MOS Education Team – Hobbits

Last December, VICE Media’s reporter Isobel Yeung did a so-called “interview” with famous anti-CCP leader Guo Wengui, also known as Miles Guo. 

The whole interview lasted about an hour and a half, but the video publicly broadcast by VICE Media is only about five minutes. Surprisingly, the 5-minute video, which has been heavily cut, is intermixed with many clips not from this interview, while many of the interviewee’s responses are left out. This is immediately concerning, yet there are even more serious problems with the video. Let’s review this “interview” video. For convenience, we will refer to the unedited original video provided by Miles Guo as “video A”, and the edited video broadcast by VICE Media as “video B.” Similarly, we call Miles Guo (Guo Wengui), “A”, and the interviewer, “B”, in the excerpted transcripts.

The first 15 seconds of video B consist of an introduction which contains biased labels and makes prejudicial conclusions:

“This is Guo Wengui. Guo is a self-proclaimed dissident from China, and he’s inspired a massive cult of personality.”

These two prejudicial sentences are voiced over scenes which suggest the interviewee is extravagant and arrogant. However, the first 90 seconds of video A show an interviewee who is modest and respects others, justice, and law, and despises power and money.

The interviewers have the right to carry out appropriate artistic processing on their works. Still, such processing cannot violate the basic principles of professional ethics.

According to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics (“the Code”, https://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp), interviewers must abide by the following four fundamental ethical principles: accuracy, fairness, thoroughness, and acting with integrity. The Code also provides detailed prescriptions for the application of these four principles, such as: 

  • “Take responsibility for the accuracy of [your] work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible,” and, 
  • “Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing, or summarizing a story.” 

We can’t list the whole document, but interested readers can view it online. The critical point is that by comparing the two videos, it is easy to see that video B violates many Code provisions in just its first 15 seconds.

Video A shows the interviewee answering questions and introducing himself for about 90 seconds. Video B doesn’t include even one shot from this self-introduction, completely replacing it with a montage and the interviewer’s own prejudicial introduction of the interviewee. This clearly violates the Code’s prescription to “Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.” Meanwhile, instead of the original video, there are several other videos of unknown origin with strong hints, accompanied by two arbitrary and conclusive sentences. Can this be called “Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story”?

According to the Code, “Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.” Would the interviewee Miles Guo have the opportunity to defend and refute these two conclusive sentences thrown out in complete disregarding the interviewee’s about 90-second answer? And, what does the word “self-proclaimed” mean? If a man defeats the enemy and protects his family, people will call him a soldier. Is it necessary for him to “self-proclaim”? Miles Guo’s public remarks and actions against the CCP are numerous. Is it necessary for him to “self-proclaim”? Therefore, it is obvious that the word “self-proclaimed” hints that the “self-claim” of the interviewee may be a lie. The word has an apparent derogatory meaning.

More serious is the word “personality. ” The interviewer could have had many other options, such as “attention,” “influence,” and so on, which she didn’t use. Nor did she use the word “hero” in the live interview; instead, she used “personality” with an evil smell of crime. It is more an accusation than an interview. Imagine if this happened in court, the prosecution and the defense could have fully debated the evidence before the judge. However, after the interview, the interviewer used the word “personality,” which she didn’t use in the live interview, without the interviewee’s permission, and spread widely. It would no longer be a violation of professional ethics, it would be a crime: it would be slander against the interviewee.

In addition, many other principles of the Code are trampled on by the practices of this interviewer, including: “Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage”, “Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort”, and more.

So we can see, just at the beginning, the interviewer violated many professional ethics stipulated in the Code. In part 2 of this series, we will explore the interviewer’s ethical violations, lying, and slander in further detail. We will speed up the pace and explain as quickly and comprehensively as possible how, in fact, the interviewer’s ethical violations were intentional, because the CCP paid her to spread rumors for the CCP, to slander the Whistle-blower Movement and Miles Guo. The so-called interview was a trap, a devil’s trap.

Proofread by: Kayla
Edited and posted by: Kayla

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