Will China Ever Purchase a U.S. Media Company?

Following high-profile sales of The Washington Post, Boston Globe and Newsweek, Isaac Stone Fish asks whether prospects for a major Chinese media acquisition in the U.S. have improved since rumors of a Southern Media Group bid for Newsweek three years ago. From Foreign Policy

[…] One of the major ways in which China has tried to increase its soft power is by spending billions of dollars bankrolling its media companies’ global expansion. Xinhua, China’s state newswire, often gives free dispatches to “financially struggling news media outlets in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia,” according to the New York Times. China Central Television, the country’s main state broadcaster, has set up a U.S. division and hired dozens of people away from respected Western news outlets. A 2011 article in the Guardian reported that Beijing was distributing 2.5 million copies of a supplement of China Daily, the country’s best-known English-language newspaper, in the Washington Post, New York Times, and Daily Telegraph.

So will a Chinese company bid for the next media company to hit the block? I think it’s still very unlikely. The perception in the United States — that a Chinese media takeover would turn the publication in question into a propaganda mouthpiece — makes a sale difficult. I imagine the Onion’s 2009 series, in which the satirical newspaper pretended to be purchased by a Chinese fish company, still rings true for Americans: The Onion’s “publisher emeritus,” T. Herman Zweibel, announced he had been paid “an appropriately absurd parcel of riches,” and ran stories like “Nothing At All Happens To 28 Tibetan Protesters, Their Families” and “China Strong.” [Source]


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