Power, politics and the pandemic: The Sino-American media divide | The Listening Post (Full)


COVID-19 has the world’s two most powerful countries, the United States and China, staring each other down.

So far, it has, for the most part, been a war of words and soundbites – a blame game over the origins of the pandemic and each side’s response to it, with the news media serving as the primary battleground.

The Chinese and American media industries are ideological opposites – one operating under the watch of Communist Party censors, the other under a capitalist free market dominated by a handful of conglomerates.

News outlets in both countries have, however, found their own ways to bolster the talking points of their respective governments.

The Listening Post’s Meenakshi Ravi on how the geopolitical reverberations of COVID-19 have been covered on each side of the Sino-American media divide.


Chris Buckley – chief China correspondent, The New York Times

Wang Wen – executive director, China-US People-to-People Exchange Research Center and former opinion editor, Global Times

Vijay Prashad – director, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research and Author, The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South

Bingchun Meng – associate professor of media and communications, LSE and author, The Politics of Chinese Media

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian – China reporter, Axios

Talking to CGTN
When Beijing wants to take its message to the world it has a state-funded, multilanguage television news channel at its disposal.

CGTN broadcasts in more than 100 countries – reaching 30 million homes in the US alone – with the stated aim of bringing “a Chinese perspective to global news”.

But going global has made the network subject to various local rules and regulations. Early last year, for instance, Washington compelled CGTN to register as a foreign agent in the US.

To hear the CGTN side of the story, The Listening Post’s Richard Gizbert spoke to Zou Yue, the anchor of the network’s flagship talk show, Dialogue.


Zou Yue – anchor, CGTN

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