Yang Hengjun: CCTV versus CNN on National Day Parade

Blogger Yang Hengjun writes about his experience watching supposedly “live” broadcasts of the National Day celebrations on both and . ESWN translates:

The parade has begun. The majestic guard of honor has arrived. Oh. Exciting. Magnificent … But while the screen showed the guard of honor marching in steps, I was hearing the CNN announcers talking about other stuff. They spoke of the China problem. They spoke of citizens who petition. They spoke of the problems that China faced … Damn, aren’t you being annoying? A military parade is not just for watching. We have to listen to it because the sounds of the marching steps are even more impressive than the visual images … But your chattering has prevented me from listening. So I turned down the television sound volume and I turned up the sound volume on the notebook computer. Since the CNN announcers are digressing, I am better off listening to the live broadcast on CCTV …

But this is strange — the guard of honor has reached the Jinshui Bridge on television, yet they have just come out of the gate on the computer. What is going on? I immediately asked the netizens whether CCTV is doing a live broadcast. A netizen replied: “It is delayed by about 30 seconds.”

So I learned something new about the meaning of “live broadcast”! The problem is that if I did not have the big screen CNN, I wouldn’t care. Since I have it, I have both screens in front of me.

[…] For this unprecedented historical event, the significance of being half a minute earlier (or watching the real “live broadcast”) is the possibility of witnessing real history. By being half a minute late, you could be watching an entertainment program instead of real history. Why? Because if real history were to occur, those editors in charge of “live broadcast” would have made sure that you cannot see it. Although you were late by only half a minute, you can only see whatever the editor allows you to see. It is that simple.

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