“The smog has become so thick in Beijing that the city’s natural light-starved masses have begun flocking to huge digital commercial television screens across the city to observe virtual sunrises.”
There’s so many things I want to say here.
- First, this isn’t the first China lie that gets picked up and broadcast by Western news media. Mike Daisey’s fabricated NPR story on this American life comes prominently to mind. This is what happens when you cut foreign bureaus and let playwrights and people who know nothing about the country #Chinasplain on reputable platform.
- Second, it took the blog Tech In Asia to take down this story. It’s not even their beat. Hell yeah blogs. Even though we don’t have the kind of staff that these news organizations (don’t worry, I don’t count HuffPo or The Daily Mail) a good blog can sometimes get it really right.
- Third, we derive a good deal of satisfaction laughing at Global Times headlines, but when US news outlets get it wrong we don’t call them on it with enough force. At least Global Times is reasonably straightforward about being a state-run propaganda rag (with some nice people at it).
- Fourth, everything Quartz said in “Westerners are so convinced China is a dystopian hellscape they’ll share anything that confirms it.”
So start making a hit list of news sites not to read on China. You might have a place to start.