Headline News


CNN biased coverage comes under fire

Source: Xinhua | 04-17-2008 16:46

Special Report:   3.14 Tibet Riots

BEIJING, April 17 (Xinhua) -- The biased coverage of the Lhasa riots and the Olympic torch relay by the U.S.-based Cable News Network (CNN) has given rise to a whole new usage of the network's name.

"Don't be too CNN" is a phrase that is gaining increasing popularity on the Internet. A rap song titled "Don't be too CNN" has been improvised by a Chinese web singer and posted on the widely viewed video sharing website YouTube.

In the wake of the March 14 Lhasa riots, CNN posted a picture on its website showing people running in front of a military truck. The original picture uploaded by Chinese netizens, however, also shows mobsters throwing stones at the truck. The latter had been cropped out of the photo by CNN.

Again, during the broadcast of CNN's "The Situation Room" on April 9, when asked to comment on the U.S. relationship with China as the Olympic torch relay was underway in San Francisco, CNN news commentator Jack Cafferty said: "I think they're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been in the past 50 years."

He also said that the United States continues to import Chinese-made "junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food..."

Chinese netizens were outraged by the insulting remarks made by Cafferty, who was born in 1942 and joined CNN's "The Situation Room" program in the summer of 2005.

According to a New York Times report, Cafferty was convicted of reckless driving, assault and harassment in 2003 for hitting a bicyclist in New York with his Cadillac and leaving the scene. He was then sentenced to a 250-U.S.-dollar fine and 70 hours of community service.

Chinese Americans and Chinese have launched an online campaign, demanding an apology from CNN and its "The Situation Room" program for insulting the Chinese.

"We are truly stunned and shocked by a recent racist and hateful remark on the Chinese people by your news commentator JackCafferty," said a petition which has gathered 69,355 signatures since being posted online.

"It's not common to witness such blatant discrimination against an ethnic group with such a derogatory connotation in an international TV program," said the petition, which has entered the Top 25 at as a public service.

"We believe his remark clearly exposed his hatred and bigotry against Chinese people as a whole. Without doubt, many people, especially the Chinese people, feel hurt by this shameless assault."

In a statement released Monday, Cafferty claimed his "goons and thugs" comment referred to "the Chinese government and not to Chinese people or Chinese-Americans."

His employer responded Tuesday by saying "it was not Mr. Cafferty's nor CNN's intent to cause offense to the Chinese people, and would apologize to anyone who has interpreted the comments in this way."

The TV network also claimed that it reports news "in an objective and balanced fashion," and also employs commentators "who provide robust opinions that generate debate."

Cafferty's remarks have been uploaded on YouTube and the click rate is approaching 27,000. People from around the world have left comments condemning his remarks.

The online outbursts of anger have been echoed by the Chinese government, which said it was shocked by Cafferty's "vile remarks."

"Cafferty used the microphone in his hand to slander China and the Chinese people, and seriously violated the professional ethics of journalism and human conscience," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said at a regular press briefing Tuesday.

"We strongly demand CNN and Cafferty himself take back the vile remarks and apologize to all Chinese people," Jiang said.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry lodged a strong protest with the Beijing office of Cable News Network (CNN) on Wednesday evening, condemning the network as "without any professional reputation".

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao, who is also the Director-General of the Ministry's Information Department, said that the statement issued by CNN on Tuesday failed to apologize for Cafferty's remarks.

"Journalistic professionals should abide by their ethics, and they don't have the privilege to slander or rail at anybody or any government", Liu said in the statement, noting that CNN's recent reporting programs completely went against the principles of being objective and balanced that the network often claimed as its basic standards for news coverage.

"We once again solemnly urge CNN and Cafferty to take back the vile remarks and make a sincere apology to all Chinese people", Liu said.

Numerous web postings, YouTube videos and Facebook groups have criticized CNN's coverage of the Lhasa riots and the torch relay.

A website called was set up especially to point out the alleged media bias with reference to Tibet.

On the website, the lyrics of the song "Don't be too CNN" puts it like this: "Don't believe that lies will become mottos if they are repeated a thousand times... what's the purpose of racking your brains to turn fraud into truth. Don't be too CNN. I would rather believe you were silly and innocent."

(by Li Bo)


Editor:Zhang Ning