In today's tour of state-sponsored propaganda: America has an inferiority complex with China, Syria overcomes its challenges and a propagandist reveals himself. We begin in China.
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America's Inferiority Complex
Did you know America is privately envious of China's cultural superiority? If not, you're clearly not keeping up with The Global Times, one of China's state-run newspapers. This week, The Global Times is upset about an obscure State Department directive that's making it more difficult for Confucius Institues to operate in the United States. (Confucius Institutes are run by government-trained language instructors who teach foreigners Mandarin in some 380 locations throughout the U.S., but always avoid topics like the Dalai Lama or the Tiananmen Square Massacre ) Some of the griping about the directive is valid, especially concerning the renewal of visas for teachers at at the Confucius Centers. But in its typical ham-handed style, The Global Times makes a rather humorous but utterly serious extrapolation from the new policy in an editorial today titled "Why is Washington so scared of Confucius?":
The issue shows that the US' cultural confidence is not as strong as we thought. The promotion of Chinese language and culture by Confucius Institutes makes some Americans uneasy. Only culturally weak countries have such sensitivity.
Ah, you got us Global Times.
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It's All Good in Syria
In an announcement that seems a tad premature, the Syrian Arab News Agency reports that Syria has "succeeded to overcome" its challenges thanks to the toughness perseverance of its people:
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DAMASCUS, (SANA)- President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday stressed that Syria has succeeded to overcome the pressures and challenges which it has been facing over years and is able to get out of this crisis thanks to its people's steadfastness and adherence to its unity and independence.
Meanwhile, the BBC reports today that 50 are dead in the opposition stronghold of Homs, including 13 children, according to opposition activists. "If the reported death toll is accurate, it would be one of the bloodiest days since a nominal ceasefire came into effect last month, correspondents say." It's not clear if SANA is remarking on the explosion at this time, but it does have a separate report of six deaths in Homs due to an "explosive device blast."
A U.S. Propagandist Comes Clean
The latest twist involving the propaganda firm that received $120 million in Pentagon contracts since 2009 features a mea culpa. Today, Leonie Industries issued a statement divulging that Camille Chidiac, a co-owner of the company, ran a slanderous misinformation campaign against USA Today journalists who were reporting on the Pentagon's propaganda efforts. In a separate statement Chidiac apologized for his actions and said he wasn't acting in partnership with the Pentagon or the company itself:
"I take full responsibility for having some of the discussion forums opened and reproducing their previously published USA TODAY articles on them," he said in a statement released by his Atlanta attorney, Lin Wood.
"I recognize and deeply regret that my actions have caused concerns for Leonie and the U.S. military. This was never my intention. As an immediate corrective action, I am in the process of completely divesting my remaining minority ownership from Leonie," Chidiac said.
So Chidiac just launches misinformation campaigns against journalists for kicks? Sure, who hasn't done something like that in their spare time? You can be sure this won't be the last of the rogue propagandist story. Susan Weiss, executive editor of USA Today, says the newspaper will continue to report out the story.