The New York Times Tries to do a Public Relations Job for Mao’s China

NYT Opinion (@nytopinion) tweeted at 5:41 AM on Tue, Sep 26, 2017:
For all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big https://t.co/Fci82iAPxM
(https://twitter.com/nytopinion/status/912469539283177472?s=03)

In promoting a hagiographical article on communism in China, The New York Times (NYT) exposes its agenda, where truth does not matter and contempt for the readers is the norm.  This is nothing new for the publication.

When it became apparent that Donald Trump would win the USA presidential election through the delegate count, Paul Krugman, a regular columnist for NYT, wrote: “We still don’t know who will win the electoral college, although as I write this it looks — incredibly, horribly — as if the odds now favor Donald J. Trump. What we do know is that people like me, and probably like most readers of The New York Times, truly didn’t understand the country we live in.”

NYT not only does not truly understand the USA, it also does not understand the world.  It seems that the editorial board of the the publication still believes that the leadership of communist China has even an accidental redeeming value.

At the very beginning of the article, the author writes:

“My grandmother likes to tell stories from her career as a journalist in the early decades of the People’s Republic of China. She recalls scrawling down Chairman Mao’s latest pronouncements as they came through loudspeakers and talking with joyous peasants from the newly collectivized countryside. In what was her career highlight, she turned an anonymous candy salesman into a national labor hero with glowing praises for his service to the people.…..

“The Communists did many terrible things,” my grandmother always says at the end of her reminiscences. “But they made women’s lives much better.”

Knowing that this narrative will not be easily swallowed by at least some of the NYT readers, the author tries to establish her supposed unbiasedness when she writes:

“But the narrative of an across-the-board elevation of women’s status under Mao contains crucial caveats.”

Even as she writes about the caveats, she gives sufficient indication that these caveats are minor, that there is sufficient ‘evidence’ to prove that China was nearly a land of milk and honey for women under communist rule. And so, she ends her hagiography by pronouncing:

“For all its flaws, the Communist revolution taught Chinese women to dream big. … After all, (my grandmother) has always said to my mother, “you have more opportunities.”

It would be worthwhile to read the comments to the tweet to understand that the editors of NYT are fooling only themselves.  Perhaps this comment sums up what many of the readers would be thinking:

Poor Substitute (@psforpublius) tweeted at 6:48 AM on Tue, Sep 26, 2017:
I suspect most of them were dreaming of a life somewhere where there wasn’t a communist dictatorship.
(https://twitter.com/psforpublius/status/912486562113507328?s=03)

Touché, no?  This is the best counter that can be thought of.  Shows the utter lack of even a modicum of logic on part of the author, and the contempt that the publication has towards its readers.

Let us look at the tweets of a person who is trying to rationalise (perhaps justify) the publication of the article.  I think these tweets would reflect the minds of the members of the Editorial Board of NYT.

Alan Wessman (@AlanWessman) tweeted at 5:38 PM on Tue, Sep 26, 2017:
An Op-Ed is not the editorial position of the newspaper itself, but a “guest opinion” that often serves to provoke discussion.
(https://twitter.com/AlanWessman/status/912650176866672640?s=03)

Alan Wessman (@AlanWessman) tweeted at 5:41 PM on Tue, Sep 26, 2017:
This distinction is not made clear enough by the papers, leading to forgivable confusion about whose voice is speaking.
(https://twitter.com/AlanWessman/status/912650953773375488?s=03)

A newspaper does not take responsibility for what it publishes?  I am sure that it has chosen from the options of articles that have been submitted.  And it would print articles that have a value to its readers.  The articles so chosen would not be on a basis of a lottery.  Comments as those of Wessman can only come from one who wants the world to think well of the communist leaders in China.

ChrisLoehr (@ChrisLoehr) tweeted at 6:02 PM on Tue, Sep 26, 2017:
It’s still published by the NYT regardless of who is the guest op-ed. Other papers aren’t playing op-eds like this.
(https://twitter.com/ChrisLoehr/status/912656125669134337?s=03)

Alan Wessman (@AlanWessman) tweeted at 6:18 PM on Tue, Sep 26, 2017:
True, but publishing does not equal endorsement. Twitter is publishing this conversation but not endorsing either your position or mine.
(https://twitter.com/AlanWessman/status/912660145716342784?s=03)

Dale (@freeburlington) tweeted at 2:45 AM on Wed, Sep 27, 2017:
Provoking thoughtful conversation about controversial issues is one thing. Publishing an opinion that is as silly as this is another. SMH.
(https://twitter.com/freeburlington/status/912787697781092354?s=03)

Alan Wessman (@AlanWessman) tweeted at 2:47 AM on Wed, Sep 27, 2017:
Did you read the op-ed, or just the pull quote/headline?
(https://twitter.com/AlanWessman/status/912788163852091392?s=03)

Did Wessman himself read the op-ed?  If he did, he should have realised that it is a silly article, as Dale has pointed out.

ChrisLoehr (@ChrisLoehr) tweeted at 5:09 AM on Wed, Sep 27, 2017:
I read it. Even though there are some feel good aspects of the story, the intent is the issue and the fact that it’s the NYT doesn’t help.
(https://twitter.com/ChrisLoehr/status/912823854208299008?s=03)

Alan Wessman (@AlanWessman) tweeted at 5:26 AM on Wed, Sep 27, 2017:
Fair enough; kudos for taking a deeper look. 

(https://twitter.com/AlanWessman/status/912828196386508800?s=03)

So, an attempt to change the goal post is defeated, and so try and pretend to be gracious!

When Henry Kissinger, the US Secretary of State under a Nixon presidentship, first visited China to start the process of establishing diplomatic relationships, Mao wanted to discuss a strange topic, namely export of Chinese women to the USA.  Mao said that women were a nuisance to China, and that he wanted to export his troubles which would give trouble to another country.  Even as Kissinger tried to bring the discussions to a level of seriousness that such a meeting required, Mao persisted.  Please see the article enclosed.

If the author of the NYT op-ed did not know of this incident, then clearly the author’s objective has to be termed as a Public Relations exercise for the Chinese leadership.  And the NYT editorial team is also part of the same exercise.  Given the readers’ reaction, the PR effort has failed miserably.

On the other hand, when it comes to Bharat, NYT makes a special effort to demonise Hindu Dharma for its alleged mistreatment of women.  Thus, a stray incident of Sati is highlighted as a rule. Girl foeticide is mentioned without any recognition that society is aware of the problem, and that it is trying to correct the situation. (In the NYT article, there is no mention of the fact that the one-child policy in China has created a problem of a huge number of men of marriageable age, and not enough brides.)

Very often, false news is used to project the anti-Bharat bias of the publication.  In this program, both the expatriate journalists, as well as the Bharatiya staff, play an active role. It is as if the NYT editorial board has instructed the journalists of the type of stories that it wants to see published. The author of the article in reference is a lady of Chinese origin – it is not clear whether she still lives in China or has migrated.

The Editorial Board of NYT should not allow itself to be a PR agency for any country – that is not what the readers and the advertisers are paying for. Nor should it blindly demonise any country. It should only tell the truth – not truth as seen from blinkered eyes but on basis of evidence.

Annexure

Mao proposed ‘exporting’ millions of women to US

Author: AFP
Publication: The Age
Date: February 14, 2008
URL:    http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/what-mao-said-to-henry/2008/02/13/1202760396322.html

MAO Zedong proposed sending 10 million Chinese women to the United States, in talks with top envoy Henry Kissinger in 1973, according to documents released by the US State Department.

The Chinese dictator said he believed such emigration could kick-start bilateral trade but could also “harm” the US with a population explosion similar to China’s, according to documents covering US-China ties between 1973 and 1976.

In a long conversation that stretched past midnight at Mao’s residence on February 17, 1973, a cigar-smoking Mao referred to the dismal trade between the two countries, saying China was a “very poor country” and “what we have in excess is women”.

He first suggested sending “thousands” of women but as an afterthought proposed “10 million”, drawing laughter at the meeting, also attended by Chinese prime minister Zhou Enlai.

Dr Kissinger, who was president Richard Nixon’s national security adviser at that time, told Mao that the US had no quotas or tariffs for Chinese women, drawing more laughter.

He then tried to highlight the threat posed by the Soviet Union and other global concerns as he moved to lay the groundwork for restoring diplomatic ties a year after Nixon’s historic visit to China.

But Mao dragged the talks back to Chinese women.

“Let them go to your place. They will create disasters. That way you can lessen our burdens,” Mao said.

“Do you want our Chinese women? We can give you 10 million.”

Dr Kissinger noted that Mao was “improving his offer”.

Mao continued: “By doing so we can let them flood your country with disaster and therefore impair your interests. In our country we have too many women, and they have a way of doing things.

“They give birth to children and our children are too many.”

Dr Kissinger replied: “It is such a novel proposition, we will have to study it.”

The leaders then spoke briefly about the threat posed by the Soviet Union, with Mao saying he hoped Moscow would attack China and be defeated.

But Mao said: “We have so many women in our country that don’t know how to fight.”

The assistant Chinese foreign minister, Wang Haijung, then cautioned Mao that if the minutes of the conversation were made public “it would incur the public wrath”.

Dr Kissinger agreed with Mao that the minutes be scrapped.

But when Dr Kissinger joked he would raise the issue at his next press conference, Mao said he was “not afraid of anything”.

“Anyway, God has sent me an invitation,” said the Chinese leader, who coughed badly during the talks.

Mao died in September 1976. US-China diplomatic relations were restored in 1979.


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About the Author

Ashok Chowgule

Working President (External), Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharat.