Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympic Propaganda

The Olympics have been political for as long as I can remember. But I don't remember ever seeing this much propaganda. Case in point, here's a little press release published in Xinhua:
Returning from China after attending the opening ceremony, the president told the Seychelles media at the airport that Beijing was a clean city with high-spirited and progressive people.

Now as it turns out China and the Seychelles have been buddying up recently. I'm not up on my Indian Ocean geopolitics, but for whatever reason the Seychelles seem to be pretty friendly with China. So it's no surprise their president would want to give the Middle Kingdom some good press.

But the propaganda goes way beyond that. Look at the coverage of the Bachman murder: all the stories are laden with assurances that Beijing is a safe city, even though the murder rate rivals that of Atlanta.

Also look at the pollution controversy. Despite assertions that pollution is under control, we still see reports of extreme particulate counts.

I'm not sure what to make of this. It's no surprise that a highly centralized and tightly controlled government like China's would be orchestrating such propaganda. But at the same time, I would kind of expect someone in the Western media to highlight the fact.