not easy to look at ourselves as others might see us. For a  country, the need

is especially acute in times of international crisis —  but that’s when

nationalism and other reflexive biases are most likely to  become pivotal.


of the ways to test for media slant is to put the shoe on the  other foot. A

current big story provides an opportunity for inquiry in the  world of intense

media spin.


are some excerpts from actual U.S. news coverage in recent  days, with only one

type of change — I’ve reversed the references to China  and the United States.

The mirror-image narrative is worth pondering.


World News Tonight: "There are concerns about national  security and a Chinese

military flight crew that was forced to make an  emergency landing during a

surveillance flight along the East Coast of the  United States. The Chinese spy

plane was equipped with sophisticated  intelligence-gathering technology."


"Chinese military officials say that they are, first and  foremost, concerned

about the safety of the crew. They want that crew  returned back to China."


News: "China’s military agency insists this plane was 40 to 50  miles off the

coast of New Jersey, and if that’s true, then the Americans  are to blame. But

if the Americans say, ‘No, that plane violated our air  space,’ or, ‘Sorry, we

have to hold the crew and the plane while we  investigate this incident,’ well,

then this could get ugly."


Good Morning America: "There is a major story now going on  — a very troubling

international incident. It has been more than 35 hours  since anyone has heard

from the 24 Chinese — 22 navy, one each from the  air force and marines —

forced to land on Long Island."


Associated Press: "China is keeping three destroyers in the  vicinity of Long

Island, where a Chinese Navy spy plane landed after  colliding with an American

fighter jet."


News: "Chinese diplomats are scrambling to smooth over  tensions with Washington

after Sunday’s midair collision between a Chinese  spy plane and an American

fighter jet."


Early Show: "Frustrated Chinese diplomats are trying to secure  the release of a

spy plane and its crew from the United States."


Associated Press (headline): "As American Military Might  Develops, Friction

With China Grows More Likely"


All Things Considered: "Chinese surveillance aircraft for  years have flown

around the United States monitoring radar transmissions  and eavesdropping on

American communications. And the Americans routinely  send their own jets up to

follow the Chinese aircraft around. But China  says these cat-and-mouse games

have become more dangerous in the past few  months with the American fighters

acting more and more aggressively."


New York Times: "American fighter jets have flown dangerously  close to Chinese

reconnaissance planes over the Atlantic near the East  Coast several times in

recent months, prompting complaints from Chinese  officials to the Americans,

senior Chinese officials said today."


Angeles Times: "The seizure of a Chinese Navy spy plane by the  Americans could

cost China vital information about how America’s military  operates and might

inflict wider damage if Washington shares China’s  secrets with other potential

adversaries, Chinese defense officials and  experts said yesterday."


NewsHour With Jim Lehrer: "China’s President Jiang Zemin today  demanded that

the United States return a Chinese Navy surveillance plane  and its crew. It

collided with an American jet fighter early Sunday off  Long Island in New York

and had to make an emergency landing there. The  fighter crashed at sea and its

pilot was missing."


Christian Science Monitor (headline): "America’s Demands  Prolong Dispute"

Scripps Howard News Service: "Family members of the crew of the  Chinese Navy

spy plane held captive in the United States are filled with  anxiety, fear and



Associated Press: "Anger and impatience began surfacing  Tuesday among friends

and loved ones of 24 Chinese spy plane crew members  still confined at an

American military base."


Francisco Chronicle (headline): "How Yangzhou Mom Told Kids  Daddy Is Captured



Wall Street Journal (editorial): "The status of the downed  Chinese Navy

reconnaissance plane and its crew on Long Island remains  unknown, and the onus

is clearly on the Americans to clarify their  intentions…. Washington attacks

the notion of a ‘pax Chinacana’ in the  Western Hemisphere, even calling

bilateral security alliances threats to  stability… America’s more enlightened

leaders now need to move quickly to  prevent a small incident from escalating

into a dispute that fans the  flames of nationalism."



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