tv [untitled] May 22, 2012 9:00pm-9:30pm EDT
like the guy who had a lot of -- the dumpling shop baker who had a lot of sympathy for chen guangcheng and watches porn had also agreed with the chinese government. he said yeah, we've got to go to war, we've got to defend our sovereign territory. and, yeah, it doesn't -- it doesn't look -- it doesn't look like soft power when you're in china watching. >> do you think within china that the media has had a salutary effect on the way people view the world or are things up and down and just sort of unpredictable? are we making progress in the sense of the great promise of media to inform? >> within china? >> yeah. i mean, we could ask the question about america as well. and i'd hate to think of the answer. >> i don't think i know the answer to the question about china.
>> what about america, marcus? >> wait, let's hear the answer about china. >> all right. but don't forget the answer on america. >> you mean is the foreign media making a big impact on -- >> no. is the evolution of the media to be more open, providing more information, has it actually had a good effect in sort of enlightening society and opening society? >> definitely. i would say that what's gone far and beyond the evolution of the media -- you know, the newspapers and magazines in china is the internet, though. because it's just a platform for civil society that hasn't existed ever before. so -- and it's still very much controlled. there are a lot of levers that the government can pull to diminish conversations in ways that are almost undetectible to the average reader or
microblogger. but so just the act of conversation i think is -- so it's a very individual media is changing people's attitudes. so. >> and marcus, how do you think we're doing here in this country? in many ways we fancy ourselves as the model of, you know, in-depth, thoughtful coverage. and yet when you look around the american landscape how do you assess our state of grace? >> i don't know that there's a really simple answer to that question. i think the -- you know, i think people want -- there's a narrative line that journalism isn't reaching people anymore, that everybody is focused in politics especially on just partisan, rancorous debate. and it's all rhetoric from this side, rhetoric from that side.
goodness knows we see plenty of that, and i get plenty of the e-mails from people who feel strongly about things we write on politics. but, i mean, one of the questions you'd have to ask is what people -- reading habits have changed. and people used to be able to -- people used to have only a certain diet of information available to them. if you lived in a small town in the united states, what you had available to you informationwise was what your local newspaper could provide to you. >> & most local newspapers probably didn't provide great depth on very much. they might get the a.p., they might even get "the new york times," "l.a. times," "washington post" news service, but they couldn't go deep and they probably didn't have great substance. today if you live in any town in america with an internet connection you can go as deep as you want to go on any subject. people's habits have changed. people no longer start their day by reading a newspaper with us sort of beginning to end the briefing you need for that day. in fact, they may want to go really deep on the area that interests them and they may not
care all that much about the other things that pass them by that they once might have read. and i'm not sure that that's necessarily a bad thing. there's a line out there that somehow, you know, what's going on today with information in the way young people are consuming information is somehow bad for our democracy. and i don't buy that. i think that people will seek out the information that they need in order to make good civic or economic decisions because the motivations they have are very powerful. and i think that they do that today. i think if you ask the average, you know, person in his early 20s who voted for obama in 2008 how much he knew about obama or about obama's platforms or ideas, i suspect that person knew as much or more, probably vastly more than the average person in his 20s in 1968 who might have supported gene -- or some other candidate of hope or promise. because the information's out there and it's conveyed much more effectively. we never knew what people were reading when we published our newspapers 10 or 15 years ago.
i mean, you sat in shanghai or -- you know, write a 40-inch story about general motors coming into shanghai, and i assumed every one of the 2 million subscribers of the "wall street journal" was reading that article. and then i came back and i got the readership report that norm probably commissioned when he was editor of the "wall street journal" that showed, you know, page by page, we did this thing every year where we looked through with 100 people and asked them what they actually read. and we found out that once you get to page 3, 2% of the people are reading the article. we all like to think that's what everybody was reading. but i'm not sure that's true. i'm not sure that's valid. i think that people have -- people do seek out information that matters to them. and they go really deep now in the subjects that matter most to them. and it's a different way of consuming information. i guess i think rather than bemoaning what was lost we should look really hard at what exists and try to figure out how do you channel more information into the places where people are consuming it. and make sure that your news, if you have -- if you do, you know, robu robust, credible journalism that should appear where the audience
is. you can no longer expect the audience to come to you to find it where you are. >> i think these are like halcyon days for information and for journalism and media. this is a super exciting time. it's a very complicated time. and people like marcus and even at human rights watch in my minor way, how important is the ipad, should my website be on a groupal platform? we're full of decisions we didn't have to make because things sort of cruised along on a sort of autopilot. so the change and upheaval has meant more pressure on media executives and more difficulty and lost jobs. i don't mean to sound pollyannish about the terrible hard times for our colleagues in the world of media but at the same time huge opportunity. >> the chiechbz say if only people would learn to speak chinese and become more familiar with china they'd understand it better and calm down and we'd have more understanding. i'm wondering, in your experiences with writers, yourselves, friends, colleagues,
who have done a lot of time in china, do people come out of that experience feeling -- what do they come out of it feeling? that's really the question. i don't want to prejudice the answer. but what does the experience leave people who spend a lot of time covering china with, about the country? >> i think a lot of people go to china fresh and -- i mean, they still may be very excited by china, but they become pretty embitered by the way they're treated as foreign correspondents. you know, it's very difficult. and they become -- not that they were necessarily so friendly to the chinese government when they came, but i think they become pretty clear-eyed about its deficiencies. i don't flow. it's -- >> i think clear-eyed but not butter. i think a lot of people who go to china are quite fascinated by
china. it's a compelling, important story. for most of us the best story, best journalism we ever did. and if you look around the media today, there are a lot of people who did china running things. you know, robert thompson at the "wall street journal" is a china guy. joe kahn, who was probably here before, foreign editor at "new york times," china guy. i did china. harvard business review is a china person. james harding of slond a china person. there are a lot of people who did china in the '80s and '90s who are now running things. we're all pushing for more sophisticate nour coverage a sophistication and understanding of china. if you look at the bo chi lai story and how "the new york times" have covered that story, putting big teams of people and going really deep. reuters has had some of this too. get leaks from inside various investigations inside china. they're practicing real journalism. and i'm quite certain part of that pressure comes from people at the top who care about china
and understand how important china is and why china 3459ers. i think you come out caring about china and wanting to get better coverage of china. there are all the frustrations that may resonate from having been there. the inability of a legitimate big news organization in the u.s. to be able to get a visa for a serious correspondent who understands china to go to china when china says we want greater understanding, we think it's important for americans to cover us and bring greater understanding to america and we say we want to send someone who speaks the language and can do a good job and we're met way stone wall. that i think may create some frustration, but we'll persevere and climb over that stone wall. >> before we get to questions let me just ask you. your friends in the media, do you notice any difference in attitude amongst your
generation? compared to the one above you. >> i would say that just adding -- i would say there's an opposite problem to what marcus and carol were talking about before in that the -- those who have -- those chinese people who have access to foreign dwrerz and the people who foreign journalists have the most access to and are seeking interviews with are the most privileged upper crust, whether the wealthiest or most powerful party members, so it's -- i mean, privileged information comes from privileged sources. privileged sources tend to be the beneficiaries of the current system. and there's sometimes the
opposite tendency in some journalists, to sort of agree nor that -- to sort of be a little more pollyanna-ish about the current direction of society, i guess. >> it's so hard to generalize, isn't it? i mean, when i think back on my time in china i think about people that i loved. i loved my time in china. you know, i love many chinese people. i wanted to strangle some people in the government. there's a great variety. to say sort of what do you think of china is like saying what do you think of the universe. >> it's inescapable. history moves forward. and there are trends. it isn't just plus ca change. >> fair enough. >> well, okay. let's have some questions from you all. there will be microphones since we'll be webcast. wait for a microphone. right here in the front row. that's you.
let's see. i think a microphone is on its way. >> i'm dinda elliott, and i wanted to have you all talk about how you think the bosi lai incident is going to affect the chinese press. marcus, you talked about these chinese journalists coming in take careful notes of everything that you're doing and the chinese press as we all know has become increasing lly sophisticated. chinese tv is very slick. they've baasically learned all the methods and technologies that we in the west have used and yet they don't report in the same way that we do. -3 this incident has in a sense -- everybody in china knows about it and everybody knows there's this incredible corruption under way. i wonder if that will have some influence on the press moving forward. >> who wants to try that one?
>> i can -- i'll start with saying i don't have any idea. but i would surmise the way the chinese press has been allowed to work in the last couple of decades is the issues that the government is concerned about, the press is allowed to write about. so the press can cover environmental problems. the press has been allowed to cover corruption to the extent that corruption doesn't get too close to real centers of power. and you know, even some human rights issues the press is allowed to cover if they're the right human rights issues at the right time. so here is a very interesting moment because here is this corruption case and it's really juicy but it obviously gets awfully close to the center of power. on the other hand, you could argue that the power center is served by abund oont coverage of this particular case because it shows how right beijing was to interseed and remove bo chi lai
and arrest his wife. but if you start unraveling that thread and it unravels more than you hope, and so you -- i don't know. >> we don't know, dinda. that's a really good question. >> is there somebody back there? next one would be in the back. >> hi. chen wan from china daily. i have a question from marcus. what all of you talked earlier about, the news media function to inform the public. when this chen guangcheng drama was unfolding in beijing, i mean, making headlines in major u.s. newspapers, at the same time an important xhirk dialogue was going on with hillary, geithner, and 100 u.s. officials. talking about the largest economy of the world and the
world. is that decision made -- because you don't see much coverage on this dialogue during those days. is that a decision made at the "washington post" that we should focus on chen guangcheng, it's more spicy? >> so happily for us we had sent a reporter with hillary clinton and the team from washington. so we were able to cover that. it's just a relative news value issue. one story was a far more interesting and compelling story than the other. as important as the strategic dialogue talks may have been. and we were -- we went with the one that was the human drama, and we played that bigger. as did everybody else. great powers can walk and chew gum at the same time. and so we in the news media try to do that too. i felt like the choice we made and the choice other newspapers in this country made was probably the right choice, which
was to focus on the story that was surprising, dramatic, challenged the u.s., challenged china, and where the outcome was unknown as opposed to strategic economic dialogue. >> i was in beijing as part of the strategic and economic dialogue. and the thing that impressed me was the fact there was sort of a parallel universe, this incredible drama happening in the embassy, but the rest of the negotiations actually went on. and what that suggested to me was that both sides had decided to be rather calm, not exaggerate, not play it up to the hilt and put fingers in the eyes of the others. and actually, i think in a rather business-like manner they worked out the dilemma. >> yeah. >> and i think that was very, very significant. and i think it took immense restraint, particularly on the side of china.
and as you note that at one point mitt romney kind of skidded out, lost restraint, and called this a dark day for freedom on the basis of nothing. and then he actually recanted, to his credit. so that was an interesting kind of a moment. and maybe the story of that should be a little bit more made public. >> front page "washington post" today. >> you're the man of the hour, marcus. >> recommend it. >> i thought it was an amazing story for americans also because, if i could be just a teeny bit sentimental for a moment. it's not every day that we necessarily get to feel so great about our country. you know, the fact that when a blind chinese dissident is being chased by thugs with truncheons that he runs to the embassy of
my country makes me proud. and it was a great story for americans to know and to hear. i think it was in some ways an inaccurate representation of the real story, which is a drama happening inside china. the chen guangcheng story is a story about chinese activists all over the country. and he represents one of them and one of the most sort of symbolically extraordinary of them. but it was a story that was so compelling to american readers, there's no way it doesn't surpass even timothy geithner. >> that's carroll's soft power story in actuality. >> the soft power story. >> okay. question back here. and then one in the very back. yes. >> i'm bill ambrugs, a freelance journalist. i wanted to ask, how serious is the repression of journalists in
china today? how does it compare with, say, 10, 20, 30 years ago? >> chinese journalists, you mean? >> yes. chinese journalists. >> it's -- i would say it's a lot more sophisticated. for example, it's financial. journalists aren't getting put in jail for stories. but their publishers are being fined to the point where they have to shut down. so it's different. but probably just as -- just as -- just as strict as it was 15 years ago. >> i think there are lots of ways in which no-go subjects are understood by chinese media as media in any repressive country. so journalists know what the lines are and what they can and can't write about. and i think the ones who do go over the line are activists who try to use media, whether internet media or other forms,
to express themselves. when they go over the line, they go to prison. they can go to prison. >> if the chinese government chooses to do this one at a time maybe with western news organizations, maybe they decide, okay, the "washington post," we don't like what your reporters write, we don't like what phillip hahn wrote years ago, he has this book out, what effect do you think that will have on the foreign press and their coverage with china? and i guess the second part of the same question is if you just take the current people in power in china, if you take their perspective, what do they have to lose by doing that? >> it's an interesting question. there have been a number of
cases over the years where people have been actually expelled from china. there are some where people can't get visas and have to leave china. and then there are legions more who are quietly waiting patiently outside and have not had their applications approved. but thoughts. >> i was telling you earlier before we came on stage that there's a really interesting idea going on right now that levi allinger at columbia university is sort of the father of is journalism is an economic process. >> albeit not very well paid. >> as it happens. but we are 2349 business of collecting information and it's essential to our business. and you could make the arguement is and it's an interesting argument to try to make that these are frayed infringements in a sense. if we can't go to china to collect information, then we can't conduct our business the way we'd want to conduct our business in a free and open
trading environment. china is not the only country to do this, it should be said. and china is -- they will -- the authorities have attempted to give explanations for why they keep people out. when i was at the "wall street journal," we had a reporter who was having difficulty getting a visa, and after a long process and many meetings and much pouring of tea, he's now in beijing for the "new york times." but when i got to washington for the washington post the guy congratulated me for getting a visa. and i said i don't care, i don't have to get a visa anymore. we're very fickle. anyway, it's a continuing problem, and china clearly views the right to collect information in china as something that's a rescindable right.
>> all right. listen. you had your hand up in the back. let's have one more last quick question. >> hi. my name is jipsian kaiser. i'm with the committee to protect journalists. i wanted to agree with most of what's been said in terms of we are also seeing a very mixed picture of pushback from chinese journalists who are trying to report and getting stories out. but we are still seeing a high number of chinese journalists in prison. a lot of self-censorship. and most recently to date the defamation of the al jazeera english correspondent by a cctv host. i'm just wondering if you could look a little bit forward and tell me where you see the advantages and disadvantages for local journalists and also for foreign correspondents in china. do you see them relating to one another?
and pulling the authorities or do you see sort of a divide there? what are the pluses and minus that's you see in that duality? >> well, one interesting fact is that still chinese citizens cannot work as reporters for foreign news agents. they can work as information gatherers but not fully fledged reporters. but your thoughts. >> i remember the first prize that we gave, or one of the first was to libby rosenthal of the "new york times," who had been amazing reporting about aids in china early on. and her reports had been translated into chinese and read by -- in the internal party better information newsletter kind of thing and had had an effect on the chinese leadership and helped to inform them because reporting in china was
not so good and they didn't have as good information as they could get from libby rosenthal. but things are more quickly translated on google. you can know more or less what's being said in an article even if your chinese characters are really, really rusty. right, marcus? i think the drama in china, it's a chinese drama. i mean, the struggles over the country's future. as i said, the chen guangcheng story is the story about thousands and thousands of activists and civil society people and journalists. and they're all over china really demanding their rights and demanding that their government respect its own law. that china respect its own constitution and that it be a truly law-based society. that i think is really the drama in china today. and it's being played out by
chinese on a chinese stage. we're bystanders. we can affect it and we can participate at the margins. but it's a tremendously dramatic struggle going on. and i'm generally bullish about the future. i think the nrnts is a tremendous shot in the arm and things will never be the same for secretive repressive governments. that doesn't mean it's not a long road ahead. >> well, join me again in congratulating april and thank our panel for -- [ applause ] from 1971 to 1973 president richard nixon secretly recorded his phone conversations and meetings. this weekend on c-span radio hear more of the nixon tapes.
saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern with conversations between the president and c.a. director richard helms and also fbi director j. edgar hoover. >> some people think that now that this court has acted that i ought to make a statement about the freedom of the press and that we aren't trying to censor them and so forth. my inclination, for whatever it's worth, is not to say so. >> i think you're right. >> i kind of think i should stay out. but what's your public relations judgment on, it edgar? >> public relations judgment, mr. president, is that you should remain absolutely solid about it. >> you would, huh? >> i would. >> in washington, d.c. listen at 90.1 fm. nationwide here at xm channel 119 and streaming at c-spanradio.org. >> in a few moments a look at the national flood insurance program. in about an hour and a half a small business administration forum focusing on entrepreneurs. and then a discussion of the federal government's role in the
housing market. several live events to tell but tomorrow morning. secretary of state hillary clinton. defense stret secretary leon panetta. and the chierm of the joint chiefs of staff, general martin dempsey, testify before the foreign relations committee on the relationship between the law of the sea convention and national security. that's here on c-span 3 at 10:00 eastern. at 10:30 a.m. eastern on our companion network c-span the senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee will hear from secret service director mark sullivan and acting homeland security inspector charles edwards about the incident in colombia involving secret service agents and prostitutes. >> i think this is one of those markets that i think people don't vote for the party. i think the city of wichita
votes for the candidate. this is heavily republican, midwest. i think you're seeing more of that in the recent years here in the midwest. they're really voting alittle more for what the person stands for. >> we explore the history of wichita, kansas. >> the first thing i want to show sut munger house. it is the only remaining standing structure from the 1865 to 1870 too many. it was a very important building in our history in that it is the residence but it's also the headquarters of the wichita town and land company that came down here to create shall we say the city of wichita. >> watch for book tv and american history tv in wichita on june 2nd and 3rd on c-span 2 and 3. >> the national flood insurance