I’ve been facing the working journo’s version of a devil’s cocktail: multiple deadlines mixed with lots of travel. But despite my burdens, I was still able to take note of Daily Beast’s over-the-top effort to render recent diplomatic spats between the US and China into something … scary. Specifically, a (re)package of stories that it labels “How scary is China?” Below, the very picture of mindless fear-mongering (click to enlarge).
Now, I happen to think a package of stories that examines recent diplomatic difficulties between the US and China is a fine idea. And I’m all for flashy headlines. But if, say, someone were looking for proof that certain elements of the US media are reflexively anti-China (define as you see fit), headlines that ask how – not whether – China is scary, would be a fine place to start. Me, personally, I don’t find anything particularly unusual about the recent US-China flare-ups – except for the amount of coverage they’re receiving from US and Chinese press compared to, for example, past coverage of Taiwanese arm sales. And, generally, I think that’s a good thing: it means more people are paying attention to US-China relations. A pity, though, that the Daily Beast”s contribution to that generally positive development is a headline unworthy of a high school newspaper, much less a news organization that fancies itself respectable. Way to go.