A survey of articles in Global Times’ International Forum editorial section, conducted by Allen Carlson and Jason Oaks at Cornell University’s Government Department, suggests that the newspaper’s reputation for hardline nationalism does not tell the whole truth:
At first glance this reputation appears to be well deserved. In recent months the paper has published a number of combative editorials on the ongoing standoff with the Philippines regarding ownership of portions of the South China Sea and its territorial dispute with Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. In short, it appears to be at the epicenter of a growing wave of aggressive Chinese rhetoric. The actual content of the paper, however, does not live up to such a characterization.
[…] To be clear, since 2008 many of those who have written in the paper seemed to take pleasure in how the financial crisis negatively impacted the United States. In response, some also called on China to adopt a more assertive position within the international arena. However, many other contributors focused less on America’s supposed decline, and more on critiquing China’s own numerous shortcomings in responding to new economic realities. In addition, a number of authors continued to stress the importance of maintaining a stable relationship with America, and some even advocated the strengthening of multilateral cooperation to cope with the emerging problems within the global economic system. Indeed, especially nationalist interpretations of the worldwide economic meltdown were relatively rare and not especially confrontational.
See also Christina Larson’s Foreign Policy feature on “China’s Fox News” and Global Times’ response, via CDT.