Reuters is taking criticism from Twitter users after rebroadcasting a poor, 1970’s-type simulation of the recent Chinese Mars landing as if it were footage of the landing itself rather than a simulation provided by Chinese state television.
“@Reuters, there’s confusion about what we’re seeing in this video,” Jan Jekielek, senior editor at Epoch Times, a publication that specializes in China, tweeted. “Is this a simulation of what CCTV (Chinese Communist Party-controlled media) says happened? The tweet is unclear.”
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 23, 2021
The article reads like a press release from the Chinese Communist Party, never referring to a space race between Beijing and Washington, which is a prime mover of the Chinese desire to get to Mars.
“You were brave enough for the challenge, pursued excellence and placed our country in the advanced ranks of planetary exploration,” Reuters quoted Communist Party Chairman, Xi Jinping in addressing members of the unmanned crew mission. “Your outstanding achievement will forever be etched in the memories of the motherland and the people.”
Last week, the United States Senate passed a bill that would provide $120 billion in funding to develop technologies to compete against China.
“U.S. competition with China is one of just a handful of areas left open for bipartisan cooperation in Washington,” according to Foreign Policy. “The determination to counter Beijing’s influence, already present in 2019, has been sharpened by the coronavirus pandemic. The Endless Frontier Act is one of several related to China and co-sponsored by Republicans and Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.”
Other Twitter users were also critical of the Reuters story.
“Did they land two rovers?” asked Brent Cannon. “The first one landed – set up – deployed a camera – and videoed the second one landing? And – in a dust free zone of Mars? Amazing…”
Did they land 2 rovers? The first one landed – set up – deployed a camera – and videoed the second one landing? And – in a dust free zone of Mars? Amazing….
— Brent Cannon (@brent_cannon) May 23, 2021
Thompson Reuters, the parent company for Reuters wire service, has two locations in Communist China and two locations in recently annexed Hong Kong. That may contribute to reporting that avoids criticism of China.
“The cutting of press credentials and refusal to renew visas resulted in the largest expulsion of foreign journalists from China [in 2020] since the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre more than three decades ago,” PBS reported.
As we saw with the recent John Cena story, even the mildest unapproved Chinese statements can also result in humiliating apologies to Chinese citizens on state-controlled social media.