Every Friday, we excerpt some of the most insightful, articulate, interesting, and entertaining comments we receive each week. Think we’ve missed something? Well…comment!
China’s Currency Problem
On Wednesday, Ryan Chittum praised Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf for writing about China’s habit of manipulating the exchange rate of its currency—and why that maneuver was one of the things that led to the credit crisis.
“After Paulson hit hard on this issue (with no result) the Obama admin seems to be letting it slide. Perhaps things could be happening behind closed doors?
“China is in a bind. It’s export industry is already devastated, and revaluing might destroy the rest of it. It doesn’t want to reward speculators. And much of the rationale for a non-convertible currency was born during the 1997 Asian crisis, which China alone sailed through unscathed thanks to its fixed currency.
“More than anything, China wants stability. The bureaucrat that recommends a revaluation would be betting his career and possibly his life on its outcome.”
“Letting it slide? Geithner has pressed this issue hard, and Obama personally pushed Wen and Hu to address the exchange rate. Their problem is that they are reluctant to use any sort of trade club to force a decision through China decision by consensus system.
“There is another view on China’s self-proclaimed role in the Asian financial crisis. In fact, Indians and others believe, China provoked the crisis by its massive devaluation of the RMB in 1994. That left many in SE Asia unable to compete with Chinese producers, and it all cam tumbling down in 1997-8.
“The Chinese obsession with “stability” is , as JLD says, at the heart of the political problem. However, if they hold on to the undervalued RMB, crash the dollar and choke off their export markets in teh US and elsewhere, they will have exactly what they want to avoid — angry Chinese in the street protesting the failure of Chinese policy. They will try to blame that on the US, but Beijing will deserve most of the blame. They can be a short-sighted lot.”
Editor & Publisher’s Sudden End
On Thursday, the mediasphere was surprised to learn that the trade magazine Editor & Publisher, recently acquired by a company called 5 Global Media, would shut down at the end of the year. CJR’s Greg Marx talked to E&P editor Greg Mitchell soon after the news broke, and the resulting interview drew a variety of commenter reactions.
“Sad news, indeed. I’ve been reading E&P since I was a high school journalist some 45 years ago, and subscribing since I graduated from college.”
“E & P stood up for the First Amendment - except when its editors opposed the point of view expressed - I’m thinking of Judith Miller’s term in jail. If E & P was bothered by that, they sure hid it well. Mr. Mitchell also was an enthusiastic supporter of the witch hunt for the ‘leaker’ of Valerie Plame’s not-very-secret employer. NY Times stories outing people involved in interrogations of Al Quaeda members, by contrast, were given sympathetic treatment. I guess it just depends.
“Probably these were symptoms of decline, rather than the cause of it; capture of a news organization professing to be non-partisan by zealous seems to be a signal of declining future fortunes. E & P almost never challenged the prevailing urban orthodoxies of the mainstream media, and it frequently highlighted minor stories in order to push a political agenda. Mr. Mitchell wasn’t shy about giving big play to stories that allowed him to promote his own books, either.
“To all left-leaning E & P defenders, please skip the name-calling and cite me some real evidence of my mistaken impression that Mitchell pushed a left-wing agenda. E & P did run a piece giving credence to the reality of the Matthew Shepard case - that Shepard was killed over a drug deal gone wrong, not because he was gay, as the mythmakers have it - but that’s all I can remember. The rest has been utterly predictable.”
Please, No Scrubs
Last Friday, Craig Silverman reported on some new research which found that no commonly accepted standard exists for updating and maintaining news organizations’ online archives. But commenters had a lot to say on the ultimate value of “overly fussy” corrections policies.
“Actually, I’m all in favor of quick, low-fuss scrubbing of stories that mangle a fact or two. It’s a simple way to improve the accuracy of Web archives. On routine stories, media organizations aren’t really much different from contractors putting in tile floors … or teachers grading exams … or check-out clerks ringing up the price of groceries.