Rebecca MacKinnon chats to

This is excellent:

Media scholar, Internet fundi and former Beijing bureau chief for CNN, Rebecca MacKinnon reports on a chat with

On Monday afternoon I did an online chat with these patriotic young people who run Anti-CNN, a website launched in the wake of the Tibetan unrest and crackdown last year by a group of young Chinese who felt that the Western media was presenting a distorted and inaccurate picture of China. They invited me to do the online chat after I interviewed Anti-CNN founder Rao Jin this past Saturday as part of my book research...

...My writings and talks have been a topic of discussion on the Anti-CNN website in the past, and given that I once reported for CNN in Beijing, it was not surprising that they were rather keen to offer me to up to their community.

Offer her up indeed!

The poor dears at Anti-CNN had to censor the chat on their own website, but you can listen to an MP3 of the whole talk or read MacKinnon's report on her blog: My chat with (on Typepad which is blocked in China).

There are currently 21 Comments for Rebecca MacKinnon chats to

Comments on Rebecca MacKinnon chats to

Link is broken for me.

It's on Typepad, which is blocked in China (just added a note to the text above).

Her blog has been censored in mainland for a while, so the mp3 can't be accessed. For these in mainland and who know Chinese, you could read on this link.

the red ones are her answers.

I was able to easily access and listen to the interview using just a random proxy server (

I'm madly in love with Rebecca McKinnon! She handled herself incredibly well in this interview, coming across very frank yet non-confrontational, principled yet nuanced, critical yet tolerant, opinionated yet thoughtful. And all in measured, fluent Mandarin (this women went to grade school at Fangcaodi, for heaven's sake!) We need more journalists like her! This subdued interview probably did more for softening and defusing the simmering anger of these young people than a dozen books or conferences. Brava, Rebecca! I hope I can meet her someday.

I will strongly suggest listening to the original copy of interview (which is also in chinese, surprisingly), the summary kinda skew-matched some of the Q&A pairs.

Must use proxy to view...

But this is the best post for some time...

hmmm, the audio record breaks at around 60mins... did anyone suffer from the same problem ?

Ok so does she frequently visit I get the feeling that CNN and Anti-CNN are becoming complementary to each other, in commercial sense, I let you criticize to make you popular, and you criticize me to make me popular.

Everyone can read her entile article at site. To me, this is a typical biased viewpoints from an American journalist. It looks like that she used this chatting opportunity to collect materials to prove her biased views that, I'm sure, will be included in her book. By doing this, she can claim that she is a China "expert" who is actually as shallow as many of her peers. The very limited viewpoints from AC members and other Chinese she mentioned are out of context; only to be used to prove and enhance her own biased viewpoints. Too bad that she even does not realize how biased she is!

if you can view anti-cnn during the conversation, you can watch they post transcription of Rebecca's answer simultaneously. you can still view the transcription now, i wonder why Jeremy Goldkorn said anti-cnn needs to censor the chat.

Props to Rebecca MacKinnon for the excellent work. Though I wish that she'd been a bit more forceful at times, it was a good effort.

One wonders if the hoopleheads at Anti-CNN recognize the delicious irony in their decision to censor Rebecca's comments regarding such things as 6/4 and Hu Jia's. My guess is a big, fat NO.

As for Anti-CNN's stated aim of "[helping] their fellow citizens to think more critically about global media" -- I'd be much more sympathetic if they would first demonstrate the ability to think critically about China's media. As things stand now, it feels a bit like the blind leading the blind.

Well, a slightly different perspective. With so much praise heaped on this, I hope my critique is not viewed as personal attacks.

I first read Rebecca's blog entry, then read the chat text in Chinese on anti-cnn, and finally listened to the whole recording from start to finish. It is interesting how the three different ways of delivery gave me slightly different impressions.

The blog entry was all right. It has always been my personal opinion based on reading her writings and her sessions at various conferences that Ms. MacKinnon has the flair of a single-issue and self-righteous activist. I am not saying the issues she likes to talk about are not important though, I just wish she could cut away what I perceive to be the all-knowing, "commie-ccp-can-do-no-good", democracy fan-girl club attitude a bit. (Disclaimer, I support the rule of law and democracy too). In that regard, I share the sentiment expressed by nobias above, though I do believe MacKinnon has good intentions.

I actually liked the chat text recorded by anti-cnn people. Overall, I think they did a great job. It is unfortunate that Rebecca's talk on 64 was not recorded there, though understandable, given the censorship and idiotic nanny that they are subject to.

After listening the whole recording, though, Rebecca came across to me as being pretty defensive, even evasive, constantly mentioning that she left CNN in 2001, and dancing around questions like how the western media deals with mistakes by saying nobody is perfect or some like that. She used Abu Graib as proof of "how the interests of the U.S. media and government often do not coincide". Bad example! In fact, American media got hold of shitload of evidence (images in CD-ROMs) for months and months before publishing that news. Only when the Aussies (I believe) got hold of it did Washington Post, NYT, CBS News do an about-face. Glenn Greenwald gives the best, by far, critique of American mainstream, in my opinion.

I was a bit surprised that when 德国之声 张丹红 was mentioned at first, Rebecca said she didn't know much about it, considering how much interest she has shown towards China-related news, although at the end of the recording she did say that it was all right for 张丹红 to express her opinions in a talk-show.

I simply don't understand why so much indignation toward anti-cnn. Sure there are idiotic firebrands on their forums, but I felt it has moderated quite a bit and seemed to be moving toward the middle. The US media and some expats in China likes to harp on the Fenqins, but for every Fenqin it caricatured, there is at least one equally, if not more vocal West worshipper trolling behind the GFW and shouting down dissidents. I think if the true objective is to promote freedom of speech and diversity of ideas, anti-cnn should be supported and encouraged, just like Al Jazeera should be supported and promoted, instead of being treated as enemy by the US government and deliberately bombed at in Baghdad. Watch The Control room for details. No, I don't equate anti-cnn to Al Jazeera.

Hi Ji Village News
I think some of the indignation toward anti-cnn comes simply from their opening premise - anti-cnn. Seems a little ironic to be anti-cnn while self-consoring for the net nanny and ignoring the news output of CCTV and Xinhua.

An 'anti-news media' would be a far more worthwhile venture and wouldn't stick in the throat quite as much as the populist, bandwagon-jumping intentions of anti-cnn.

anti-cnn has post Rebecca's narration of the dialogue on their website. so readers of anti-cnn can view what Rebecca want to say just inside the webpage of anti-cnn. it's fairly clear they just edit the transcription instead of trying to hide Rebecca's word.


Rebecca didn't mention what was censored. Listens to the original un-cut copy of the interview is still a preferable choice.

i just want to stress, viewer can read Rebecca's version of the conversation including the part of Tiananmen massacre victimn and dissident Hujia on the webpage inside anti-cnn. so AC don't mind their readers know it.
i think the significant difference between AC and the patriotic movement in the past is many participants accept western value. they participate AC because they think too many westerners don't respect western value in China issue.
i think AC provides a platform people can learn how to read news with the proper level of skepticism and critical thinking.
to Stinky, i think if you focus lies from domestic media, that's exactly blind leading blind. most of Chinese know they are just mouthpiece of Chinese government, if Chinese can learn to read news from western media with proper level of skepticism and critical thinking, they will apply it to demestic media too.

i just want to say her version of the dialogue has been post on anti-cnn, including the part about 6/4 and Hu jia. so AC doesn't mind their viewers know about it.
i think the significant difference between AC and patriotic movement in the past is many participants recognize western value, they defense for their country because they think many westerners don't respect western value in China issue.
i think AC provide a platform for Chinese to learn how to read news with proper level of skepticism and critical thinking. most of Chinese have already known domestic media are mouthpiece of the Chinese government, when they know how to analyse news from western media, they become be smarter in analysing news from domestic media too.

In my opinion, CNN's coverage of China/Tibet issue is quite bad journalism. Those Chinese youth at Anti-CNN organize a website to criticize CNN and some other west media's behavior, I applaud their efforts. I also believe they have done some good work with good principle. I am glad Ms. Mackinnon interview and report them.
There are people who try to defend CNN or just to feel superior by gloating over:
1) They have to censor Tiananmen 6.4 event on their website so they would get into trouble with Chinese Government.
2) They have some immature opinion about some issues.
3) They didn't criticize some of the poor qualities of journalism in China. (I agree that there are plenty of them.)
I would say to those people, give me a break, don't be so pathetic.

I put myself through both version, the one on anti-cnn isn't really censored. (god it was long and boring)

Totoally agree with Ji Village News.

Rebecca came across to me as being pretty defensive, even evasive, constantly mentioning that she left CNN in 2001, and dancing around questions like how the western media deals with mistakes by saying nobody is perfect or some like that. She used Abu Graib as proof of "how the interests of the U.S. media and government often do not coincide". Bad example!

Below is a comment on Rebecca MacKinnon's main viewpoints. Hope people who understand Chinese read this:

AC 作为中国一个民间网站,能有勇气和胸怀与一个长期服务主流西美,精明老道的西方记者进行这样一次访谈值得称赞! 但是由于准备不够充分,缺乏经验,又不是专业媒体人员,访谈结果没有达到很好“沟通”,互相理解的初衷,不过这次尝试对于今后的AC,对于中国民众加强对西方媒体人员,西方民众的进一步了解有好处。Rebecca MacKinnon 虽然在回答提问时老练圆滑,但是她似乎忘记了一点,那就是:在AC网站上,有很大一部分是长期旅居欧美的中国人,有许多中国国内的海归人员,有许多目前仍在欧美国家学习的中国青年人,还有许多中国了解西媒的台湾人,香港人。这些中国人群体几乎每天接触西方媒体,对西媒非常了解,熟悉欧美国家政治,经济体制和运作 (譬如强大的特殊利益集团的作用,媒体必须遵循“政治正确”等等潜规则),了解一般欧美民众的思维和他们对外部世界了解的肤浅和表面,知道许多欧美人普遍存着莫名其妙的“救世主”情节和荒唐的道德优越感等等。可以说,MarKinnon 实在是低估了中国网民的智商。

Rebecca MacKinnon的主要观点完全经不起推敲。

这是什么逻辑?正如一位网友提到的,达赖几十年来在西方游说的观点没有任何新意,为什么主流西媒不厌其烦地重复报道?只要DL一张口,西媒就用大量篇幅予以报道。难怪有人嘲讽说,DL打个喷嚏,咳嗽一下西媒都恨不得报道一下,是不是“spiritual air" (精神空气)

这是什么逻辑?按照此理,那么是不是我们可以这样理解,不管他是犯了杀人罪,强奸罪,贪污受贿罪,抢劫放火罪,分裂国土罪,甚至违反交通规则罪,只要他是反对中国政府,都是西媒眼中的受害者?西媒都予以支持?(事实上也是如此) 如果真是这样,那么请问Ms. MacKinnon, 这是不是正好说明了西媒具有根深蒂固的冷战思维和病态的“反华”情节?这种anti-China frenzy (反华疯狂症) 已经到了不但西人应该深刻反思的地步,而且到了不少西人应该寻求professional help (专业人员的心理帮助)的地步了。火炬经过香港时香港20几万民众的支持说明了什么?难道香港人也都是共产主义者?忽视,践踏中国13亿民意,西媒在报道奥运火炬传递过程中的丑恶行为已经生动地显露了它们的虚伪,偏见和不公正。

这一辩解太牵强,不值一驳。DL集团在西方是弱者?完全是谎话! 在西方,DL集团得到了众多西方反华组织的强大援助,这种援助包括金钱,政治,媒体等。那些跟随火炬示威的专业藏独示威者都是拿了钱的! DL在几个西方国家才是“强势”方! 而相比之下,中国留学生孩子们,其它支持奥运的人们却是地地道道的弱者! 没有经济资助,全部是自愿的,没有西方政客和媒体为他们造势,没有主流西媒传达他们的声音,它们难道还算是强势方?真是颠倒黑白! 唯一可以说他们是强者的就是:他们背后有着13亿中国民意的支持! 北京奥运是国际奥委会民主选举的结果,所以他们背后有着几个西方国家以外的全世界大多数民众的支持! 至于说到所谓西媒都是站在“弱者”一边就更加可笑了。以色列和巴勒斯坦人,谁是强势方?谁是弱势“无助”者?这恐怕全世界都知道,而CNN和其它美国媒体站在哪一边全世界也都知道。

4。因为不能进入西藏,所以CNN 和其它主流西媒的西藏报道会出现问题。
又是一个经不起驳斥的自我辩解。笔者要问Ms.MacKinnon, 1)既然您和西媒记者需要进入西藏才能报道西藏事件,那么为什么这么多年来那些从未去过西藏的西媒记者能写出那么多关于西藏的所谓“报道”?凭想像编出来的? 还是只愿意听取一面之辞,那就是DL集团的“故事”?2) 既然你们不进入西藏也能有这么多报道,那么你们有必要和需要进入西藏吗?想像和偏听已经给你们提供了素材了,不是吗?3)从来没有踏上过西藏土地都能写出那么多关于西藏的报道和故事,那么凭什么中国政府和民众要让你们进入西藏?凭什么相信你们会告诉一个真实的西藏?会如实报道?如果生活在西藏的藏人同DL海外流亡政府观点不同,你们是不是又要因为他们站在中国政府一边而不报道他们的观点?4)让你们进入西藏是不是只是为你们今后编造故事和谎言提供Credibility (可信度)?为某些西媒记者增强他们的片面的西藏报道的权威性?至少现在西媒也不得不承认,它们关于西藏资料的来源是二手的。还有,每当CNN和主流西媒采纳DL海外政府的故事时都会加上一句 "According to the reliable source that......" (根据可靠信息来源。。。。),您们已经100%地断定DL政府的说法是“可靠”的了,那么有进入西藏采访的必要吗?


China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
From 2008
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
Danwei Archives