The West Assembles Its Media Arsenal
In China, strong leadership combined with an efficient Party apparatus and a public willing to put the needs of the community first resulted in the pandemic being brought under control within just a few months.
During the lead-up to the CPC’s 100th anniversary on July 1, Western media platforms assembled an army of anti-socialist thought leaders in what looked to be a concerted propaganda effort.
Editors at prestigious news publications handed thousands of inches of prime media real estate to commentators with links to government agencies and defense-affiliated think tanks.
Strikingly, almost all authors appeared to be reading from the same hymn sheet.
The Wall Street Journal chose to give a platform to Andrew J. Nathan, a professor of political science at Columbia University and former board member of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). The NED is a U.S. government agency funded by Congress with the stated aim of fostering political change around the world. The organization played a key role in the unrest witnessed in Hong Kong. Its founder Allen Weinstein famously remarked, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the Central Intelligence Agency.” Nathan pushed the idea that the Chinese Government is on the verge of a “crisis of legitimacy.”
For its commentary of the centenary, CNBC called on the services of Frederick Kempe, President and CEO of one of America’s most influential think tanks, the Atlantic Council. The think tank notably receives funding from the U.S. State Department, the Marine Corps, and a host of private defense contractors. Kempe attempts to present the Chinese Government as being racked by feelings of doubt and unease. The reason for such “nervousness,” he explains, is due to China’s “inevitable” domestic upheavals.
Jude Blanchette, who holds a senior position at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), also pushed a narrative centered around paranoia and impending doom. The CSIS China chief used his platform in Foreign Affairs to lament China’s political system and criticize its leadership. He argued that the belief the CPC must guide the economy “will constrain the country’s future economic growth.”
In keeping with the trend of providing a platform to Five-Eyes-allied think tank leaders, The Guardian invited Richard McGregor, senior fellow at the Lowy Institute, to chronicle the CPC’s 100-year history. As could be expected, many of the country’s achievements were omitted and only its most tumultuous periods were given prominence. The author ended by floating the quite ridiculous idea that the government could be headed toward “a full-blown succession crisis and an ugly split at the top.”
Contrary to the above assertions, there is no “crisis of legitimacy” lurking within China’s booming middle class. Nor is there any nervousness present within its leadership. Such thought is the combination of psychological projection and wishful thinking.
Many members of China’s fast-growing middle class did study in the West, however, there has been little evidence to suggest any desire to import Western ideals, much less political systems or what is deemed to be “freedom.” For Chinese millennials and members of Generation Z, the West’s idea of freedom looks more like anarchy.
Take the coronavirus pandemic for example. In China, strong leadership combined with an efficient Party apparatus and a public willing to put the needs of the community first resulted in the pandemic being brought under control within just a few months.
In much of the West, fickle political leaders and a public conditioned to put individual desires above the needs of the community resulted in chaos. Mask wearing became a highly charged political issue and thousands disobeyed government and scientific guidance. The result is that many are still suffering and society has failed to return to normal. Meanwhile, China has witnessed relatively few casualties and has long since returned to pre-pandemic life.
China’s well-traveled and well-educated twenty-to-thirty-somethings see the geopolitical situation remarkably clearly. They see a rising China and a declining United States, which is making those in Washington and allied capitals nervous. They understand that malign external actors are actively seeking to stifle the country’s growth and they recognize the CPC as, among other things, the vital bulwark insulating against such forces.
The almost verbatim narrative pushed by those at the helm of the academic-industrial complex is interesting, to say the least. Equally intriguing is the media’s choice of authors. Almost every university has a department filled with objective China scholars. Why then were only the hawks and ideologues called upon and furnished with platforms?