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CCTV FOLLIES 11.16 US IS BACKDROP, BIDEN BUT A BACKSTOP
Xi hogs the whole news cycle with 30 minutes of full-spectrum dominance -The US is but a backdrop, Biden but a backstop -Xi outshines Biden by a ten-to-one ratio of air time, images and words spoken
The evening news offers over thirty minutes of pure, unadulterated Xi, starting with Xi’s talks with Biden, followed by a ramble in the park, a hotel dinner with CEOs, and a trail-blazing review of the last two days in which China turns a new page in a new chapter of China-US relations under the leadership of Xi in the New Era. The news then moves on to other Xi stories, such as his latest publication, his latest letters and remonstrances, but that’s past the half-hour mark when the news usually ends.
The Xi-spectacular opens with a view of a forlorn-looking President Biden patiently and penitently awaiting the arrival of the illustrious one at the Filoli guest house in Woodside, California.
And then from the east, the Red Flag limo breaks from its long motorcade and pulls up to the front door…
…where it almost runs over the marine guard who ceremoniously stands at attention at the top of the red carpet. A sharp last-minute turn does not stop the tires from running on a collision course with the marine guard. Unflinching during the near miss, the guard graciously steps back while maintaining his posture of full salute to accommodate the reckless driver (and to avoid a broken leg)
(Not on CCTV news)
Biden awaits anxiously as Xi’s driver straightens out the car.
It’s probably just a chance gesture, (or maybe Biden’s looking at his feet since the car swiped rather close to him, too) but CCTV likes shots in which the other leader appears to show great deference to Xi Jinping and it knows how to get them.
The camera unwittingly cooperates with the editor’s desire to make Xi look more solid and substantial than Biden.
The next two shots conclude the arrival segment on the evening news.
The following shot, posted on X by CCTV+, did not make the cut for Xinwen Lianbo. Biden’s courtly behavior escorting Xi inside could be misconstrued as a power move.
Back to the evening news…
The protocol here is identical to that practiced in the Great Hall. Xi benevolently presides, looking on aloofly while his “guest” greets the Chinese diplomatic line.
But it’s during the televised remarks that Xi’s natural dominance and volubility come into play. Xi gets the first word, the last word and almost every other word in between.
CCTV airs a total of twenty Biden reaction shots to over two dozen shots of Xi pontificating. Biden is uniformly shown to be attentive, sometimes nodding in agreement, sometimes taking notes.
The sage master instructs…
The avuncular pupil takes notes…while a worried Secretary of State is deep in thought.
“Xi Jinping pointed out that mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation are the lessons learned from 50 years of China-U.S. relations and the conflicts between major countries in history, which should be the direction of joint efforts between the two countries…”
Every word is like a drop of elixir…
“Noting that the world today is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, Xi said there are two options for China and the United States -- one is to enhance solidarity and cooperation, join hands to meet global challenges and promote global security and prosperity; and the other is to cling to the zero-sum mentality, provoke rivalry and confrontation, and drive the world toward turmoil and division.”
Kerry, Raimondo and Blinken are dazzled and frazzled but listen attentively.
Don’t let the folksy charm fool you. Xi’s easy machismo dominates the room as usual
The hypnotic charm of Xi’s loquaciousness seems to put listeners in a trance.
When Joe Biden finally speaks, CCTV gives him a fraction of the time, and a good deal of that truncated air time is wasted on Biden expressing a ritual words of welcome to Xi Jinping.
The editors in Beijing could not find it within their bandwidth to post more than a single reaction shot from Xi as Biden spoke, but it was repeated once, so make it two.
The CCTV voice-over gives the impression that Biden has agreed to agree with China’s principled demands and reiterates that Biden is in total agreement with China on Taiwan, most especially, but also other issues.
A rare reaction shot of Xi bemusedly humoring Biden as Biden goes through the steps of voicing the usual Xi-pleasing blandishments of friendship.
Even during their walk in the park, without interpreters and any means of actual communication, Xi seems to be doing the talking.
The Xinhua text accompanying the Filoli walkabout goes as follows:
“China and the United States should manage disagreements effectively, Xi noted. Disagreements should not be a chasm that keeps the two countries apart, Xi stressed, adding that instead, the two sides should look for ways to build bridges to help them walk toward each other.”
…though here, at least, Biden gets a rare one up on Xi by playing to the unseen cameras that record their “solitary” walk.
The CCTV narration makes a big point of showing the incredible respect accorded to Xi with the US president seeing off at the very door of the car.
Their conversation, not aired on CCTV, goes something like this.
“It’s a Red Flag limo, made in China,” Xi says.
“As for the Cadillac over there, they ship it around for me to ride in,” Biden quips. “We call it ‘the beast.”
Xi’s driver exercised great caution as the limo slowly withdrew from the guest house and nobody was hurt, though the car might have left some faint tire tracks on the red carpet.
Xi meets American CEOs who paid $40,000 a table for the “privilege” of a group audience in a nondescript function hall at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
(The local Rotary Club meeting was probably cancelled to make room for the event)
When Xi takes the stage, the applause, at least as creatively edited by CCTV, is long and sustained.
It’s such a historic moment!
The applause eventually dies down and Xi begins to pontificate, tossing up a word salad full of the usual banalities. Lots of repetitive cadences, fortune-cookie wisdom and stern truisms about China, the US, history and the planet Earth.
"It is the convergence of many streams of goodwill and friendship that has created a strong current surging across the vast Pacific Ocean”
Xi’s pancake make-up, visible even during the day time meet with Biden, was really laid on thick for this speech. His lipstick color also needs adjustment.
Must be something in those American lights that doesn’t show him in the best light.
Most of the news is voiced-over but we get to hear Xi speaking briefly at the CEO meeting. He manages to make even a simple phrase like “meiguo pengyou” (American friend) sound at once sonorous yet ominous.
The world’s cameras focus on Xi from the back of the hotel function hall.
The audience listens politely, after all they paid through the nose to hear him speak, but the Americans lack the stiff-backed reverence that Chinese citizens show in the presence of their leader.
“Xi extended a warm invitation to the American people, expressing his welcome for more U.S. governors, Congressional members, and people from diverse backgrounds to visit China.”
I like this shot, though I’m not sure why it made it on the news. Raimondo’s gaze is curious, the lighting is painterly, but the cameraman was probably more interested in focusing on someone actually taking notes as Xi spoke.
Still, it’s the US. You’d never see such unregulated behavior at a Xi speech in China.
“The two choices point to two different directions that will decide the future of humanity and Planet Earth, Xi said, adding that the China-U.S. relationship, which is the world's most important bilateral relationship, should be perceived and envisioned in this broad context.”
The speech closes with a smattering of applause, which is then elevated and sustained by professional claquers planted in the audience who rouse the drowsy diners to their feet for a sustained standing ovation!
$2000 gets you a plate, $40,000 gets a handshake.
For most of the amoral magnates of business and industry, most especially Elon Musk, that’s chump change if it lets you get to meet with a real champ.
Xi graciously chatted with several guests at no extra cost, just out of friendship.
He has so much wisdom to share, and such an emphatic way of sharing it.
When Xi expounds, America listens with rapt attention.
Well, Americans being Americans, you can’t expect 100% compliance, but you get the drift; almost everyone is impressed and on the same page.
Just when you feel like you’re beginning to overdose on Xi (it’s strong dope) CCTV decides that twenty minutes devoted to one man is not nearly enough so it stretches it to 30 minutes with a long-winded paean to China-US relations in the Xi era with input from the wily Wang Yi and lots of repeat pictures of Xi’s SF reception to date.
“This is an important summit to increase trust and dispel doubts, manage differences and expand cooperation between China and the United States, and it is also an important meeting to inject certainty into and enhance stability of a volatile and changing world, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi while briefing the media after the meeting.”
As usual, Xinhua is adept at capturing the essence of Xi Thought:
“As his visit to San Francisco reached its crescendo on Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping reminisced twice in a single day about his inaugural visit to the United States in 1985. Amid the recent downturn in China-U.S. relations, the Chinese leader has been pondering: How to steer the giant ship of China-U.S. relations clear of hidden rocks and shoals, navigate it through storms and waves without getting disoriented, losing speed or even having a collision? In the process of seeking an answer, Xi’s experiences from 38 years ago once again provided him with enlightenment!”
The ratio of flags in the photo below neatly characterizes CCTV’s heavy-handed coverage of the summit meeting between Biden and Xi.
In video shots, Xi dominated the footage of the “bilateral” talks by a ten-to-one ratio.
Ten to one also roughly corresponds to the fake news/real news ratio.
By now, you’ve probably had enough Xi for one day, right? Tighten your seat belt, or better yet, run for the nearest exit.
There are several more Xi stories yet to come!
The news is veering into overtime, so what’s a better use of viewer’s time than flouting Xi’s latest publication? His copyright royalties must be going through the roof since he pens several articles and books every month and they all get free advertising on his favorite TV station, of which he happens to enjoy consumate control.
Bearing that in mind, I think I’ll close it here, lest I inadvertently propagate even more propaganda.