OLD Media Moves

WSJ staff protest “sick man” headline that upset Chinese government

February 22, 2020

Posted by Chris Roush

The Wall Street Journal’s China staff is urging the newspaper to apologize for a headline that prompted the Chinese government to expel three of its journalists this week, reports Paul Farhi of The Washington Post.

Farhi reports, “‘We . . . ask you to consider correcting the headline and apologizing to our readers, sources, colleagues and anyone else who was offended by it,’ wrote Jonathan Cheng, the Journal’s bureau chief in Beijing, in an email to William Lewis, the Journal’s publisher and chief executive of Dow Jones & Co., and Lewis’ boss, Robert Thomson, the chief executive of News Corp.

“Cheng added, ‘This is not about editorial independence or the sanctity of the divide between news and opinion. It is not about the content of Dr. Mead’s article. It is about the mistaken choice of a headline that was deeply offensive to many people, not just in China.

“‘We find the argument that no offense was intended to be unconvincing: Someone should have known that it would cause widespread offense. If they didn’t know that, they made a bad mistake, and should correct it and apologize.’

“Cheng’s email, sent Thursday, was signed by 53 members of the Journal’s China staff and ‘other colleagues involved in our coverage,’ as Cheng put it.”

Read more here.

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