Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

The Sekai Report is a news and analysis program presented by Beijing Diary and nosted by Eric.

Newscasting has changed so much since I was a kid. But even since the 90s, there has been a major shift. When I moved to Beijing from Arizona in 2004, there was no Twitter, which was probably a good thing, because I ended up spending a lot of time reading Chinese media—mainly the China Daily, and also watching the news on CCTV. I used to ask media types what they taught in journalism school, because I noticed that government media outlets tended to mix editorializing with reporting. Never could I have imagined that the American media would become as bad or worse in their complete abandonment of even a pretense of objectivity.

I think I know when it started. It was Rush Limbaugh. He was able to get on the radio for three hours a day and express his opinion about anything and everything. The opposite end of the political spectrum had nothing to counteract his friendly, humorous, hugely popular presentation.

I heard Rush Limbaugh a lot, because I was a truck driver in those days. When you’ve got a load from Chicago to L.A. with nothing but miles and miles of road in front of you and nothing to do but listen to the radio, or to books on tape, a show like his is pretty welcome.

Fox News started just as I was leaving the road at the end of 1996. News as entertainment, with an emphasis on ratings. It one sense it was a refreshing relief from and balance to the well institutionalized lack of objectivity in the traditional media. But it sparked a backlash that was not good, because it just seemed like everybody threw news to the wind and focused on stroking the prejudices of their respective audiences.

When I talk about issues, I am not a disinterested party. I try to be fair, but not neutral. Why not? Well, because an issue is, by definition, a conflict of values. If everybody had exactly the same values, there would be no issues.

But we don’t. We have differences. Pretending those differences don’t exist is not the answer. We need to face them squarely and try to understand how they came about—how I came to believe this and you came to believe that. I have values—I can’t pretend to believe that I do not. And I try to be patient with those who have different values, and I try to understand how they could feel that way.

But there is one thing of which we must be ruthlessly intolerant: That is deliberate attempts to perpetrate falsehood. I can try to understand a journalist who says something I do not believe. But I have nothing but contempt for a member of the media who says something that he or she clearly does not believe to be true, just to push an agenda.

But unless you are persuaded that the person with whom you are arguing is not sincere, you must try to see things from where they are standing. You must stop talking, walk around to where your counterparts are, and try to see things from their point of view, because you’re never going to see what they see from where you are standing.

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5 October 202208 Sekai Report: Why Queen Elizabeth MattersMy life intersected with the British Empire at three specific places. In this podcast I try to explain the significance, not only of the monarchy, but more specifically, of the life of a very noble person who gave herself to serve the people. We should never whitewash the injustices that came with colonialism. But there were good things to, and it does not do justice to history to ignore them.
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“For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7)

We also discussed reaction to Biden’s statement about Taiwan (PRC vs. ROC), which I think was a bit sensationalized. Perhaps it wasn’t the best, but it also wasn’t that bad, and I agree with Gingrich that it should not have been walked back. Coincidentally, today is the anniversary of Tiananmen, which is not mentioned at all on the mainland, but used to be commemorated in Hong Kong. I do not talk about that event in this podcast, because I have addressed it elsewhere.

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