Freedom of Speech: American Style
Hosted by the Chinese American Media Watch
SPECIAL FEATURE ARTICLE
by David R. Loy, an American professor at a Buddhist University in Japan.
The Chinese American Media Watch is a site that tracks media coverage on news related to China. We pay special attention to misrepresentations that can cause prejudice against the Chinese Americans, or endanger world peace.
A message from the Chinese American Media Watch:
"The news is whatever I say is the news."
-- David Brinkley, former NBC Anchorman and media industry icon
"What is news? You know what news is? News is what you news directors interpret it as. News is what we at CNN interpret it as. The people of this country see the news that we think they oughta see."
-- Ted Turner, Founder of CNN
An enlightening review of Noam Chomsky's "Necessary Illusions"--
"Amazon.com book review:
Necessary Illusions: Chomsky's tour de force, February 21, 2000
Reviewer: Anthony Solloway, from Brighton, England (British spelling preserved.)
Of all the articles and books of Chomsky that I have read, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies is without doubt the most exhaustively researched (and footnoted), the most logically structured, and the most convincing. Chomsky reminds us that the majority of the populace rely on the various media institutions for their information about political affairs; both domestic and foreign.
One can only hold an opinion on a topic if one knows about the topic.
So take, for example, the popular myth of the 'persistent Soviet vetoe' at the UN during the cold war. Why do people believe the USSR was constantly vetoeing any and every Security Council Resolution? Simple! When they did, it generated front page condemnation. When the US or the UK exercised their right of veteo: silence. As Chomsky notes, during the years of 1970 and 1989 the former Soviet Union veteod 8 resolutions. The US veteod some 56. This is what Chomsky refers to as Thought Control. Unless the public examine the factual record of the UN themselves, they will never come by this information, (at least not in the mainstream press).
So although Chomsky's title may appear somewhat paradoxical, or oxymoronic, a moments reflection on such facts shows it to be, in fact, extremely pragmatic and truthful. The question is, have you the honesty and sheer guts to question yourself and challenge the information which has contributed to your beliefs?
The crux of Chomsky's argument is that propaganda is to a democracy what violence is to a dictatorship. Chomsky points out that, in fact, propaganda is, contrary to popular postulations, more important and vital to a democratic society because people still have some rights. That is, since people can talk, the powers that be must ensure that only the correct words come out of the peoples' mouths.
In a dictatorship it does not really matter too much what people think; for whatever they may think, they have to do what they are told, by pain of death. In countries such as the US (and the UK) other, more subtle, methods are required. People often critisise Chomsky for the sources of his information (the copious footnotes). No such critique can be levelled at this work. Chomsky's sources are declassified internal planning documents, naval proceedings documents, and the very institutions he examines, New York Times, Washington Post etc. If there was one Chomsky book I would suggest you to read, this would be it."
"My personal feeling is that citizens of democratic societies should take a course of intellectual self defense to protect themselves from manipulation and control, and to lay the basis for more meaningful democracy."
-- Noam Chomsky, "Necessary Illusions"
In come the Chinese Americans to this picture.
Many Chinese Americans have observed prevalent China bashing in our media, which ultimately results in ill ethnic stereotyping. In the heat of launching a cold war against communist China, the Chinese are often portrayed as a single mass of brainwashed, mono-ethnic people, among a slew of other false images.
As we watch hate crimes against Asian Americans rise in our country--with incidents on college campuses such as UC Davis, where a group of Korean American students were called "chinks" prior to being physically attacked--some of us have attempted to write to our mainstream media to point out the mistaken perceptions on our heritage.
Unfortunately, we have found out our mainstream newspapers too often turn a deaf ear to our voices. Our letters are not published. Our voices are stifled from reaching our fellow Americans. The bashing goes on.
In the spirit of true freedom of speech, we have elected to go to the Internet.
The Chinese American Media Watch is a panel of Chinese Americans devoted to combat our mainstream media's unfair reporting on China, and on our ancestral heritage.
American-Sino relationship is vital to world peace. As Americans, we need to have a clear understanding of the Chinese people in order to deal realistically with China.
We are here to document mainstream media material containing prejudice against the Chinese Americans, unfair China bashing, or other issues pertinent to the misconception of the Chinese heritage--
As well as to recognize the fair reports!
Let's find out about China through those who know about the topic: The democratic Chinese Americans.
Let's watch how our mainstream media continues to manufacture necessary illusions. Or portray reality.
Please click the statue of liberty for freedom of speech, American style!