Asian American and Mainstream Press Differ on Use of Language in John Liu Federal Investigation
This is worth noting. New York City Comptroller John Liu is running for Mayor of New York City in 2013. He is currently the target of a federal investigation that could change his decision to run or hurt his chances of winning. The mainstream press has covered the investigation extensively.
Feet In Two Worlds compares the reporting, showing that while New York’s English-language media used the word “scandal,” Chinese newspapers called it a “fundraising issue,” and the Korean press used the word “allegation.”
Chinese vs. English Language Media and the Subtlety of Words. By Stella Chan.
When the F.B.I. investigation unleashed a flood of news about City Comptroller John Liu, I saw that the stories in New York’s English-language and Asian-language media were as different as day and night. In contrast to the mainstream English-language press which uses the word “scandal” to refer to Liu’s situation, Chinese newspapers were terming it a “fundraising issue,” while the Korean press used the word “allegation.”
On October 11, 2011, the New York Times ran a front page article titled “Doubts Raised on Donations to Comptroller.” The investigative article uncovered irregularities in Liu’s donor lists, and subsequently, the F.B.I. began a probe into whether Liu’s campaign was illegally bundling donations. Immediately, the Chinese media began to run articles concerning the negative impact of the investigation on Asian American political participation. Several community leaders expressed their concerns about the investigation and some of them wondered if Liu was singled out because of his race. These angles were muted in the English-language press until the recent NY1 report, “Asian-American Community Struggles with Liu Controversy,” on Jan 5, 2012.
Meanwhile, the English media was reporting that Liu may be involved in several irregularities apart from his fundraising scandal, including his appointment of John Dorsa, his decision on a pension fund contract and his own office renovation. The New York Post even called upon Liu to resign, writing that “John Liu was never suited for public office,” in a November 21, 2011 editorial. An Asian reporter, off the record, told me that some English press were running negative stories in order to damage Liu’s reputation.
The different approaches of English and Chinese media were clearly shown in the reporting on a press conference hosted by Liu’s Chinese supporters on December 22, 2011. The New York Post, Daily News and New York Times joined a number of Chinese media outlets at the Chinatown meeting. The following day, The Post and The Daily News came up with the headlines “Liu in FBI cross hairs” and “Liu insists he’s still running for mayor despite probe,” while the Chinese media wrote articles about supporters calling for a united community to back up Liu.
Via VOICES NY and Feet In Two Worlds