CNN has been called the ‘China News Network’ once again after a flattering report on CCP’s forthcoming 100th anniversary went viral on Twitter on Wednesday. CNN has been mocked profusely, as it gave a glowing coverage of the CCP centenary and even dubbed Xi Jinping as “the real star” of the centenary.
“The Chinese Communist Party is about to turn 100 but Xi will be the real star,” CNN International tweeted early Wednesday advertising an article with the same headline. The centenary “is an opportunity for the party to reaffirm its credentials while ensuring loyalty,” the network’s Ben Westcott wrote, hailing how the party had remained an “ever-present fixture … even as communist parties elsewhere collapse or fade from view.”
— CNN International (@cnni) June 30, 2021
The article briefly referred to “some of the darkest chapters of the last century,” including “the brutal repression of student protestors in Tiananmen Square” as well as “millions who starved to death” under CCP economic policies. But it insisted the “party has much to celebrate, particularly China’s growth from one of the poorest nations in the world into an economy on the brink of overtaking the US.”
“It’s likely that large parts of the day’s events will focus on Xi, arguably the country’s most powerful leader since Mao, and his vision for the country,” Westcott wrote.
The piece was vehemently criticized online, including scathing criticism from US lawmakers. “Not sure what there is to celebrate,” Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) tweeted. “In the last 100 years, the CCP has murdered and stolen from millions of people. Xi is committing genocide in Xinjiang, annihilating One Country Two Systems in Hong Kong, and threatening war in Taiwan, to name a few of Xi’s crimes,” Buck added.
“Xi is a TYRANT, not a STAR,” one follower replied to the network, while trial attorney Marina Medvin complained that there was “no mention of how many Chinese people the communist regime has killed.” “Hint: Mao was the biggest mass murderer in the history of the world,” Medvin added, with many others sharing memes showing his death toll.
Some speculated that CNN was serving as the CCP’s public relations arm, while conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza wondered aloud, “Can this be separated in any way from the kind of propaganda the CCP itself might put out?”
“This is Xi-N-N,” one person quipped, while many others suggested the network’s initials stood for “Communist News Network.” “Hey maybe [Jim] Acosta can shout some questions at him someday. See how that goes,” someone else retorted of the CNN reporter who lost his White House credentials after clashing with President Donald Trump.
Though the heroic representation of Xi Jinping by CNN should not come as a surprise, ties between the CCP and major American media houses are an open secret. The CCP funnels money into the pockets of American media outlets via its own state media houses in order to get paid content, pro-China in bias, published as editorial commentary.
China has long attempted to seed positive narratives of itself in foreign media while blocking unfavourable coverage and redirecting the world’s attention onto Western failures. Beijing has also given foreign journalists all-expenses-paid tours. The aim is for foreign media to amplify Chinese messages in their languages on their own news portals and Xi-N-N (CNN) looks to be doing exactly the same.