Sunday, March 13, 2005
Philip Bennett and the People's Daily of China
Yong Tang: According to the opinion polls, the image of America has been becoming less and less popular in the world today since after the Iraq war. As a top leader of a major American newspaper, how do you think of this growing anti-American sentiment?
Bennett: ...the US government and Bush administration reacted by deciding that the country would make decisions in foreign affairs that respond only to US interests. They were not going to consult very widely, and not to compromise in making those decisions. That caused rift even among the US allies. So it is natural to see that the image of America is the lowest in public opinion.
But it is important for Chinese to understand that the image of America is many things, not just the image of the government. American culture, as expressed in Movies and music etc, is still quite popular in the world today. American movies are remarkably popular all over the world to the extent that you can buy them on the streets of all major Chinese cities. People don't t stop seeing US movies or buying US music just because they are unhappy with the Bush administration.
Mr. Bennett did not emphasize the point that the Bush Administration made. "We will not consult with others about issues that directly affect our survival. Some of us don't like the image we project in our movies and our music. We don't like movies that glorify abortionists or play up the image of Che Guevera, who went on to murder many innocent people, or the foul-mouthed Whoopi Goldberg, or Rap songs that are mysoginistic.
Yong Tang: In such sense, do you think America should be the leader of the world?What a statement for Bennett to make. Do we want to go back to the cold war and have powerful superpowers threatening each other?
Bennett: No, I don't think US should be the leader of the world.
Yong Tang: How do you think of the roles American mainstream media play in American foreign policy?What a crock. Bennett thinks because all of his pals think like him that he has no political point of view. When a hugh percentage of his people admit voting for the Democrats, he has a point of view and it consists of consulting with the UN, and talking and talking, and passing meaningless measures with teeth, but that are never enforced.
Bennett: We have a little bit different roles in newspapers compared with our counterparts in Europe and other countries. We don't have any political point of view that we are trying to advance. We don't represent any political parties. We are not tied to any political movement. On the news side of the paper we try not to give opinions. So I think the role the Washington Post should play is to hold the government accountable for decisions made by it.
And what is wrong with being a leader? Our problem, our lack of respect stems from all the times in the past that we encouraged the oppressed to rise up and throw off their chains, and the US turn its back on their hopes and dreams. Our lack of respect stems from the times we turned tail when our blood was shed. It is hard to be the leader. A leader stands out, has courage, believes he is right, and is willing to risk failure for his ideas.
I accuse Bennett of fraternization with the enemy or at least handing a propaganda victory to the Chinese.