Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Internet and Anti-Americanism
Reflecting on our class discussion on why internet somehow relates to more anti-Americanism, this question leads me to connect the internet-users with the class issue. Even today, as the London-based Economist points out, anti-Americanism is partly a class issue: Poor and less-education Britons like America lot more than their richer compatriots…Upper class anti-Americanism may be surrogate snobbery. So what is the linkage here between internet and class? Unlike the easy access to internet for most of the people in the US, not everyone in other parts of the world has equal access to internet, especially in developing countries. So I tend to believe that internet users in the world are at least the middle-class who has time to surf the internet and care about these issues, like the Iraqi War, which tarnished America’s image abroad to a great degree. Poor people’s priority concern is surviving, let alone what is going on in the foreign world. Nye calls this class-related snobbery intellectual snobbery which also accounts for the anti-Americanism.

This also makes me think of the Chinese Anti-CNN movement, escalating during the Tibet riot issue last year. It illustrates how internet makes it so easy for the Chinese intellectuals (most of whom are university students who has easy access to internet) to get messages out and motivate more people into this movement. Angered by several Western media’s one-sided reports on the Tibetans’ “protests”, “crackdown” of Chinese government and the highlighting of western countries’ (notably UK, France, and U.S.) pro-Tibet activists’ boycott of 2008 Beijing Olympics, mainland Chinese and the well-established overseas Chinese online community was instantly filled with emotional protests and fervent calls for action. In China, www.anti-CNN.net and www.anti-CNN.com website are actually established mostly by university students, which states that: “this website is established to expose the lies and distortions in the western media. The site is maintained by volunteers, who are not associated with any government officials. We are not against the western media, but against the lies and fabricated stories in the media. We are not against the western people, but against the prejudice from the western society.” On their websites, they put more comprehensive pictures in contrast with CNN’s selective use of pictures which only highlight the injuries of Tibetan monks without much depiction of Han Chinese victims in order to create a “crackdown” image of Beijing government. Facebook interestingly is another important online tool for voicing out their protest. Infuriated by a German N-TV’s borrow of a picture with Nepal policemen beating the protesters in Nepal to “justify” that Chinese government is using forces to “crackdown” the Tibetan protesters, the overseas Chinese formed numerous online groups on Facebook to further expose some Western media’s biased reports, such as “Condemn Jack Cafferty's Hatred and Racist Remarks on CNN” and many others.

This case just illustrates how internet quickly makes the anti-CNN movement into such a “vogue” especially among the young intellectuals who are also the largest group of internet users in China.

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