I, for one, fall to grasp how ANYONE let alone a trained journalist (msm) would even consider that ANYTHING coming out of China, or Russia would have any relationship with the truth whatsoever. The leadership of those two countries must have zero respect for the west’s journalistic integrity – ho hum blah blah 1984 indeed.
I can think of one main reason : TDS (Trump Derangement syndrome), which was in full swing at the time in the MSM crowd.
Big Bad Orange man says China is lying, ergo, China MUST be lauded and applauded.
Very plausible account of elite opinion-former psychology.
Because China owns the media companies. They spend millions in print and TV advertising. Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos imports all his cheap Amazon crap from China. Oh, and the only thing “journalists” are “trained” in is repeating approved narratives and giving the truth a good leaving alone.
What we actually learned from the CCP propaganda is how bent the Western world’s media and organisations are.
Indeed the old maxim the bigger the lie, the more often it is repeated, the more likely it is to be believed. The comment by a Guardian journalist that ““Our media have become mass producers of distortion” seems to fairly accurate.
“And yet, not only have we all believed China’s claims about its Covid “success”, specifically Zero Covid…”
Surely we all knew from the start that the CCP was fiddling the figures.
Yes, people on this forum and similar ones.
But just look at numbers of comments.
People consuming MSM went along with the lies.
Helped by Labour and LibDems shouting for earlier, stricter and longer lockdowns.
You are starting to get onto dodgy ground when basically saying anyone who disagrees with you is being lied to while you are able to access the unvarnished truth. The notion of ‘MSM’ is yet another American culture wars import, which has less salience (not zero, but less) in the UK where there has always been a robust right of centre media, the Mail, Express etc.
The issue about China’s systematic lies is separate from the one about the effectiveness of lockdowns, and also sits a bit uncomfortably with outright covid deniers who thought the whole business was a ‘scamdemic’.
China may very well have done ‘better’ in containing covid than most western countries, despite it’s lying, because of its extreme willingness to imprison the population. Let’s be clear, this is of a different order than anything that has happened in any western country. For example, not being able to leave your flat for ANY reason, children being separated from their parents, theass killing of pets etc etc. But the point is that covid should never have been the sole concern of any government, and making it so has been a disaster.
For what it is worth, I think the origin of the virus was in the Wuhan Institute of Virology where ‘gain of function’ research was undoubtedly taking place into coronaviruses (with some American institutions involved). There was a lab leak, then panic, the database was deleted, some people in the West knew something of this, there was panic, the previous accepted pandemic plans including the advice of the WHO which did not include locking down the entire population, were unceremoniously ditched before they’d had any chance to work. The West copied China.
If the narrative sets in without challenge that this has had a good result (and that China has done ‘well’) that bodes very poorly for the maintenance of a free society in future. However I am somewhat heartened by the widespread ignoring of continuing nannying advice all over Europe, people are just fed up, some people will get covid as I just have for the 2nd time, perhaps mortality will increase a little for a while (though the virus is very mild for most now). However simply living (existing?) for as long as possible isn’t the entire point of life!
One grows tired of the endless pruning, re-examinations and restating of the Covid story. Slicing the ‘data’ this way and that, comparing this nation with that nation, is all a monumental distraction from the single central truth: covid lockdowns were a social and economic disaster the effects of which we are only just beginning to see.
More of a fool’s errand. Comparing national responses using the raw figures is pointless. Demographics matter as do border controls. There may be other susceptibility factors at work as well. The press and politicians have all been corrupt in pointing out that a given place had a better/worse mitigation policy to justify local decisions – “Sweden doing mitigation all wrong.”
The data now show none of the mitigation policies were particularly effective – lockdowns, masks were more opinion based than science based. They did effectively nudge us toward a novel vaccine of questionable utility.
“questionable” is a very understated way of putting it.
I’ve always thought the severe lockdowns in China had more to do with controlling the population than controlling the virus. A severe public health emergency would be fertile ground for widespread discontent if public resources to deal with it were inadequate, as I suspect they are in many parts of China. That would pose an unacceptable threat to the authority of the party and its officials.
ALL the lockdowns had more to do with controlling the population than controlling the virus. Lockdowns were a lowest common denominator manner of buck-passing ie not my fault guv, everyone’s doing it. The Swedes, as they have been for decades, were well ahead of the game…
Yes well done Sweden, shame no one listened.
This appears to be a non-news article.
That China has consistently lied about every aspect of the pandemic has been heavily reported outside the msm, not least here on Unherd.
That the msm has attempted to validate China’s zero covid narrative has also been heavily reported outside the msm. On the other hand, we’ve all become much more aware of the financial ties between the CCP and Western media organizations, universities, sports teams, and other institutions. The pandemic has finally shone a spotlight on China’s agenda, so much so that a few days ago the heads of the US and UK security services appeared in a joint press conference and warned about China’s intentions toward the West.
Finally, I’m perplexed by the author’s use of “we”. For example,
“And yet, not only have we all believed China’s claims about its Covid “success”, specifically Zero Covid, we’ve built an entire political theory around it.”
Who is the “we” in that statement? There might have been a short period during the early phase of the pandemic when a significant number of people believed China was doing a better job than the West in containing the virus, but that moment quickly passed. By the time the ultra-infectious omicron variant arrived, it was clear to everyone that zero covid was a fantasy and a very harmful fantasy at that.
Maybe the zero covid nightmare will finally end when Xi is elected lifelong leader later this year. There’s nothing like an ego buzz to soften a guy’s heart.
Wasn’t the fabled Dominic Cummings one of the great supporters of the ‘Chinese way’ at the very beginning of this ridiculous charade?
Yes, in fact twice. He was pushing for lockdowns twice(March and October 2020) even when Boris was reluctant, basically coercing the latter to lock down. In other words, Dominic Cummings is arguably even more responsible than Boris himself(more of a ‘button man’ as well as the fall guy) in dragging the UK into such shambles. Furthermore, he was the one who organized the press-led smear campaign against the Great Barrington Declaration in 2020 in cahoots with Jeremy Farrar. How he isn’t held accountable as much as the other members of the biosecurity mafia baffles me!
My recollection of covid years is different.
I lost many friends when pointing out Chinese lies and nonsensical mask and lockdowns mandates.
So, no. Moment when significant number of people stopped believing Chinese line has not arrived yet.
Membership of Unherd and similar is tiny.
The rest believe bbc and woke Media peddling Chinese narrative.
The Chinese response was always based in 2 main pillars: 1) draconian measures to give the illusion of competence 2) Faking the numbers.
The West tried to copy the response but the second pillar probably got lost in translation, because we also faked the numbers but in the OPPOSITE direction to those of the CCP.
Thank you. Everyone (in the MSM) should read this article.
Most people I know never believed a single number coming out of China. It is just the media saying so.
I learned during the last 2 years that the real objective of the media is NOT (contrary to what most people say) to directly change/control what the viewer thinks. The real aim is controlling what the viewer thinks others think. This way the viewers can think, ‘this makes no sense but others are stupid’. Then everyone complies because everyone thinks everbody else (but not themselves) agrees with what the MSM says.
A country that is infamous for having escalators devour hundreds a year is not one that is likely to have an effective disease control programme.
If no one is dying of Covid, why is China still locking down entire cities? Only a fool would not realise that either plenty of people have and are still dying of Covid in China or else China is using the virus to increase regulation, already high, of its citizens.
To think that the cove escaped from Wuhan to the rest of the World with only a few international flights a day while not reaching all points in China with hundreds of flights a day plus a high speed rail network is obviously nonsense. Also after its high profile locking up of Wuhan , which came about partly as the rest of the world were questioning what was being done and which most of the world then copied, life got back to normal in China fairly quickly almost as if they realised it’s not much of a problem. The real puzzle is why, with an even milder version of the Cove has China continued to lock cities up. It can only be about power and making sure nothing stands in the way of the great leaders lifelong coronation.
Remember that poster on X-Files, “I want to believe”. People who believe anything that comes out of the CCP propaganda machine believe because they want to. They want totalitarianism to work. They want to believe in a utopian future where everyone gets along and everyone works for the common good, where the individual is subservient to the collective and the government has the power to enforce conformity. Only wishful thinking could convince anyone the CCP handled COVID better than South Korea or Singapore who have natural advantages that China does not.
As the old adage goes ‘if you see the lips of a member of the CCP moving, you know that he/she/ it is lying’. QED.
Fashionable idealogy plays a part in explaining why western media didn’t do their job of challenging Chinese data and excluding Chinese comments on social media.
-Questioning China (or most other countries) in any way is labelled as racist by the woke.
-The desire by a minority to impose centralised control on the West mean they will only ever portray CCP as a success.
-Permanent lockdowns and removal of basic rights is also a fundamental aspect of environmental lobbies who now have a precedent to build on.
Interesting that the environmental movement targets two of the three most critical goods, energy and food. Reducing either by even a minor amount sows political upheaval . Huh, I wonder who might want to do that to the west?
China’s zero covid policy, notwithstanding its disputable degree of effectiveness, is China’s policy simply out of lack of a better alternative. China’s poor health system and almost entirely ineffective vaccine means they have no tool other than draconian lockdowns to combat the virus spread. The self imposed lockdowns in China’s major cities are producing widespread economic devastation, precipitating the current banking crisis and threatening broad based de-industrialization. It is a catastrophe for the Chinese Communist Party, but what is their alternative? If they were to allow Chinese citizens to drop dead in the streets by the millions the Party would lose all legitimacy.
The Grey Lady has been at it for a while: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr_Jones_(2019_film)
The Economist “ML study” is suspect as this type of analysis does not lend itself to ML. Would love to see the details of the model.