22:01 |Display all floors

Cyberwar Hype Intended to Destroy the Open Internet

By Ryan Singel  March 1, 2010  |  6:56 pm  |  Categories: Cybarmageddon!

The biggest threat to the open internet is not Chinese government hackers or greedy anti-net-neutrality ISPs, it’s Michael McConnell, the former director of national intelligence.

McConnell’s not dangerous because he knows anything about SQL injection hacks, but because he knows about social engineering. He’s the nice-seeming guy who’s willing and able to use fear-mongering to manipulate the federal bureaucracy for his own ends, while coming off like a straight shooter to those who are not in the know.

When he was head of the country’s national intelligence, he scared President Bush with visions of e-doom, prompting the president to sign a comprehensive secret order that unleashed tens of billions of dollars into the military’s black budget so they could start making firewalls and building malware into military equipment.

And now McConnell is back in civilian life as a vice president at the secretive defense contracting giant Booz Allen Hamilton. He’s out in front of Congress and the media, peddling the same Cybaremaggedon! gloom.

And now he says we need to re-engineer the internet.

We need to develop an early-warning system to monitor cyberspace, identify intrusions and locate the source of attacks with a trail of evidence that can support diplomatic, military and legal options — and we must be able to do this in milliseconds. More specifically, we need to re-engineer the Internet to make attribution, geo-location, intelligence analysis and impact assessment — who did it, from where, why and what was the result — more manageable. The technologies are already available from public and private sources and can be further developed if we have the will to build them into our systems and to work with our allies and trading partners so they will do the same.

Re-read that sentence. He’s talking about changing the internet to make everything anyone does on the net traceable and geo-located so the National Security Agency can pinpoint users and their computers for retaliation if the U.S. government doesn’t like what’s written in an e-mail, what search terms were used, what movies were downloaded. Or the tech could be useful if a computer got hijacked without your knowledge and used as part of a botnet.

The Washington Post gave McConnell free space to declare that we are losing some sort of cyberwar. He argues that the country needs to get a Cold War strategy, one complete with the online equivalent of ICBMs and Eisenhower-era, secret-codenamed projects. Google’s allegation that Chinese hackers infiltrated its Gmail servers and targeted Chinese dissidents proves the United States is “losing” the cyberwar, according to McConnell.

But that’s not warfare. That’s espionage.

McConnell’s op-ed then pointed to breathless stories in The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal about thousands of malware infections from the well-known Zeus virus. He intimated that the nation’s citizens and corporations were under unstoppable attack by this so-called new breed of hacker malware.

despite the masterful PR about the Zeus infections from security company NetWitness (run by a former Bush Administration cyberczar Amit Yoran), the world’s largest security companies McAfee and Symantec downplayed the story. But the message had already gotten out — the net was under attack.

Brian Krebs, one of the country’s most respected cybercrime journalists and occasional Threat Level contributor, described that report: “Sadly, this botnet documented by NetWitness is neither unusual nor new.”

Those enamored with the idea of “cyberwar” aren’t dissuaded by fact-checking.

They like to point to Estonia, where a number of the government’s websites were rendered temporarily inaccessible by angry Russian citizens. They used a crude, remediable denial-of-service attack to temporarily keep users from viewing government websites. (This attack is akin to sending an army of robots to board a bus, so regular riders can’t get on. A website fixes this the same way a bus company would — by keeping the robots off by identifying the difference between them and humans.) Some like to say this was an act of cyberwar, but if it that was cyberwar, it’s pretty clear the net will be just fine.

In fact, none of these examples demonstrate the existence of a cyberwar, let alone that we are losing it.

But this battle isn’t about truth. It’s about power.

For years, McConnell has wanted the NSA (the ultra-secretive government spy agency responsible for listening in on other countries and for defending classified government computer systems) to take the lead in guarding all government and private networks. Not surprisingly, the contractor he works for has massive, secret contracts with the NSA in that very area. In fact, the company, owned by the shadowy Carlyle Group, is reported to pull in $5 billion a year in government contracts, many of them Top Secret.

Now the problem with developing cyberweapons — say a virus, or a massive botnet for denial-of-service attacks, is that you need to know where to point them. In the Cold War, it wasn’t that hard. In theory, you’d use radar to figure out where a nuclear attack was coming from and then you’d shoot your missiles in that general direction. But online, it’s extremely difficult to tell if an attack traced to a server in China was launched by someone Chinese, or whether it was actually a teenager in Iowa who used a proxy.

That’s why McConnell and others want to change the internet. The military needs targets.

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