They Weren’t Angry Till Chairman Mao Took Away Their Twitter
President Obama left for what was to be a whirlwind tour of Asia making stops in Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea. Every major news organization sent their White House Correspondents along to file reports and keep Americans abreast of what has become the most uninteresting Presidential trip ever. Yes, The Obama went to the APEC convention. Yes, something relatively benign was reported. Yes, nobody really cared.
a myna bird was pickin at my breakfast the waitress said myna birds are “very naughty.”
Obviously, this is trip while important, wasn’t an earth shattering event. Why should it be? They are traveling with “No Drama, Obama.”
Major Garrett of Fox News has spent copious amounts of time tweeting photographs with his new Nikon D-40. I’m not gonna lie, he has taken some very nice photographs. His twitter stream is a great ad campaign for Nikon’s entry level DSLR. They should pay him.
Then, Jim Long who I believe is an NBC camera operator made an ominous tweet as they left Singapore and headed for Shanghai,
It occurs to me that I may be off the grid for a couple of days cuz of China’s Internet restrictions. You kids play nice if I disappear
And with that, it took exactly the amount of time needed to fly from Singapore to Shanghai for twitter to see just how rowdy American’s can be when you take away their freedom. By freedom I mean access to Twitter and Facebook.
When they reached Shanghai, Jim Long sent this tweet:
Wheels down Shanghai.
Moments later Major Garrett drops a weather tweet:
hello from Shanghai. pouring rain and just after midnight
Jake Tapper then sends a similar tweet:
shanghai tweet. pouring rain as we roll to the workspace –
What have we learned? If you said, “it was raining in Shanghai when they arrived.” You win a gold star. You can’t really complain about weather tweets, everybody does it and it usually has something to do with rain and or snow. People don’t like rain and snow so they show their displeasure by telling everybody about it. It is what it is.
The first grumblings of firewall issues and censorship came from Jake Tapper with this tweet:
tweeting from china despite censors BOO-YAH!
friends thought Twitter would be blocked in China but it seems working. however …
Next up Ed Henry ponders with this tweet:
now tell me why hotel “security” has two nice gentlemen waiting at elevator with earpieces when i arrive at my hotel floor?
Serious Chinese KGB types in lobby of President’s hotel. Not fan of these authoritarian-type nations. You wanna stare me down? For what?
Yes, thats right, Time’s WH Correspondent goes hard like Lil’ Wayne on his way to the clink. You’d think that would be the last of it, but no. NBC’s Chuck Todd appears to believe he’s tweeting into space here:
Welcome to China! Both Twitter and Facebook are blocked here. Will do my best to update via other methods.
For anyone who has my email address, reply to me if you see this message on Twitter and/or Facebook.
Sadly, this trip into China ended Major Garrett’s Photographic Tour of Asia. His tweets were almost enough to make you feel sorry for the poor Fox News Correspondent being held down by the big mean Chinese. His tweet:
interesting.can tweet off b-berry, but laptop, which has net running, won’t give me twitter or tweetdeck
cld be operator error – always possible w/me – but i suspect chinese meddling w/hotel internet link
good news for photo haters – can’t upload now. maybe later.
Apparently someone told Chuck Todd that indeed they could see his tweets and he seemed to calm down for a bit. The calm didn’t last long as Jake Tapper, WH Correspondent/Freedom Rider chimed in on the tragedy as well with this tweet:
i can access twitter on my bberry here in china, but not on my laptop. same with facebook. it’s appalling, really. not for me – for Ch ppl
Yes, I’m sure the tragedy of life without Twitter and Facebook is akin to being bound and permanently gagged. No really.
For a while things settled down a bit because Obama held a town hall with Shanghai Students. The tweets during the Town Hall were less than interesting because the Town Hall was less than interesting, however after the Town Hall, Communism, censorship, and perceived haterade came roaring back to attack the press corps again. Chuck Todd was the first to cry havoc in 140 or less with this tweet:
NBC has been prevented from interviewing Chinese students attending town hall. We got one done and then Chinese “officials” stepped in.
Then again Jake Tapper notes the pure evils of finding his blog inaccessible:
i covered Obama praising internet freedom (http://bit.ly/4qmMM7) and the Chinese govt has blocked access to my blog. cannot access on laptop
And then in what has got to be a moment of sheer frustration coupled with a deep love of John Ashcroft’s greatest hit “Let the Eagle Soar,” Tapper in ALL CAPS decries:
YOU CANT STOP ME, CHINESE GOVERNMENT!!!!! I WILL BLOG LIKE AN EAGLE!!
So this is why the caged bird sings. An inability to tweet, blog, and use facebook. Sing on caged bird, sing on.
While the eagle was soaring from rocky coasts to golden shores, Phil Elliott from the AP interrupted his freedom flight and was quickly handled with this retort:
@PElliottAP they censor my blog, i protest, and you accuse me of picking fights? wow.
But the Eagle had no time to deal with petty questions, he was soaring, blogging and tweeting. With that, the next bit of devastating news:
turns out all of abc news blogs are blocked by Chinese govt –
In a later tweet the blogging freedom eagle found it necessary to taunt those holding him captive in his media cage with this:
hey Chinese government – i found a way to sneak around your firewall on my laptop to get to twitter. Dont fear freedom, Chinese government.
I’m sure there will be more freedom fighting, blogging eagles, and ride or die hysterics today, but this was just a sampling of the pure comedy coming out of my Journalists list. Straight jokes my friends. Straight JOKES!
As a post script I would like to note that I have been contacted by one of the journalists mentioned in this post and would like to acknowledge their reporting on human rights abuses world-wide.
Coming soon: I am working on my post concerning my trip to the teabagger rally, but this was mad hilarious and had to be shared.