So last night me and the missus were gearing up to watch NBC Nightly News. She cooked a good dinner, pasta and chicken and some green stuff. She worked hard on that dinner. She was texting with her father who is in Hong Kong. An academic and a government man. She said, “My dad wants to know if CNN is covering the protests in HK.”
I said while I could guarantee it’s getting zero coverage in Mainland China, that it was a safe bet that even though this event that is unfolding in Hong Kong is growing increasingly historic, certainly more consequential than the Ferguson Missouri shooting and looting, dubbed by some as Tiananmen 2.0, it likely has been getting marginal coverage on American television news networks including CNN.
I hit play on the DVR to start the news, and in the intro where the orchestra is playing the NBC Nightly News theme and the major stories are being synopsized, sure enough, Hong Kong was not among them. It ought to have been, but instead the lead story was the NFL scandal. Good thing Hong Kongers weren’t tuned into that because I’d picture that like tear gas it would be saddening, given the extraordinary gravity of their situation.
I offered my reasoning: Americans, bless our hearts, really don’t know what or where Hong Kong is, we certainly don’t understand Hong Kong’s relationship to China, let alone the history or even Tiananmen. Chinese people look different, and emotion is lost in cross-racial empathy. America is asleep when China is awake so the news isn’t as live which makes it not “breaking,” and that is unfit to air. Black kid shot by white cop sparking riots, now that’s a different story, and was one of the headline stories of our news program.
I told her snidely that if she and her people “really want to make American cable news networks splash the BREAKING IN HK banner on their screens for weeks, that instead of protesting and trying to cling to democracy, just go harbor another one of our traitors again and help him escape to an adversarial nation rather than cooperating with the United States. No tear gas required.”
I think she took offense, but I’m just telling it like it is, right? To smooth things over, I took her phone and added “Hong Kong PLA” to her Google News custom sections widget and pulled up the Youtube live feed. But she won’t use it, she has her own app. Still, the gesture was worth making, and to remind her that I know what something like PLA stands for, as well as the implications of the situation.
Good dinner. In retrospect, I should have expressed more appreciation for the dinner.