Diversifying and Unifying the U.S.-China Relations: Lessons Learned from the U.S. Media's China Coverage
The U.S.-China relation has diversified into many areas of cooperation as well as differences in recent years. But understanding one in terms of the other is still difficult. The remoteness and the mystery of each other's cultures and systems often contribute to misperception and misunderstanding. Vital economic interests and the understanding that this relation affects not only the two nations but the world in many ways have persuaded the two governments to work hard to prevent a total collapse in the relation. However, crisis happens and damages the relation from time to time. Diversity as a concept and slogan has been very popular in the United States in recent years. However, diversity has often been superficially promoted for political reason rather than for substance or real change. When it comes to the U.S.-China relation, U.S. media's China coverage encourages the public perceiving and thinking about China to develop particular understandings with their repeated frame or recurring themes. The U.S. media influence how the public see China by highlighting and glamorizing certain views over others, and causing the public to see Chinese government and the Chinese people through a narrow lens. American reporters are influenced by the current politics and ideologies as well as social and political incentives to support their own government to oppose an "enemy" such as China. Demonizing China as a country and romanticizing the Chinese as a people have been popular in the United States. As a result, honesty and objectivity of their China stories are often compromised. This paper attempts to analyze the U.S. media's China coverage and point out that the U.S. media's China coverage need to be diverse and balanced to keep up with a diverse reality of the U.S.-China relation and to help contribute to the unity of the bilateral U.S.-China relation.
Keywords: U.S.-China relation, media coverage, diversity, unity
Dr. Yu Zhang
Dept. of Communication, State University of New York