Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Obama coverage on CCTV

This is great:

For those who don't understand Chinese, here's a rough transcript:
Obama: "Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism..."
[simultaneous translation]
[cue startled looking anchor] Wang Haiying (a correspondent), Wang Haiying...
Wang: yes?
Anchor: what economic challenges does Obama face?

Apparently they tried to do live coverage of the inaugural speech, but someone freaked out and pulled the plug when they heard that bit about facing down communism. If they had just left it alone, no one would have noticed, or better yet, it would have sparked a debate among ultranationalist youth about Obama's "attack" on Chinese ideals (actually, some people are arguing about that on the youtube page for this clip). Instead, they freaked out, and now it's all over the place. If they had stayed, though, I wonder what would have happened when Obama started talking about those who would crush dissent being on the wrong side of history.

The next question is, of course, who is going to get fired for this mess? Will it be the guy who thought it was a good idea to have a live broadcast of the speech without an advance copy? Maybe. But it's more likely to be the interpreter taking the blame. That's rough. We've got enough to worry about without having to do political analysis at 80 words a minute.

PS: props to for their coverage, and to Hoiking for posting the video.


Andy said...

I wouldn't be surprised if the interpreter loses her job. That was my gut feeling. She seems like such a good one, so it will probably be a blessing for her career in the private sector. : )
I give them some credit for at least starting to report live. But honestly, they have so many fears on their agenda, they should have known better. I don't think they even report their own space exploration events live for similar reasons.
Excellent analysis. I'll have to read your blog more often!

Ben said...

Personally, I'm just surprised CCTV didn't run this speech on a 10 second tape delay. If that had been the case, they could have easily faded out without creating as much attention. As the poster points out, I think the way they handled it just made the "problem" a lot bigger than it really should have been.


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