First, let’s not make the sweeping generalization that American media is a proxy for Western media ok? The United States is a country that is considered by most Chinese to be a proxy for ALL Western countries, but its politics are actually quite different than the politics of Canada or Europe, and it tends to be a more right leaning conservative country that is run by corporations/military interests. Let’s get that out of the way, first ok? The question really should be rephrased to what is wrong with a lot of American media coverage of China?
American media titles often sensationalize – and this is not just talking about China but every topic in general – the media will often twist words around to make something seem more dramatic to get the viewers attention. Let’s not get the idea that American media is specifically out to get China – it’s out to get money. Money means you have to be sensationalist to get readers. PELOSI READY TO GET TRUMP IMPEACHED – might be a headline that you see amongst American media – even though that’s their own President!
China is not treated much differently than Russia, to America those are their geopolitical enemies so they have to report on the negatives there more than the positives – and it grabs headlines better.
Wow China is expanding its military presence in SE Asia!
Wow China has secret internment camps! how awful!
Look at that, China is taking over Hong Kong!
Wow look what happens to Chinese when they speak out! they disappear!
Look at that China is trying to take over the world with its trade plans!
See all these sensationalist videos? They’re meant to grab your attention about what China is doing and they are biased towards the negative. Are they totally fake? No, there are truths in the video, but they are presented in a very negatively biased way.
But in China, you would see the same negative videos about America as well, that they have a plan to take over the world, that they are infringing Chinese interests etc, since government knows that the narrative the media pushes is a way of controlling the people, that’s why they represent specific biases.
In China’s case, the state directly controls the media. In USA’s case, lobbyists and special interests control the media. Both have similar objectives which are to control the people into believing a certain narrative.
So back to the main question – is there anything wrong with American media coverage of China – and the answer is no, not really – the media is doing exactly its job. Which is to sway the people towards a certain narrative. There is no such thing as unbiased news. Every news outlet is biased towards some objective.
That said – this doesn’t mean that everyone is brainwashed by the media. Me for example, I rarely look at the media, I get most of my information from Wikipedia, a website that is one of the few thats accessible and editable by anyone in China or anywhere else.
A lot of Americans have shifted away from traditional cable and newspapers now and get their news from Facebook or Youtube. A lot of the most top voted pro-Chinese answers you’ll find on Quora for example, are actually written by Westerners.
People who have traveled more are generally more less likely to be ‘brainwashed’ as they have experienced the different countries and cultures firsthand themselves. This goes for both Americans and Chinese people, btw. Americans believe all Chinese things are poor quality or that they spy and kidnap their citizens – I’ve traveled to China so I know that’s not true. Chinese people believe all Koreans had plastic surgery or appropriate Chinese culture as theirs – again, I lived in Korea before so I know that it’s not true. Traveling is a good way to dispel ignorant notions.