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It's about time we call to account 'journalists' who make up 'news'
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If you read Chinese and have a critical mind, you would gasp in astonishment at the ridiculous news writing by some journalists.

It's not uncommon for some Chinese journalists today to cite a single source "close to the authority" in his or her attempt to fabricate a seemingly credible news story.

Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday that the central government had just published a list of six Chinese newspapers found to have cooked up stories to the detriment either of individual companies or of the country. Most of the newspapers are city tabloids.

The General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) told Xinhua that it had directed the six newspapers to make public apologies and to discipline the reporters and editors responsible for fabrication and spreading false "news."

I checked one of the false reports cited in the list and found it a typical example of uncritical writing.

The report, published last October, gave the full "details" of what it called in the same report nothing but a rumor. The rumor's "details" included the exact date of a government decision to possibly bail out the stock market, and six major bailout policies.

The reporter then "interviewed heads of relevant government departments," but did not say who they were or whether they asked for anonymity. After these unnamed officials denied the rumor, the reporter "interviewed a source close to the authority," but again did not say who he or she was, or at least identify his or her position.

Then came the most ridiculous part of the "interview."

The reporter quoted the "source" as saying: "Such a detailed 'bailout plan' is definitely a rumor. But I assure you that the government will publish one positive policy after another (to bail out the market) before the end of the year, and they will cover, but not be limited to, those described in the rumor."

If something is "definitely a rumor" because it's so detailed, the "source" definitely gave more details than the earlier rumor. How could a reporter publish this kind of "prediction" without any doubt?

If you talk to Chinese journalists, you will find many of them do not possess a critical spirit at all.

(Shanghai Daily April 16, 2009)

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