George Floyd Memorial Square, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Kerem Yuce)
News articles can transmit nearly the same content while evoking a widely different array of emotional responses from audiences. While Western news sources have traditionally couched their reporting under an umbrella of “objectivity,” today we look at emotional language and tone in news reporting to ask the question – what does it really mean to call a news story “objective”?
This propaganda workshop looks at two news articles reporting on the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. They were both published on the same day and report relatively similar content, but observers may find that the articles use different language and tone to report on the general state of racial issues and tensions across America.
The first article from Xinhua.net is titled “At George Floyd’s Anniversary Commemoration, the United States still has no Consolation.”By Deng Xianlai and Xu Jianmei, May 25th, 2021.
The Wuhan Institute of Virology, Thomas Peter/Reuters.
How do we approach news stories that talk to one another without saying a word at all? Today we look at two Chinese and U.S. news articles which both demand information from the other nation about the origins of the Covid-19 virus. The problem is that both authors and publishers have a very different set of ideas as to where the virus may have come from. Yet at the same time, both insist on a similar set of goals that include tracking the virus’ origins, demanding transparency for international investigations into national research institutes, and more.
This propaganda workshop asks how we can view two pieces of very different propaganda and put them in conversation. We will work out how best to understand two sets of information that talk about the same subject (origins of the Sars-Cov-2 novel coronavirus) with almost no informational overlap whatsover.
Our first article was published in the Washington Post by the Washington Post Editorial Board on February 5th, 2021, titled “We’re still Missing the Origin Story of this Pandemic. China is Sitting on the Answers.”
Our second article was written by Xinhua, a Chinese state-run news agency, and published across a variety of Chinese media platforms, including China Daily, People’s Daily USA, and CCTV News on January 21st, 2021. It is titled “An Explosion in Hot (Internet) Searches: This American Base Can’t Hide the Virus.”The following version comes from the People’s Daily USA
This propaganda workshop focuses on media literacy through comparison by analyzing two news stories published by major Chinese and U.S. media outlets. Both are “op-ed” pieces, a term that means the author’s opinions are their own. However, a newspaper’s decision to publish such a story also signals that they want this news to reach their respective audiences.
If you are interested in reading Chinese and U.S. news in comparison, find the featured Washington Post and People’s Daily articles below. If you are also interested in using media literacy tools to assess the legitimacy of these two news stories, download propaganda workshop #1!
The first article is published in the Washington Post, written by Bill Hare and Kevin Rudd. This article is titled “Opinion: Here’s how Biden could get the U.S. to lead on Climate Change Again” and was published on November 17, 2020.
The second article is published by the People’s Daily and written by Christine Bierre. This article is titled “The United States is Not Qualified to be an Environmental Protection ‘Teacher’” and was published on November 30th, 2020.
Students will conduct basic independent research to determine the author, audience, and publishing source of a given piece of media. Research will also gather background information on these subjects to share with group.
Students will identify potential bias in media by comparing author background, intended audience, and given mission of a publishing source with the content of a news story.
Students will compare Chinese and U.S. news stories for “news legitimacy,” and discuss to what degree they they find each news source “legitimate.”