Tuesday, April 30

The Return of the Red Menace

More evidence today that the New York Sun is developing a distinctive voice and, in the process, giving readers a real alternative to the product being peddled by the Old Gray Lady. This morning's Sun has resurrected the venerable political epithet "Red China," wielding it proudly in the lead headline on its front page no less--"Bloomberg Meets With Leader of Red China." And the headline is no aberration. The body of the story refers to Hu Jintao as a "Red Chinese leader" and the photo accompanying the story is captioned "GREETING A DICTATOR: Mayor Bloomberg met yesterday with the vice president of Communist China." In case the message was not made strongly enough on the front page, in an unrelated story headline on page 2, North Korea is also referred to as "Red Korea" ("Red Korea Invites US Envoy"). It is good to see at least one New York paper giving the story prominent coverage and declining to sugar-coat the truth.

The story's presence on the front page of the Sun is also significant for a more subtle reason. Making good on its promise to focus on New York stories in order to fill the void created by the New York Times's increasing concern with becoming a national newspaper at the expense of local coverage, the Sun gives this story the prominence it deserves. In contrast with the Times, which does not even mention the high profile meeting on its front page, the Sun reports that Mayor Bloomberg broke with Giuliani's policy of refusing to meet with Chinese government officials when he met with Chinese vice president Hu Jintao yesterday. However, in a press conference following the meeting, Mayor Bloomberg acknowledged the reality that Taiwan and China are two separate countries--a reality that it is usually American policy to avoid mentioning for fear of offending the Chinese communist party, which maintains a strict One-China policy under which Taiwan is regarded a renegade province. His aides later cautioned listeners not to read too much into the Mayor's declaration that he "would certainly meet visitors from either country [i.e. China and Taiwan]," but, off the record, a senior Senate Republican foreign affairs staffer endorsed Bloomberg's position, saying "[his] remarks represent the basic good instincts of the American people."

No link, as usual. This is the NY Sun--don't you have a subscription yet?