In a classic example of protesting too much, the South China Morning Post carries a loooooong op-ed column denying that it buried the Panama Papers story earlier this week.
The gist of the 700-word whine… Bitter ex-staff and ignorant on-line know-it-alls are stirring up nonsense about SCMP censorship. The paper non-buried its data-leak report on page 3 of the City section because a year earlier it had covered the part implicating China’s leadership. It initially stayed silent on the other, new, details to see how things unfolded, and is now reporting these with great energy and enthusiasm.
Are we convinced? Any paper that had scooped the rest of the world’s press would make the most of it. “How the SCMP exclusively unveiled Xi Jinping’s corrupt money-laundering scumbag family last year!!!” it would shriek. Instead, it treated its sensational exposé as an acute embarrassment. Newspapers are not known for this sort of modesty. And the strenuous account of waiting as more details emerged is cringe-making. Newspapers do not sit around patiently while competitors churn out copy.
Most of all, you don’t put a 700-word protestation of innocence on your own op-ed pages unless you’ve got a guilty conscience. Witness the Hong Kong government’s incessant, childish, over-sensitive and hyper-defensive rejections and denials about everything.
A more plausible excuse for the SCMP’s unfortunate initial handling of the Panama leaks story would be that the countdown to ownership by Alibaba was going on at the same time. Jack Ma was knocking at the door, and a new, self-conscious and patriotic chief editor panicked and stuffed some unwelcome dirty laundry behind the sofa. You can almost sympathize.
Just next to the ‘butthurt’ piece, censorship is visibly absent as Professor Steve Tsang delivers some serious criticism of Xi Jinping, essentially accusing the power-obsessed Chinese leader of risking economic damage to the nation in order to satisfy his own megalomania.
I declare the weekend open with something else for the ‘to read’ list – an impressive argument that the Hong Kong pro-dems’ ‘failures’ have actually defended the city from the malevolence of the Chinese Communist Party.
Nice final link!
In my night-job, I occasionally have to deal with sneaky sniping, subtle snubs and solipsistic subversion of my methodology and ontology.
In my experience, giving too much exposure to the green eyes is counterproductive. By all means slap them down from time to time, but don’t deviate an inch from what you think you might have done anyway.
Otherwise it’s stable doors, or tails and dogs, hoisted petards, swine and pearls or something…
Maybe Tsang isn’t censored but he’s very generous to take on faith that Xi has a genuine desire to reform China for its own good. Most of the evidence points to power being the ultimate goal, not a means to an end or some kind of defensive fallback position.
As for the SCMP, oh dear, but we shouldn’t be too quick to attribute its editorial decision making, scope of coverage and public statements to some carefully considered strategy or dodgy internal goings-on. It’s just as likely to be down to incompetence.
You are always welcome back at NOT THE SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST.
Seems you never really left.
I’ve had twenty years of it. I gets tired, Massa Hemlock. Even Charles Manson is eligible for parole.
The SCMP is still the best English newspaper in Causeway Bay.
CY’s denial reminds me of classic Blackadder I – upon hearing of the death of King Richard (for which Edmund Blackadder was responsible):
Edmund: [quite intimidated, as well as fearing for his life] Errr, well, I wouldn’t know, really. I was…nowhere near him at the time. I… I just…heard from someone that he’d, er… er… I mean, I don’t even know where he was killed. I was completely on the opposite side of the field. I was nowhere near the cottage.
[Everyone questions that last statement, with stares.]
Edmund: …not that it was a cottage — it was a river. But, then, I wouldn’t know, of course, because I wasn’t there …
Oh Yondon Yondon Yondon …
I last bought a paper edition of the Pro China Morning Post in 2007. Then the Olympic torch was on a world tour and everywhere it went there were protests. All of these protests fully or partially involved protesters calling for a “Free Tibet” (one of the forbidden 3T’s). But in the Pro-China they were just demonstrators. Paper went in the bin and I have not knowingly paid for it since.
Next story Mr. Chief Executive goes to the airport …
Is Yonden Yahoo now the official “foreign face” of SCPMP so that Tammy and that bloke that ran back to Beijing to remote control the paper (after immediately being told what to print by the propaganda bureau) won’t get all the flack, being that they’re carpetbagging mainlanders? Poor Chugani…I’m sure he was dying for the position (and the full time pay)!!
I’d write off the self censoring, reluctant news publishing of the SCPMP to “Confucius values” and sensibilities…not wanting to offend your elders and all that.
Anyone else noticed the new 50c Brigade nutter Uncle_Tong in the comments, who showed up as soon as Alibaba took over?
CY Leung is back to his old practice as this probing interview (from June 2013?) demonstrates.
One cannot help but wonder how much Off Shore dirty laundry Jack Ma has stuffed under his SCMP mattress.