Study the picture below for as long as you like, before answering two reading-comprehension questions after the jump. It shows two papers that arrived on the same day here in Shanghai. The one at the top is the state-controlled China Daily. The one at the bottom is the Asian edition of the not-yet-Murdoch-controlled Wall Street Journal.


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Now, the quiz:

1) Which of the contradictory headlines do you find more credible: "Foreign media enjoy greater access," from China Daily; or "Foreign media say freedoms still lack," from the WSJ?


2) Extra-credit bonus question: What are the odds that stories like the two shown in the WSJ -- the one on the right, by Mei Fong, about complaints from foreign journalists, the one on the left, by the Washington Post's Edward Cody, about how the Chinese government suppressed coverage of a huge explosion in a mining town -- will be in the paper two years from now? Additional credit for answering the question in this way: in the future, how will readers tell the difference between China Daily and the WSJ?


Homework suggestion: If you wonder why #2 is an issue, do refresher work with, for instance, this recent Jack Shafer column in Slate or this long Atlantic profile of Murdoch four years ago, by me.

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