Authoritarian regimes dream through propaganda and so, to see what they're fantasizing about, we regularly check in on what state-controlled media outlets have been churning out
China: We must learn from Jay Gatsby
Chinese state-run news outlets often publish articles that chronicle America's decline and explore what a rising China can learn from it. A case in point is a Global Times column yesterday that explained how Americans assumed too much debt during the economic booms that preceded the 1929 stock market crash and the 2008 financial crisis. The lesson? "The growing Chinese middle class must not excessively borrow money," writes the author, a student at the Hong Kong International School. Chinese people, the author adds, can learn a lot from that famous tale of American overindulgence, The Great Gatsby:
American literature also warns that people should not reach too far. In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, the main character, bootlegger Jay Gatsby desires everything. He wants it all from personal wealth to cars, and from mansions to the girl he loved and lost. Gatsby's goals change from reality to fantasy, and he forgets that certain things cannot be bought. As a result, when he dies, no one comes to his funeral.
Will the U.S. suffer Gatsby's fate? The author doesn't go there, at least not explicitly.
Yemen: Violence, What Violence?
While Syria's state-run news agency has covered violent clashes in the country rather rigorously but blamed them on "armed gangs" rather than brutal security forces, the Yemen News Agency (SABA) has taken a different tack: pretend the unrest isn't happening. Earlier this month we noted how SABA covered small pro-government rallies but somehow overlooked the million anti-government protesters who took to the streets one Friday. Today, as army defectors and protesters clash with government troops in Yemen's worst violence since March, SABA is covering President Ali Abdullah Saleh's sit-down with Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah (one article yesterday did mention "militias" attacking "anti-riot forces" and throwing "molotov bombs"). Just compare SABA's homepage right now to Al Jazeera's: