Opinion

Leftist magazine runs China-critical piece after accusations of ‘pro-China’ loyalty

The Atlantic Monthly has taken a beating for its China apologetics.
Tue Mar 24, 2020 - 7:16 pm EST
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President Xi Jinping of China. Noel Celis - Pool/Getty Images

March 24, 2020 (American Thinker) — The Atlantic Monthly has taken a beating for its China apologetics. In the wake of the coronavirus — or, now, China virus — crisis, circumstantial evidence suggests it's trying to find as many creative reasons as possible to justify Chinese propaganda.

The Federalist did a ferocious takedown of The Atlantic's press apologetics and featured multiple examples from several of its most vaunted writers.

Instead of investigating or writing about China's propaganda machine working in real time as we watch the virus rapidly spread across the globe, journalists at The Atlantic are more interested in writing their own pro-China, anti-American virus hot takes. Here are the receipts.

Disputing the name "Wuhan virus" is China's first big hurdle in distancing themselves from the virus. They would much prefer "coronavirus" or the scientific name "COVID-19," despite the fact that scientists and doctors have a long-held practice of naming a new disease after a population or the site of its first major outbreak. So of course one of the easiest positions for The Atlantic to publish was: Wuhan = bad, COVID-19 = good, and for good measure, blame the name discrepancy on "conservatives" deploying "racist tropes."

It's "an extraordinarily shoddy piece of writing," sniffed Anne Applebaum on Twitter, despite the article's classic essay structure — intro, thesis, three supporting points. There was one ignorant-looking typo in it, but that's hardly enough to call it "extraordinarily shoddy." Maybe plain shoddy, but doesn't rise to even that with one typo. More likely, it sounds as though the essay stung.

Though she's still ranting on about how America is the problem and has gotten its comeuppance with the coronavirus (imagine her long face if the crisis ends earlier than projected), The Atlantic did do an about-face and ran a truly China-critical piece by one Shadi Hamid, who apparently also does columns. 

Aside from a couple of obligatory shots at President Trump, it's a terrific piece, one that outlines all the reasons the Chicoms are to blame for the coronavirus, along with a hearty defense of President Trump's insistence on calling it the "China virus." He acknowledges the reality of Chinese propaganda, describes what the key points are, and then lays out the argument that China is solely to blame in a piece one can relish. He begins bluntly with this and never backs down:

The evidence of China's deliberate cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan is a matter of public record. In suppressing information about the virus, doing little to contain it, and allowing it to spread unchecked in the crucial early days and weeks, the regime imperiled not only its own country and its own citizens but also the more than 100 nations now facing their own potentially devastating outbreaks. More perniciously, the Chinese government censored and detained those brave doctors and whistleblowers who attempted to sound the alarm and warn their fellow citizens when they understood the gravity of what was to come.

This represents a significant about-face for The Atlantic. Suddenly, it's changed its tune, coming right on the heels of the criticism of it as a de facto Chinese agent.

I am sure the NeverTrumps and Deep State–aligned Trump-haters over at the Atlantic will continue their chorus of disapproval of the U.S. president. But it's surprising indeed to see a hard finger of blame going to China from a magazine that has bent over backwards to praise and justify China. All of a sudden, this sort of piece gets in, right after the Federalist criticism? 

Something tells me they're scrambling at the Atlantic to shake the "Chinese water boy" designation.

Published with permission from the American Thinker.


  china, coronavirus, mainstream media, the atlantic

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