井底之蛙

4/14/2008

Freedom of speech in China

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 9:17 am

FreeSpeechwar

Danwei has some links on the current war over free speech in China. The whole thing was sparked by an April 3 editorial in Southern Metropolis Daily. The author, Chang Ping, was critical of some of the Chinese responses to western media coverage of Tibet. I have not read every single post at Anti-CNN, but the main issue that was making people angry was that some media outlets were publishing pictures of Tibetans being arrested in Nepal and claiming that they were pictures of what was happening in Tibet.

<>According to information compiled by netizens, certain media in countries such as Germany, United States, United Kingdom and India made clear factual errors in their reporting. From the viewpoint of journalistic professionalism, these errors were very wrong, even deliberately misleading. Although some media outlets have issued apologies and corrections, the damage from the inaccurate news was already done and the Chinese people find it hard to forgive. Like any kind of fake news, the damage is first and foremost on the public trust in the media themselves, because ten thousand truths cannot undo one lie. If in the reporting of the incident (as well as other major incidents), the Chinese media are not allowed to report freely and the overseas media are suspect, then where is the truth going to come from?

I was not too surprised by this mix-up, nor by the fact that the Western media did not make a big deal about the correction. Hey, it’s some Asian cops, who really cares if they are Chinese or not. More to the point, CNN would probably claim that the basic story (unrest in Tibet violently suppressed by Chinese security) was correct, so no harm no foul. Even the liberal Chang Ping however would not buy that. He goes from an “error” to “deliberately misleading” in just one sentence. Then it becomes “fake news” which “the Chinese people find hard to forgive.” Not quite Milton on free speech. Still, Chang Ping was to some extent criticizing Chinese nationalist criticism of the West, and this set off a firestorm, triggered in part by an editorial in Beijing Evening News

I took a look at the so-called speech of this Southern Metropolis Chang Ping. I noticed immediately that this individual had brought “free speech” to an appalling or even “terrifying” degree. The heart of the matter for which he was criticized was this: “Free speech intrinsically includes the freedom of mistaken speech and particularly the freedom to question authority. More frightening than rumors is the removal of free speech.” And he openly held this up as a universal value. According to his logic, “free speech” means that you can muddy the truth, fabricate facts, indiscriminately distort history, speak irresponsibly, “freely” rumor-monger, “freely” smear, “freely” toss about labels. Just like the western media’s hysterical performance on the issue of China’s Tıbet. Was that free speech? That was violent speech. I have never seen the western media enjoy that kind of freedom of speech in their own country, because that would be an infringement on the rights of others, and it would trample social justice and betray fundamental ethical principles.1 If this is the “universal value” that Southern Metropolis Chang Ping wants to protect, then honor is the price he pays in return.

There are lots of more temperate voices out there, but the one I found most interesting was 十年砍柴 who compares the whole thing to the Evening Chats at Yanshan incident during the Cultural Revolution. A number of his comments pick up on this theme 大家快跑,文革又来了! I actually think this is a pretty good point. One problem with the Deng years was that that it was not certain what the sacred cows of the New China were. It is not news that nationalism quickly became one of them, and that the Olympics and Tibet are currently flashpoints for Chinese nationalism. What I find interesting is how the old CR political culture is coming back. Orthodoxy as the key political value.2 Battles in the newspapers over words that can be read as anti-Mao/anti-China. Key essays that will end up in a future Modern China class. The state is not actively doing much about these cases, but what I would call New Red Guards are taking (or at least talking about) direct action. Apparently the Maoist political culture is proving to be more resilient than one would have hoped.

  1. Are Chinese media people really this ignorant of the western press or is he just lying? []
  2. You get some of this everywhere, of course. Not that I’m bitter []

22 responses to “Freedom of speech in China”

  1. J B says:

    Is it really feeling like this for regular people in China, or is this just us (ie, people who pay attention to Chinese newspapers, intellectuals and so on)? I’m not in the mainland anymore, but it does not seem to be foremost on the minds of most mainlanders I know. Not that I make a point of bringing it up with them.

  2. JZ says:

    well, just one comments, the western media was not just make some “technical” mistakes, I won’t mind that much if they used couple pictures by mistake, the big picture is they are feeding half-truth to the public since long time ago regarding Tibet.

    Whatever the Pro-Tibet camp says, it takes without any question. This is one comments you can find in a report on The Times: “demonstrators carried placards accusing China of cultural genocide in Tibet, and 154 shrouded effigies, which they said represented compatriots killed in a crackdown in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital. Chinese authorities claim that 22 people died in the riots that broke out a month ago”, what is wrong with this statement? It seems telling you both side of the story about how many people died during the riots, but wait a minute, why it did not say the 22 people killed were actually innocent people by those criminals? It gives you the false impression that both side disagreed on the number of dead, but they all agreed that they were kill by police during the crackdown. You can see this style of reporting everywhere in western media, and I personally really upset by this.

    IT IS NOT JUST SOME “TECHNICAL” MISTAKES THAT UPSET PEOPLE, IT IS THE SYSTEMATICALLY DISTORTION OF FACTS THAT MAKE PEOPLE THINK, WHY???

    Regarding the Chinese media, it never claim it is objective and fair, it is the mouth of the Party, so we all know what to expect and do not put too much trust on them anyway.

    But when the western media, who always claims they are fair and well-balanced, start to show they are actually the same as the state-own media, I can only say it is such a SHAME.

  3. Alan Baumler says:

    J.B.

    That’s a good question. I would bet it is more new junkies/intellectuals, but obviously there are a lot of those. I suspect the Internet thing makes it a little broader, but I may be assuming too large a population of chat room denizens. I suspect that the Olympics is the one thing that could make this go more mainstream.

  4. Toto says:

    Hi, I am from Paris,
    and I can tell how much the media is biased here.
    Most people here still believe that on March the 14th, hundreds of pacific monks were savagely killed by chinese army.
    Isn’t it incredible how easy it has been to manipulate the entire opinion ? This has really caught me by surprise.

    I think that more than the mistakes checked by websites like anti-cnn, what made the manipulation is that the western media completely, absolutely deliberately ignored the Tibetan violence and murder on that day. Actually there are report of violence but never they talk of ethnic pogrom, they are minimized to destroyed buildings by tibetan mob. More, I watched TV report where they show an ethnic Han being beaten on the head with a stone but nethertheless the audio comment talk about Chinese brutal repression.
    We are told that the Chinese oppression is so tough that Tibetans have no choice…

    On the other hand, the Chinese propaganda is a reality, we know it, the chinese know it. Now the Chinese propaganda is used as a counter-few. There are so much ironic reports about Chinese official coverage of the torch fiasco in Paris : “see those chinese lies”.
    They also point the chinese nationalism.

    I am sad that chinese Nationalism try to shut down voices such as Chang Ping’s, China really need free speech. Why so few chinese people calls for real report from chinese journalists in Tibet ?

  5. JZ says:

    “I was not too surprised by this mix-up, nor by the fact that the Western media did not make a big deal about the correction. Hey, it’s some Asian cops, who really cares if they are Chinese or not.”

    Well, you have just missed the point completely. It’s a systematic distortion of truth,i.e. “a Lie” and you dismissed it and think it is because the west cannot tell from Chinese from Tibetan, “just some Asian cops”.

    Why when the western media lies, it is so difficult for some people to see it? that’s really beyond me..

  6. I’ve been having similar discussions with my China students (both 20c and China-US). I’d be more sympathetic to the anti-cnn.com position if Chinese authorities weren’t making it nearly impossible to get reasonable amounts of reliable information from TAR. The unsupportable assumption by pro-Chinese commenters that official Xinhua reporting is some kind of “gold standard” — and the perfectly reasonable but incorrect assumption that CNN, like Xinhua, represents official US policy — makes it nearly impossible to rationally discuss the issue.

  7. J B says:

    Two points:
    a) Some mistakes by Western new sources, which cover a large number of countries and viewpoints, and often are as critical of their own governments, and often admit to mistakes (ever looks at a “corrections” section?) does not make them the same as CCP media, which works for the CCP and only represent that viewpoint. There’s no such thing as a perfect media source, but that doesn’t make them all the same.
    b) Many Chinese people do in fact take the CCP media as the truth, because it is the only readily available media source. Also, this is not only a problem with media- the CCP controls education and therefore shapes how Chinese people see the outside world and their own national identity.

  8. Cindy6 says:

    Having no access to real info is no excuse for fabricating stories based on press release of ppl who have an axe to grind w/ China. Besides, there were plenty of eye-witness testimonies and footages from independent travelers, available to all who are actually looking that way. The Washington Post actually did a decent job covering both the riots and the root causes. The fact that massive pro-China counter rallies in major western cities are largely ignored by the mainstream media basically just reinforce ppl’s impression of intentional misrepresentation.

    The furor is real, especially among the young and educated, those who are exposed to western media, those who would have been natural allies of liberals favoring western political setup. The anger felt by overseas Chinese is largely provoked by the media, which in turn inflame public opinion in the mainland. I think we’re witnessing a watershed event in Chinese perception of the West. In ’89, the West and its institutions were sth to be admired, now ppl are scornful.

  9. Toto says:

    Yeah, mistakes.

    Well as I wrote, mistakes are really a minor problem, like a tree hiding a forest.

    I think there is a bigger problem, we people living in a democracy, should be aware of.

    Appart the Tibet problem and Chinese obvious propaganda, the simple fact that media succeeded to convince the entire opinion about the bloody repression without any kind of elements (photos, videos, testimony) is frightening. Add to that, this opinion is global, waouh !

    It is not even about conspiracy, it is just the repetition of some unverified informations that made the media’s conviction. Unorthodox point of view exists but they are simply dismissed, labelled as chinese propaganda, so convenient.

  10. Jack says:

    @Cindy6

    “The fact that massive pro-China counter rallies in major western cities are largely ignored by the mainstream media basically just reinforce ppl’s impression of intentional misrepresentation.”

    But that’s a pretty endemic problem for media coverage, in the sense protesters are usually better organized and more enthusiastic to grab attention of the cameras, whether it be positive or negative. Honestly, the media is not going to cover a well behaved group of counter-protesters (and really in a sense that is what the Chinese supporters are) unless they themselves participate in the madness.

  11. Richard says:

    there’s two important myths which are never corrected. One is that the western media always claims to be fair and balanced. No it doesn’t. It claims to try to get at the truth and to hold governments to account (speak truth to power). Thus it feels no duty to be balanced between Chinese government lies (“Tibet has always been a much-loved and well-treated part of China”) and the truth of the oppression which it has witnessed at first hand.

    Secondly, Toto’s claim that “the western media completely, absolutely deliberately ignored the Tibetan violence and murder on that day” is not only totally untrue – every British and American newspaper I read had a report the next morning – but also quite extraordinarily untrue. In fact, the first reports of Tibetan violence and killings in Lhasa were published by western media, while all through that Friday evening, as news broke, western media gave fuller accounts than state media: Xinhua only reported the deaths mid-morning Saturday March 15, while the first TV pictures were also only released on Saturday. So let’s just repeat this, because it seems so unbelievable: The Chinese state media, which at first tried to cover up Tibetan attacks on ethnic Han Chinese, now accuses western media, which revealed them, of covering them up! This is the central allegation of state media against western media in its accusations of western media bias, and it is widely believed by ordinary Chinese, even though we are told all ordinary Chinese are aware that state media lies to them.
    As I say, extraordinary when you think about it.

  12. Pop says:

    @Richard
    The fact that you state news organizations “feels no duty to be balanced between Chinese government lies … and the truth of the oppression which it has witnessed at first hand…” poignantly shows exactly what posters above have said about western media, which is that you have a prejudice against the Chinese government because you already ASSUME the Chinese government are liars and you take the word of the other side unconditionally. What evidence do you have? First hand accounts, can they be verified? How wide spread are these incidents? What sources are you using? Have you been to Tibet? IMO, if journalist are not objective, then they have a total disregard for the truth because they only accept what they themselves believe to be true.

    @Jack, while I agree, I will like to add that “Freedom movements” against a future super power Communist regime sounds sexier to people and that means $$$$. Let’s not forget that these people don’t report for free :-)

    In regards to the News coverage about the riots from what I have viewed, news outlets in the beginning basically described the 3/14 riots as protesters rioting violently against the cops, and not Tibetans attacking innocent people. Later on, news agency’s started to cover the racial attacks against Hans and Muslims but those who did usually mentioned it in passing and choose to focus on free Tibet protests and alleged claims of violence committed by the cops. So yes, I see a bias in coverage and the effects of this perception can be seen in the statements from people like Obama, Clinton and McCain when they describe the 3/14 riots as the Chinese government’s crackdown on Tibet as opposed to Tibetans attacking Hans and Muslims.

  13. […] leads Alan Baumler at Frog in a Well to ask “Are Chinese media people really this ignorant of the western press or is he just […]

  14. Toto says:

    To Richard,

    Well, I have to admit I never watch Chinese media (I don’t even understand Chinese).

    I learnt about Tibetans Violence on Saturday the 15th on a French News webzine (rue89) plubishing a French tourist’s blog. Then, I read the James miles interview transcript on CNN.

    So actually, you are right. The western media gave the info and it may be true the western media actually gave the info before the chinese media. That is true.

    Netherveless, what counts is the public perception : two weeks after most of my friends (actually all of my friends) had still never heard about Tibetan violence : all they heard about was the bloody repression illustrated with 89′ repression videos. When I told them about it, no one would believe me, saying they never heard about such killings, asking “are you pro-china ?”, as if they were saying an insult. How can you explain that ?

    I realized they have been kind of brainwashed. That is happening in Paris, France.

    My guess is, it’s the same in most Western countries. That is really is extraordinary as you say.

    Thus, I repeat “the western media completely, absolutely deliberately ignored the Tibetan violence and murder on that day”, even if it is not an absolutely true assertion as you recalled.

    Otherwise, how can you explain the vast majority of the opinion just don’t know anything but little about them ?

  15. Richard says:

    @Pop – hmmm, I scent straw man. I said balanced – ie media don’t think it is our a priori duty – the be all and end all – “always claims” – to give equal weight to both sides of the story. I didn’t say it is right for media to make assumptions, or take anything unconditionally. It should assess what it knows and what people are saying, but of course knowledge of a previous record of lies and evasions of the truth affects its assessment. As it happens I myself have been to Tibet AR and surrounding Tibetan-occupied areas on quite a number of occasions, yes. So I have seen for myself and studied the extent to which many Tibetan people feel differently from how the Chinese government thinks they ought to feel.
    You seem to miss my central point, which is that to be “objective” is not the same – and may even be contradictory to – being “balanced”. If journalists are balanced in reporting, they have an easy life – both sides are represented, and are happy, and leave them alone. But the reader has no way of telling what the reality is between or beyond those two viewpoints, which can only come from the journalist’s objective assessment.

    @Toto: I can’t speak for the French public. God help me. I know many people have the wrong impression about what happened on March 14. No doubt the media made mistakes in their judgements on that day. In fact, one mistake they made was to be “balanced”, as it happens: claims (which were true) of Tibetans attacking Chinese were balanced with claims of police shooting at Tibetans (which, it would seem, were not true). There weren’t many independent sources of information, after all.
    Of course, by that day the police had already repressively put down a number of protests that were peaceful with tear gas and more, but which still haven’t been reported by state media. That is why there is so much focus on March 14, not on the wider picture of repression.
    One thing that is absolutely clear is that if Chinese tv had released pictures of what happened on March 14 immediately, and local journalists been allowed to report properly, the world would have had a different impression of events on that day. I wonder if that lesson has sunk home yet with the Chinese government. My guess is not.
    One thing that is also clear is that March 14 is even under the most pro-PRC govt reading still a disastrous indictment of PRC govt policy. The idea that the riots prove the government right and the western media wrong in some way seems to me bizarre.
    I still don’t see how you get from the position where you say that “actually”, I am right, to the point where you decide to repeat the assertion you make which is, as you agree, not only “not absolutely true” but in fact absolutely false.

  16. Joel says:

    People in China are ignorant.
    Why? Because they don’t get to hear other sides to the story.
    Has the mainland media interviewed those who are opposed to Chinese rule?
    Does anyone on the mainland hear that viewpoint?
    Yes, officially Tibet is part of China, but not everyone agrees.
    Why were the media kept out of Tibet after the riots?
    Sure, some Western media will get it wrong, but some will get it right, and some will even agree with the government’s policy.

    Someone wrote here, “Regarding the Chinese media, it never claim it is objective and fair, it is the mouth of the Party, so we all know what to expect and do not put too much trust on them anyway”

    So it’s OK to allow them to lie, and more importantly, leave out the facts.

    Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd got a lot of coverage because he spoke Mandarin during a speech last week.

    It was reported, but the parts where he mentioned Tibet were left out.

    As I said, the people are ignorant, and until they can read comments from a wider spectrum, be they right or wrong, then they don’t really know what they are talking about.

  17. Toto says:

    To Richard,

    What is absolutely true and false. You know that there is not such things about the media, not as in mathematics, where true is absolutely true and vice versa.

    My assertion is false because, the western media did report Tibetan violence. But it is “correct” since there is no other explanation to the perception of the vast majority of the western population.

    If you want absolute truth, I can correct to “the western media completely, absolutely deliberately ignored or minimized the Tibetan violence and murder on that day compared to their reports of bloody repression based solely on exiled Tibetan governement claims”.

  18. Lama Dorje says:

    # J B (on April 14th) says:

    You said:
    a) …….. Western new sources, …….. often admit to mistakes.

    I say:
    I lived in the West for 33 years already. I am aware of editorial corrections. However, they are not very noticeable and certainly they are not the limelight. The frontpage and controversial news are what counts. Once these sort of news get read, it matters little whether there is a correction. The damage is already done, and more stories, rumours and gossips spin off from them. The corrections have very little value, my friend.

    You said:
    b) Many Chinese people do in fact take the CCP media as the truth, because it is the only readily available media source. ………. and therefore shapes how Chinese people see the outside world and their own national identity.

    I say:
    How you you know where I live? As I said, I lived and am still living in a Western country. I am widely read. Please do not tell me that CCP media is my only source and it shapes how I see the rest of the world. What hogwash rubbish you are saying? I do not read nor watch TV documentaries from CCP. How can you assume that people who dare to defy Western propaganda take CCP as their source and only source? It is an insult and very offensive to me. You guys just don’t get it, do you. Am I brainwashed? Brainwashed by who? CPP – which I do not even listen to? I actually listen to CNN,BBC,ABC and a host of other Western propaganda. The difference is I am able to discern and sieve through their garbage. I still have family, relatives and friends in Asia and I get news from REAL PEOPLE about what happened. I do not get from agitators, subversive elements, activists, opposition nuts, mobs and so forth who have terrible axes to grind and therefore spew out very distorted views.
    Western media is terribly, teribly and terribly biased and perhaps that could be a reason why developing countries do not welcome your mob. For example, my sister and her husband attended the Commonwealth Games in Malaysia many years ago during which the supporters of Anwar Ibrahim tried to stir up a demonstration using the venue of the Commonwealth Games. The Western media hates the Priminister Dr. Mohammad Mahathir and gave such a ratbag report of him always. On that occasion, the media reported a mass popular and spontaneous uprising in the country. The TV showed a good crowd yelling. But it was due to camera trick of panning the camera shot. My sister told me that at times, she was a mere 50 meters away from the demonstrators – there were only a few dozens, may 100. I checked with friends who live in Malaysia, and they had to ask me what am I asking? Where did I get my information from? Who told me? Well they don’t even know there was any big demonstrations, much less a popular uprising. They know of small demonstrations here and there – very confined. Life was just normal in the country. My step father, who is a Westerner, believed the Western media to this very day even though we tried to tell him it is not true. This is the very big and lasting effect your false reporting has. It is not only very ofensive to us, terribly so, but it has so very negative consequences. If the governments in developing countries try to correct the false reports, the situation becomes even orse – accused of manipulating the press, no freedom of the press, lies, etc. You just can not win against the Western media who have the power and wide coverage. Hence, our frustrations!!!!

    My friend, please be assured that I am not a Chinese national, I live in the West (like you) and I am not an agent of PRC or CCP, and I am not paid by them, and I have been to China only once for 2 weeks. My only contact with any Chinese official is at the Chinese embassy (to obtain a visa) and at the airport customs on landing and leaving. Hell! I have not met any member of CCP yet. Please be assured that I am not a member of any political party inside or outside of China or India.

    I just wonder whether you guys still got it yet or not. I guess, those influenced by Western propaganda will never ever understand. sigh, sigh, sigh ……

  19. Lama Dorje says:

    Joel (on April 16th) said:
    People in China are ignorant.
    Why? Because they don’t get to hear other sides to the story.
    Has the mainland media interviewed those who are opposed to Chinese rule?

    My comment:
    You really look down on the Chinese people, don’t you.
    Are you aware that it is the ordinary Americans who are so ignorant of other countries – in spite of ‘much education’, they know very little of foreign countries, foreign cultures, foreign governments, or even foreign geography! You really admire such people and look down on Chinese people? eh? How do I know the Americans are very ignorant of anything outside of America? I WORKED FOR AN AMERICAN COMPANY FOR 13 YEARS!!!!! My friend Joel, do you have such experience with them? My colleagues used to joke about the Americans. Nice folks, but doo not talk to them about anything outside their country. :):):)

    Next, I wish to address your punitive statement “Why? Because they don’t get to hear other sides to the story”.

    I get the distinct impression that you conclude that since they do not get the other side of the story (ie., they get news from their own state-controlled media only which you might claim to be censored, and therefore, they know nothing else outside of that), they are an ignorant bunch. As a result, they make the wrong conclusions about events and politics.

    Now, please! I am not a Chinese national. I do not live in China. I am an Asian who has lived in the West for 33 years. I have a Western education too. I have worked in the West all my working live. I still live in the West. I HAVE ACCESS TO WHATEVER SOURCES OF INFORMATION ANY WESTERNER HAS. Nevertheless, I reach the same conclusions as your poor ‘ignorant’ Chinese people. I think you have a superiority complex Joel!

    Furthermore, I have studied Tibetan history and religion for more than 30 years. If you want to discuss and prove this, please give me a private email address to continue the discussion. I am quite versed in Tibetan affairs and I have written many articles on Tibetan affairs and Tibetan Buddhism. I have taken teachings from all the major 4 sects and sub-sects, including the Bonpo. I have reached the same conclusions as your poor ‘uneducated’ Chinese people. Am I that ignorant and uneducated too, Joel?

    Joel, I do get to hear the other side other story. Plenty! It did not make any difference. Therefore, the basis of your assertion is erroneous.

    Next, I wish to point out that many of your ‘ignorant’ Chinese have access to the internet. I believe you are also referring to them. Many also engaged in clandestine activities in the internet. They are not as ignorant as you think. Some may be more knowledgeable than me!

    Tashi delek, Joel! (Tashi delek is the common Tibetan greeting)
    Lama Dorje

  20. du yisa says:

    In the second comment to this post, JZ wrote:

    “Whatever the Pro-Tibet camp says, it [western media] takes without any question. This is one comments you can find in a report on The Times: ‘demonstrators carried placards accusing China of cultural genocide in Tibet, and 154 shrouded effigies, which they said represented compatriots killed in a crackdown in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital. Chinese authorities claim that 22 people died in the riots that broke out a month ago’, what is wrong with this statement? It seems telling you both side of the story about how many people died during the riots, but wait a minute, why it did not say the 22 people killed were actually innocent people by those criminals? It gives you the false impression that both side disagreed on the number of dead, but they all agreed that they were kill by police during the crackdown.

    No it doesn’t. It stated that Chinese authorities claimed 22 people ‘died in the riots’, not that they were “kill [sic] by police”. Moreover, it provides no information whatsoever to indicate that “Both side [sic] disagreed on the number of dead”, simply that they were talking about two different groups of deaths – one due to a ‘crackdown’, the other due to ‘the riots’.

    There is nothing wrong with the statement above. Your interpretation is faulty.

    There are ample and unambiguous examples of biased and erroneous reporting regarding the ongoing events related to Tibet. Your reading of this particular excerpt is as inaccurate as your generalization regarding “western media”. Some reports do reflect laziness and bias. Many don’t, including the excerpt above. I suggest that far greater care was taken to write and edit it than you took to read it.

    Cheers

  21. Gaku Ishimaru says:

    Dalai Lama accused of provoking religious conflict May 10, 2006
    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-05/10/content_4557511.htm

    China demands redress for Dalai Lama honor (CNN)
    http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/10/18/dalai.lama/index.html?iref=newssearch

    Compare these.
    I hope you’ll find how CNN is neutral unlike Xinhua if you have a little bit of logical thinking.
    I know you Chinese guys are sadly full of bias, though.
    Anyway, I’m a Japanese guy from a free country I enjoy.

  22. Ray says:

    What a sad debate! Reminds me of talkback radio….

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