Sunday, April 20, 2008

CNN versus China

China has taken offense at some recent remarks by CNN commentator Jack Cafferty. In case you've never caught Cafferty's act, he's CNN's resident cranky older uncle who rails for a few minutes each day on a particular topic – politics, entertainment, world events – its all fair game for Jack. A few days ago his target was China. In his monologue, Cafferty called China's leaders "thugs" and their products "junk." Cafferty's whole quote on Chinese made products was:

"We continue to import their junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food and export, you know, jobs to places where you can pay workers a dollar a month to turn out the stuff that we're buying from Wal-Mart."

On Sunday a few thousand Chinese-Americans protested outside of CNN's Los Angeles offices, demanding Cafferty's firing for his China remarks; the Chinese government also rebuffed an apology from CNN since they felt it was insincere.

Frankly though, I have to ask why did CNN apologize in the first place? Cafferty's shtick is playing the grumpy old man railing against the world, something that is bound to offend someone at sometime. CNN knows that, that’s why they hired him, so why issue an apology for something that you are setting up to happen in the first place?

As for his comments on Chinese-made products, I say Cafferty is right on. Over the past year I've bought several Chinese-made products that turned out to indeed be “junk.” This included a fan that stopped working after about a month and a hand saw that literally fell apart in my hands after about 20 minutes of use. My most recent misadventure from China was a garden hose I bought a few days ago, it started leaking as soon as I connected it, so at least this time I didn't have to wait for it to break.

I find it really hard to believe that I have had particularly bad luck with Chinese-made products. No, I think its more likely that China is trying to crank out as much product as quickly as possible to fuel their economic boom so they don't have time for things like quality control.

Of course that was the point Jack Cafferty was trying to make.
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