We are living in fear, but sadly we almost can’t fight back.
Four years ago, one of my college teachers introduced Edward R. Murrow and Oriana Fallaci to us, who were young and had no clue about the reality outside of campus. Youngsters are always easily attracted to legends. We hold on to our ambitions of being an outstanding and courageous journalist, looking up to Murrow and Fallaci.
Future turns blur when we are gradually exposed to struggling situation of the courageous journalists in my country. I was in a class of more than 60 students, when we graduated, no more than five devoted into news career. We always blame our unique system for muzzling media. Most of the time, inside the newsroom, decision-makers avoid attempting pushing the authorities, instead they suck with it.
When Murrow decided to stand up against Senator McKinsey, the pressure he carried on his shoulder is no less than some of our chief editors today. But he still did it and he made it. He chose not to be silent and stand by, watching the whole nation being manipulated by an extremist.
Currently besides being objective, media press should always keep a clear mind and avoid being compelled by the collective unconscious. Media in the Great China region are facing a strong invasion and fast growing of populism, an undercover irrational disease. The gap of wealth is rapidly enlarging on account for inequitable distribution of wealth since China adopted “Open and Reform” policy in 1978. But more than 30 years later, we are witnessing our society greatly polarized: wealth and power is controlled by the ruling party and its acolytes meanwhile the grass roots are struggling their way out.
Populism, as McCarthyism, emerges in people’s fear, anger and insecurity towards the status quo. The spread of populism has erodes the ability of independent thinking and occupy the space of rational voice. Many newspapers, to hit a better selling record and to obtain the support of grass root, embraced and stimulated the flow of populism. Murrow has showed the right path, either we follow his footprint or we pay the price for the wrong calls.
“I began by saying that our history will be what we make it. If we go on as we are, then history will take its revenge, and retribution will not limp in catching up with us,” in 1958, Murrow said.
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