The Wall Street Journal’s China staff is urging the newspaper to apologize for a headline that prompted the Chinese government to expel three of its journalists last week.
The email from the Journal’s China bureau to the top officers of the paper’s parent companies, in effect, sides with the Chinese, who have demanded an apology and retaliated with the expulsions last week.
The headline in question — “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia” — appeared on an opinion column written by academic and foreign affairs specialist Walter Russell Mead in the Journal on Feb. 3. The column was a commentary on the health of China’s financial markets, rather than a reference to the coronavirus outbreak there.
Chinese officials and ordinary citizens have protested that “sick man” is a racist phrase once used by Westerners to denigrate China during and immediately after the era in which colonial powers dominated and exploited the nation.
This was egregious enough that Mr. Mead disavowed the headline to his own article:
Mr. Mead, the writer of the op-ed, suggested in a Twitter post on Feb. 8 that he was opposed to the headline, writing, “Argue with the writer about the article content, with the editors about the headlines.” He declined to comment for this article.
I don’t think that the WSJ can fix this problem, though its editorials are routinely called out as false by the front page of the WSJ.
Unfortunately, dishonest, hypocritical, and (quite frankly) insane editorials from the Journal have been baked into its DNA since well before Rupert Murdoch took over the paper
*Ironically, the Washington Post OPO/ED page is the 2nd worst editorial page among the major papers.