Say, does anyone remember the credulous media reports on Saddam Hussein’s normal margins of victory in Iraqi “elections”? They’re back, baby. CNBC helpfully informed its readers and viewers that the governments that took the top three slots in a global survey of citizen approval on the COVID-19 outbreak were, uh … two communist regimes and a totalitarian emirate.
And guess which communist regime came out on top? Yes, the one that just got done disappearing anyone who dared to criticize it:
Citizens from just seven out of 23 countries rate their governments’ coronavirus containment measures as broadly positive, based on the “Global Crisis Perceptions” index released Wednesday by insights agencies Blackbox Research and Toluna.
The research, which surveyed approximately 12,500 people across 23 countries between April 3 and 19, asked respondents to rate their nations across four key indicators: national political leadership, corporate leadership, community and media.
China, where the virus is thought to have originated, ranked highest in the citizens’ survey, with a score of 85 out of 100. The world’s second-largest economy was followed by Vietnam (77), the United Arab Emirates (59) and India (59), in a list which saw Asian countries take the top spots.
Come on, man. No US media outlet could be this dense when discussing approval ratings in oppressive regimes, could they? The amazing part of this is how China managed to score as low as it did. They’re at least thirteen points shy of the Saddam standard. Vietnam may not be as oppressive as China, but it’s also a controlling communist regime, with not much patience for dissent and criticism. The UAE might be friendlier to the US, but it’s far from being free, and dissent is punished, harshly at times. And for that matter, at #5, Malaysia has its own issues on dissent, specifically on COVID-19.
That’s not to boost the US’ approval rating, which is middling at best even after removing the oppressive regimes and their propaganda-driven outcomes from the list. (Interestingly, Iran only scores a 36, however.) Americans and Germans have the same level of approval for their governments, with Brits being slightly more disapproving and Australians slightly more sunny about their government’s response. Part of these results reflect the fact that we’re still in the middle of massive disruptions, which tend to make people much less inclined to be satisfied.
It didn’t take long for social media to dunk on CNBC for this credulous take, Mediaite noticed. Charlie Nash did a Twitter round-up of some of the more stinging rebukes:
And you should see the results from the last Chinese election! Absolute landslide. https://t.co/HHxMRIx0SD
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) May 7, 2020
This funny thing happens when you run a country so brutally that citizens know that criticizing their government can result in their disappearance.
But, please, media, continue with your very serious news report. https://t.co/FQBiKnELQX
— Jason Howerton (@jason_howerton) May 7, 2020
I wonder if news organizations with parent companies investing in China run a certain number of these pieces just so that when Beijing complains to the parent companies, they can argue that they “show both sides." https://t.co/cH5ynrdPw1
— Jim Geraghty (@jimgeraghty) May 7, 2020
This once again highlights a depressing trend of credulous treatment among American media outlets of China’s propaganda and cooked data. I’m just wondering if their own approval ratings of Beijing outstrip even these numbers.