No Apology Appropriate, But Some Education in Economics Would Be a Good Idea

China demands apology from Cafferty

CNN should not apologize to a foreign state, but they ought to be embarrassed at having commentators who are as deeply ignorant of economics and of international trade accounting and finance as Jack Cafferty and Lou Dobbs.

FOLLOWUP NOTE: The nastiness of some of the comments that this short post generated tells us at least two important things: 1. Nationalism is ugly and dangerous, regardless of what flavor it is, whether “American,” “Chinese,” or something else; 2. People who live with a state-controlled media may have difficulty in understanding that one ignorant person saying one ignorant thing on one television network show does not mean that all Americans are ignorant or that the ignorant remark reflects the views of the American “nation” or of the American government.

FURTHER UPDATE: Upon further reflection (and after reading the comment by Liu), I wish to clarify my posting. I meant that CNN should not apologize to a state, either the US government or any other, for offensive or ignorant remarks by one of its commentators. But I do think that Mr. Cafferty should apologize for characterizing “China” as a “bunch of goons and thugs.” I gather that he did apologize for that terrible mischaracterization. It was nasty, ignorant, and inappropriate. In addition, his understanding of the nature of trade is deficient, to say the least.

91 Responses to “No Apology Appropriate, But Some Education in Economics Would Be a Good Idea”

  1. Anonymous

    CNN followers, if you go to China and have a real understanding about the contemporary China, you guys would feel ashamed of what you said. We Chinese respect your culture, pls be kind and generous to respect ours!

  2. I don’t think it a good idea to have Chinese government stepping in. The idea of free speech in US is GOVERNMENT SHOULDNâ??T interfere with freedom of speech, press, and assembly, as long as they are peaceful. Now CNN can easily make itself a martyr to defend communism Chinese governmentâ??s stifening, which will be quite popular amongst western people and media.

    Since there are already so many Chinese people individuals (close to 50,000 yesterday on the petition website yesterday afternoon) signing up to express their concerns out of free will, it should bring CNN certain pressure already. What we need to do next is, as long as Cafferty is still on air, we should write to the companies sponsoring his show one by one, telling them to take off the commercials and weâ??ll post the list of his advertisers periodically in every Chinese forum.

  3. Tom Cheng

    Jack Cafferty should have told the truth: All Tibetan Chinese who are supporters of the Dalai Lama have basically behaved as goons, terrorists and foreign agents in the past 50 years.

    He is certainly entitled to his opinion that all China-made products are “junk.” I just want to remind him that these products are made to order for the greedy American companies and profiteers.

  4. Dear Americans(Especially Jack Cafferty ),
    I am very dispointed with your infantility, stupidity,all of you guys don’t know what’s going on in China, Have you ever been in China, I suppose not. Then I will invite all of you come to China, to see the real China,then you will know you’ve been deceived by your media and newspapers for so many years, and you will know how stupid you were.
    Welcome to China!

  5. Dear Americans(Especially Jack Cafferty ),
    I am very dispointed with your infantility, stupidity,all of you guys don’t know what’s going on in China, Have you ever been in China, I suppose not. Then I will invite all of you come to China, to see the real China,then you will know you’ve been deceived by your media and newspapers for so many years, and you will know how stupid you were.
    Welcome to China!

  6. Jack Cafferty

    I would like to say something about your comments on China.

    About products from China, do you really know how much control Chinese have on the production process? For a start, it designed by your fancy people, which cause most of the problems. Then your fancy people use a contractor which is often from a developed country, and they control the materials used in the production. Plus the materials are more likely controlled by another contractor. Your fancy people have quality control persons over the whole process. Although they are made in China, how much control would you recommend for the Chinese?

    If you are really concerned about the pay for those workers, you probably need to look at this example: for a pair of Nike shoes that worth $100, how much would you think Nike pay for the manufacturing cost? If I tell you it is just less than $2, what would you say? The Chinese people do not like money? You are such generous on making your comments, you could ask your companies to be generous too! Next time when you enjoy the low price, try to think about this â?? actually you live on them.

    From your and the infamous CNNâ??s (in my opinion, anyway) reaction, I understand that you may think that shifting your target to the government of China could justify your comments. All I could say is that your poor perception justify yourself on everything. With your culture prejudice, you would be an absolute idiot outside your cycle. You may comment on every issue or every government you want. But must the world go in your fancy way?

    I possible give you too much for your tiny brain. And I do not expect you could see it from another perspective. But I do expect a painful and struggling mind for you in the future.


  7. A Chiinese

    A year without ” Made In China”
    The banishment was no fault of China’s. It had coated our lives with a cheerful veneer of toys, gadgets, and $10 children’s shoes. Sometimes I worried about jobs sent overseas or nasty reports about human rights abuses, but price trumped virtue at our house. We couldn’t resist what China was selling.

    But on that dark Monday last year, a creeping unease washed over me as I sat on the sofa and surveyed the gloomy wreckage of the holiday. It wasn’t until then that I noticed an irrefutable fact: China was taking over the place.

    It stared back at me from the empty screen of the television. I spied it in the pile of tennis shoes by the door. It glowed in the lights on the Christmas tree and watched me in the eyes of a doll splayed on the floor. I slipped off the couch and did a quick inventory, sorting gifts into two stacks: China and non-China. The count came to China, 25, the world, 14. Christmas, I realized, had become a holiday made by the Chinese. Suddenly I’d had enough. I wanted China out.

    Through tricks and persuasion I got my husband on board, and on Jan. 1 we launched a yearlong household embargo on Chinese imports. The idea wasn’t to punish China, which would never feel the pinprick of our protest. And we didn’t fool ourselves into thinking we’d bring back a single job to unplugged company towns in Ohio and Georgia. We pushed China out of our lives because we wanted to measure how far it had pushed in. We wanted to know what it would take in time, money, and aggravation to kick our China habit.

    We hit the first rut in the road when I discovered our son’s toes pressing against the ends of his tennis shoes. I wore myself out hunting for new ones. After two weeks I broke down and spent $60 on sneakers from Italy. I felt sick over the money; it seemed decadent for a pair of children’s shoes. I got used to the feeling. Weeks later I shelled out $60 for Texas-made shoes for our toddler daughter.

    We got hung up on lots of little things. I drove to half a dozen grocery stores in search of candles for my husband’s birthday cake, eventually settling on a box of dusty leftovers I found in the kitchen. The junk drawer has been stuck shut since January. My husband found the part to fix it at Home Depot but left it on the shelf when he spotted the telltale “Made in China.”

    Mini crises erupted when our blender and television broke down. The television sputtered back to life without intervention, but it was a long, hot summer without smoothies. We killed four mice with old-fashioned snapping traps because the catch-and-release ones we prefer are made in China. Last summer at the beach my husband wore a pair of mismatched flip-flops my mother found in her garage. He’d run out of options at the drug store.

    Navigating the toy aisle has been a wilting affair. In the spring, our 4-year-old son launched a countercampaign in support of “China things.” He’s been a good sport, but he’s weary of Danish-made Legos, the only sure bet for birthday gifts for his friends. One morning in October he fell apart during a trip to Target when he developed a sudden lust for an electric purple pumpkin.

    “It’s too long without China,” he wailed. He kept at me all day.

    The next morning I drove him back so he could use his birthday money to buy the pumpkin for himself. I kept my fingers off the bills as he passed them to the checker.

    My husband bemoans the Christmas gifts he can’t buy because they were made in China. He plans to sew sleeping bags for the children himself. He can build wooden boats and guitars, but I fear he will meet his match with thread and needle.

    “How hard can it be?” he scoffed.

    The funny thing about China’s ascent is that we, as a nation, could shut the whole thing down in a week. Jump-start a “Just Say No to Chinese Products Week,” and the empire will collapse amid the chaos of overloaded cargo ships in Long Beach harbor. I doubt we could pull it off. Americans may be famously patriotic, but look closely, and you’ll see who makes the flag magnets on their car bumpers. These days China delivers every major holiday, Fourth of July included.

    I don’t know what we will do after Dec. 31 when our family’s embargo comes to its official end. China-free living has been a hassle. I have discovered for myself that China doesn’t control every aspect of our daily lives, but if you take a close look at the underside of boxes in the toy department, I promise it will give you pause.

    Our son knows where he stands on the matter. In the bathtub one evening he told me how happy he was that “the China season” was coming soon.

    “When we can buy China things again, let’s never stop,” he said.

    After a year without China I can tell you this: You can still live without it, but it’s getting trickier and costlier by the day. And a decade from now I may not be brave enough to try it again.

    â?¢ Sara Bongiorni is a freelance writer and is working on a book about her family’s yearlong adventure in the global economy.

  8. A Chinese

    Dear Americans(Especially Jack Cafferty and Richard–sorry, Richard,just now i forgot you ),
    I am very dispointed with your infantility, stupidity,all of you guys don’t know what’s going on in China, Have you ever been in China, I suppose not. Then I will invite all of you come to China, to see the real China,then you will know you’ve been deceived by your media and newspapers for so many years, and you will know how stupid you were.
    Welcome to China!

  9. It’s perfectly ok for Mr. Cafferty to express his opinions, and it’s ok for CNN support or acquiesce his remarks. That’s what media do, making judgements.
    But hey, since when did CNN become so hypocritical and afraid to admit what it has said?
    â??CNN would like to clarify that it was not Mr. Caffertyâ??s, nor CNNâ??s, intent to cause offense to the Chinese people, and [CNN] would apologize to anyone who has interpreted the comments in this way.â? So it said.
    But in what way can â??goons and thugsâ? and â??junkâ? be interpreted as non-offensive?
    Mr. Cafferty has his rights to criticize China, but in no way can his recent remarks be interpreted as only directed to the Chinese government. And since when has Mr. Cafferty become too cowaredly to admit what he really meant?
    Hey, be a man, and stop that I-meant-something-else game!

  10. If Cafferty has a right to express his personal opinions on CNN, so does Chinese government and offended chinese people have right to ask for apology, right?

    Freedom of speech should never be an excuse to lie about truth.

  11. Richard,what’s wrong with Chinese people having a communist government?!!! If we uphold the freedom of speech, we should also support the freedom of choice,right?!! Also please try to understand the anger we feel toward the CNN and its anchor. How can one not be irritated and hurt when somebody calls you “thugs and goons” and your painstaking work efforts “junk”!! It’s nothing to do with “how the truth hurt them” idea! It’s simply the same and natural reaction you yourself might have had if you are called ‘son of a bitch”…..

  12. It seems that Jack Cafferty is a god-damned racial discriminist and Nazi extremist and an uneducated son of beach. Nobody asked you to import “Chinese poisoned food” you fuck!

  13. It seems that Jack Cafferty is a god-damned racial discriminist and Nazi extremist and an uneducated son of bitch. Nobody asked you to import “Chinese poisoned food” you fuck!

  14. Tom Cheng

    I like to hear Jack Cafferty’s comment on the perpetrators of the physical and cultural genocide of a whole continent of Native Americans.

    What would you call these invaders who committed such barbaric and heinous crimes against humanity?

    Jack, go ahead, make my day.

  15. I am a Chinese but I have to admit that China make cheap goods that may not be of superior quality. But saying that China made goods are junk is a total generalization. And for labelling Chinese as ‘goons & thugs’, that is eefing ridiculous. Don’t you forget that the chinese invented many useful items like paper, compass as well as came up with useful strategies like the Sun Tze Art of War which influenced many WESTERN MILITARY THINKING/BUSINESS MANAGEMENT. USA, your big brother days are over.

  16. Anonymous

    all Goddamned Americans are junk produced by bitches from all over the world. why havent Muslems slaughtered all you bastards in 911 attack? you all deserve another 911 !!!

    I have provided robust opinions that generate debates as cnn required .So ,Americans ,sons of bitches , start you debate!!!

  17. Anonymous

    What is wrong with cheap product?! Aren’t we living in a market economy society? Please let the market decide if cheap or expensive goods is a good or bad thing. The important point is that no product shall harm people.

  18. People who live with so-called free media environment might think everything should go in the way they want it to go. — a response to followup note.

  19. To Mr Palmer’s Followup:
    >1. Nationalism is ugly and dangerous, regardless of what flavor it is, whether â??American,â? â??Chinese,â? or something else;
    I agree. Nationalism is not good, so no one should provoke it. And if you do, you should be ready to bear the consequences.

    >2. People who live with a state-controlled media may have difficulty in understanding that…
    The western media is dirty-money-controlled. Why is it always that we have to understand you, not you should also learn to understand us? Obviously, the west logic is that “I like to eat hamburger, so you should like to eat it too. If you don’t, you have problem and I want to you to try it everyday til you like it”.
    What we know about you is much more than what you know about us. So many Chinese speak fluent English, how many westerners can reach this level in Chinese. It is clear you have difficulty in understanding us, not the other way around.

  20. Sorry, D.Z. You’re wrong. There actually is a free media in the US. I may disagree with much of what commentators say, but I don’t have the power (and I don’t want that power) to make them shut up. In China, if you say what the party doesn’t like, they put you in prison. Here, you get angry letters from listeners. You really should try to understand the difference. It’s not about “the West” vs. “the East.” They have free media in countries in Asia, too, and unfree media in some countries in “the West” (Cuba and Belarus). State-controlled media is inferior to free media, for the same reason that violence is inferior to reason.

    Your claim is also incoherent. “The western media is dirty-money-controlled.” What does that mean? Do you think that someone paid Jack Cafferty money specifically to say stupid things? I’m sure he would say them for free. And you know, in a free media people have to weigh what people say and think about the issues for themselves. We don’t expect “the party” to do our thinking for us. You shouldn’t, either.

  21. One more thing for some of the people who have written attacks above. You should think twice about nasty attacks on people who criticize Cafferty and other China-bashers. Tom is a great friend of free trade with China and very supportive of friendly relations with China. But when you attack all Americans and the very idea of free discussion, as you have, you are attacking people who want to be friends with you. That’s not very smart. Just a thought.

  22. Hey, Lee,
    When I was first caught by the title “No Apology Appropriate, But Some Education in Economics Would Be a Good Idea” and looked down the comment written by Tom, I knew Tom is standing in favor of free trade with China. Based on that, I would like to say that I agree with you that “Tom is a great friend of free trade with China and very supportive of friendly relations with China.”
    There is no use that I doubt the fact that it is a strictly state-controlled media in China.
    While I think the more important thing I should try to do is that, learn how to look at my home country, my people, and the rest of the world and its people from an objective point of view as possible as I can.
    That is why I, like hundreds of thousands of other Chinese, have paid pains-taking effort to learn English, and turned my head to West countries, as well as other parts of the world, to learn from you.
    What I really hope is that, the people-to-people contact and communication should go far beyond the boundaries of countries.
    In a foreseeable future, China will emerge neck-to-neck to USA in terms of national power and international influence. We Chinese firmly believe in that, as much as we derive our pride from our own history and tradition.
    Chinese PEOPLE love peace, and we are determined to continue to contribute to the world peace.

  23. “Many Made in China goods are much worse/cheaper/uglier/inferior than comparable goods made in other civilized countries … so, Chinese made goods are for most part cheap junk. Sorry … that is the fact.”



  24. Wow — this is even wilder that when the Fever Swamp erupts.

    The Chinese & American economies are closely intertwined, and it is simply idiotic for Americans and Chinese to be enemies. But nutty nationalists are more interested in their phony national pride, and rational discussion is beyond them, as the PRC nationalists demonstrate for us above.

    I am sitting now in a chair made in China, working at a desk made in China, wearing a watch made in China and pants made in China…all very serviceable stuff. OTOH, I want nothing to do with Chinese medical supplies, surgical materials, pharmaceuticals, etc. I make sure my dog doesn’t get food from China.

    Many sorts of Chinese goods suffer from serious quality control problems, a problem compounded by the rampant corruption that goes on there. If my Chinese-made wristwatch goes bad, it’s no problem, I get another one. But if Chinese-made surgical membranes are substandard, a patient dies (this has occurred multiple times). “Chinese goods are junk” overstates the problem, but there is a serious problem.

    Corruption compounds it. For example, it’s very common in China for contracts to be written specifying use of materials of a given quality, and then cheaper materials substituted and bribes paid to keep it quiet. Everyone in China knows this; there are popular books on the subject, it’s constantly in the news, and people see it in their daily lives.

    It ridiculous for the PRC supporters above to have fits about criticisms of Chinese goods.

    It’s even more ridiculous for PRC Chinese to want to join the modern world, and yet want to cling to the worst aspects of the Maoist system: dictatorial government, group-think, and inability to tolerate viewpoints with which they disagree.

  25. Evidence…something lacking in many of the posts above…

    On the high quality of Chinese goods:

    As the first tragic story makes clear, the Chinese themselves are victims of this. This isn’t some sort of China-bashing.

    Is corruption common? Some examples from a PRC outlet:

    And according the the PRC government, the problem is getting worse:

  26. One more point:

    Anfernee (comment on April 6) refers to the Chinese economic nuclear bomb. It’s more like a suicide bomber’s vest — neither China or the U.S. can afford to have it detonate.

    But how ironic that the People’s Bank has been the major financier of Bush’s Iraq misadventure. And how ironic that it is the citizens of the PRC who ultimately are stuck with the bill in the current U.S. economic debacle:

  27. To Liu: Just to be sure you understand, I am not bashing China. The PRC government agrees with what I have said, i.e. that there’s a growing problem with corruption and poor quality goods (in fact, the PRC government is my only source for the claim the problem is growing).

    I used to work in Beijing, I enjoyed it immensely, and hope to return there someday. I would hate to see China’s transition fail; it is important for everyone in the world, Chinese and non-Chinese alike, that the Chinese people be successful and prosperous. But they’ll fail if they maintain “business as usual.”

  28. Hi, Steele,
    I do find a point where we can cross our roads with each other, if, only if, you mean what you say.
    I’ve witnessed, heard a lot about what you said is corruption and poor-quality goods.
    Often but not always, I am more than angry, like many people around me, on reports of KILLING medicine which have led to deaths of innocent people especially children.
    Even worse, such reports were under ridiculously strict censorship by government.
    Still, I never say that “China fails me.”
    I believe in its people, who are innocent and hard-working.
    I believe in its history, with which magnet keeps its charm.
    I believe in our future, and the future is going to be a world DIFFERENT from today.
    Tomorrow is another day. I am here, my people are here, China is here.
    And the world is here, with you and anyone else who is willing to share with our pains and success.

  29. Liu, so you understand the difference between criticizing the PRC government and criticizing China. And you also see the difference between deserved criticism of China, and blanket criticism of China. Criticism of China can be perfectly legitimate.

    Now look at all the crazy postings from alleged PRC supporters here: wishes for another 911, promises that China will get even with America and be ‘no. 1 superpower,” , wishes for Cafferty’s death, statements like “all goddamned Americans are junk.” Is this better than what Cafferty said? And why such a crazy outburst on a blog run by a man who dislikes Cafferty, supports free trade, and, quite frankly, is about as friendly towards people from all countries as one can be?

    It’s scary, and makes me wonder if this isn’t the Chinese equivalent of Putin’s Nashi.

    China is joining the modern world, but mainland Chinese must learn that a part of this is tolerating criticism, regardless of the validity of the criticism.

  30. Liu, I can respect you. But I wonder about the “Chinese way of respect.” Respect means respecting individuals and their rights.

    I am very suspicious of the alleged “outrage” in the above postings, apparently expressed by what seem to be Chinese. It’s obvious that much of the alleged outrage here and elsewhere isn’t over Cafferty or anything like that — it’s retribution because people the world over are protesting the PRC’s brutal disregard for rights…rights of journalists, rights of Tibetans, and for that matter, the rights of Han Chinese.

    I don’t know whether Chinese nationalists understand this, but the public outrage around the world is genuine, not some stage managed plot by western governments. I frankly find it shameful that western governments are trying to help the PRC government stage a show that says “everything is just fine,” when it’s not.

    From my time in China and from talking with Chinese friends, I think mainland Chinese are far too quick to engage in group-think, and act almost like puppets of the state. I know firsthand that Chinese education emphasizes conformity and discourages independent thought, and I think we see too much of this in the posts above, most of which don’t make sense.

    I won’t discuss this further here, since this isn’t my forum, but in a few days will post something on my blog on the subject.

  31. Steele, It seems that there is narrow space that I can escape from agreeing with your point of view.

    By the way, what I mean by “respect” in my last posting is that, I respect your standing expressed in your last posting.

    Well, since that word has seated you down to make a new contribution on “Chinese” topic, it looks a good choice of mine.

    You brought under spotlight the weakest point of me, and all the Chinese people, though I’m not sure of “all” as I said here.

    For me now, the biggest issue is on “how to change it,” instead of “why it is like this.”

    I’m going to visit your blog.

    Before I put an end to my discussion here, I’d like to assert that, viewing from their logic of wording, some “Chinese” who were posting here are not Chinese.

  32. I agree people should be friendly towards each other.

    If someone treat me like a friend, I will do the same. If someone treat me like an enimy, I will treat hik like an enimy too. I also beleive the best way to treat a hooligan is to give him a punch rather then talk. I guess that’s why Cafferty was treated as the way he treats others.

    As a Chinese(I am a Naxi Chinese, Naxi and Tibetan are neighbors and brothers), there are some of the things that I can’t comprehend:

    >Criticism of China can be perfectly legitimate..
    Calling other people as “goons and thugs” and their work as “junk” is just a criticism? I don’t think so. Go ahead and try this criticism on your boss, peers, friends, and family, you will find how many people around you can take a criticism.

    China is accused of stealing tech, fair enough as these things do happen nowadays in China and else where of the world, and it is not right. But why then billion dollar worth of Chinese artefacts are still exhibited in many western museums? Most of these artefacts were robbed from their owners with violence, some of those people were killed because of these artefacts. These artefacts below to China and Chinese people, they should be returned.

    China is accused of not giving its people the right to vote, fair enough as it is true. But why then over the 100 years of British rule in Hong Kong, no Hongkongnese was given the right to vote for their leader? All Hong Kong governors were white and appointed by the British government. The sad and ironic part is, over the entire 100 years, no western people and country have put the “Hongkongnese people’s right to vote” on the table.

    China is accused of associated with Dar fur genocide, but China is only one of the parties that have influence. Why no one mentioned the biggest ever genocide happened and still happening in North America? Most of American Indians died out, their culture is diminished, the ones still alive are segregated in so called reservations. They are treated as 3rd class citizens. There are no good jobs, good education, good infrastructures, and good housing in these reservations. Who is going to stop this biggest genocide in the entire human history? If no one does it, they will die out “naturally”. And look at Iraq! Where is the human right of an ordinary Iraqi? More then half a million of Iraqis lost their live. people who started this war based on their lies are still living their comfortable lives. Who is going to bring Justice to them?

    Many people in the west still thinks it is the Chinese government put restrictions on its people to go abroad freely. But the fact is that there is no government restriction what so ever. The reason Chinese people can’t travel freely is because Western countries have jointly put tremendous restrictions and conditions for a Chinese to obtain a visa to enter their country. If you are to use your human right standard to measure, where is the Chinese people’s human right to travel freely? Why to some issues, the western countries are acting like there is no country boarders, and on some other issues, they are emphasizing the existence of boarders.

    >I think mainland Chinese are far too quick to engage in group-think…
    I see more group-think from those who don’t know where Tibet is, what is it’s history, what really is happening there but join the protesting group just because it is some against China.

    >but the public outrage around the world is genuine..
    Where is the “genuine” outrage over obave mentioned issues? lol…
    Why they have double standards towards above mentioned(but are not limited to) issues?

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