Posted by: Melissa De Lyser | April 16, 2014

Media framing/Images of China: Is the bias only in media?

After reading Images of China, I would not disagree that the Australian media is biased against China.  

But I do take exception to some of Li’s arguments.  Li writes that feature stories get softer “postcard” play than economic and/or politically focused stories.  I don’t think that’s necessarily representative of bias. “Hard” news stories are played differently than “soft” news stories in all media.  That’s more a matter of readership volume than media bias.

I also question Li’s bias.  Li writes that the Australian media framing tactics included the “reactivation of the public memory of the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.”  Li cites media framing theory, where “issues are consciously or unconsciously influenced by historical-cultural-economic-political factors.”  Is Li free from bias on this topic?  Can he objectively argue that Australian media references to China’s human rights violations are without news value? 

Li also write that the Australian media calls China a communist government with a capitalist market.  At one point, Li himself describes China as a “nominally communist state.”  Is the media’s incorporation of the communist government/capitalist economy based on bias or fact? 

 In our Orientation discussion of Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal, we debated whether facts exist. We all add personal bias to our stories – whether as journalists or general conversationalists. We are storytellers, and stories contain bias. In the end, I think it comes down to a measure of degree.


  1. The bigger question becomes… how do you keep your bias out of your reporting or your research??

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