The death of citizen journalism in China?
Roland Soong from ESWN sums up a trend that I’ve also observed over the past few years:
Over the past few months, I have been seen so many major breaking stories turn out to be rumor-fueled. The small number of stories that I have written about were largely about rumors. So I have two reactions on this debate.
My first reaction is that the proliferation of rumors has caused me personally to lose interest in catching up with current affairs. When at least 9 out of 10 major breaking stories turn out to be rumors, it is not surprising that my enthusiasm is going to wane. I don’t want to be misled and I don’t want to mislead others. I suspect that this applies to many other people. So how can this be good when people are turned off by current affairs and politics?
My second reaction is that even the few significant stories with elements of truth are getting destroyed by the insertion of rumors. For example, the case of Guo Meimei Baby should have led to a serious examination into the workings of the Red Cross Society of China. Instead people can caught up in a frenzy with calling up the Australian embassy to look out for a fictional Norwegian passport. And who fabricated that rumor? A reporter with the newspaper <China Business> who said that he did it because he did not want the story to die down. If you had forwarded that post, are you upset at being so easily deceived? Are you contrite about misleading your followers? At least, it was possible to check on the Norwegian passport and show that it was fake just as I did. But what about some of the other current assertions about the interlocking companies? What is true and what is false? I can no longer tell …
Read Soong’s full post about rumor mongering.