China is Here…and There
China, being a “communist” state does not have an independent news media. Instead, they are still following the old Soviet model of having one official news agency, namely Xinhua.
As one might expect, Xinhua is biased heavily in favor of the Chinese government and follows the official line in all things. However, on matters on which the Chinese government has no official position, Xinhua seems to be capable of providing decent coverage.
What is perhaps most interesting is that China is pushing Xinhua as an export and offers its news services to countries at a significant discount. As such, it does have a certain appeal to nations that want such a service but are lacking in funds. Of course, they also have to accept they are buying China’s official line in regards to the news.
For folks who are concerned with objective (as far as it is possible) news, Xinhua only has minimal appeal. It can be useful as a means of seeing the official position of the Chinese government and can provide sort of a counter weight against news agencies that are weighted the other way (thus giving a possible glimpse at the middle by factoring in the “gravitational pull” of each bias). However, to folks who like their news biased, this will be a fine choice. As Fox News (and to a far lesser extent MSNBC) shows, there is certainly a market for “news” that makes no bones about having a definite slant and political agenda.
However, I suspect that Xinhua will need to move away from being a mouthpiece of the state if it is ever going to be a truly reputable news agency. Then again, if the foes of the media are right, perhaps there are no reputable news agencies at all and thus Xinhua just provides yet another bias to pick from (left, right, etc.).