Journalism in 2020 may be a sad state of affairs, but ABC News continues to lead the pack in dragging down the profession’s reputation. Over the last month, Good Morning America has aggressively promoted the live action version of Mulan, produced by ABC’s parent company, Disney. The network repeatedly hyped its debut on Disney+. Yet, when ugly news broke that the movie filmed near brutal Chinese concentration camps, ABC censored the story.
As the MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro reported on Tuesday, all three networks spiked the revelation. On Wednesday, CBS This Morning broke ranks with reporter Elizabeth Palmer explaining that the movie filmed in the Xinjiang: “Xinjiang is heavily policed with surveillance cameras everywhere. This is where the Chinese Communist Party runs so-called re-education camps where it's detained more than a million local people, including Muslim Uyghurs and forced them to relinquish their language and religion.”
ABC couldn’t be bothered with this disgusting revelation. Yet, on the September 4 Good Morning America, Tom Llamas previewed: “Now to a highly anticipated movie fans have waited months to see, the epic live action film Mulan hits Disney+ today.” Sounding like the good little corporate shill, Will Reeve hyped, “Disney+ Premiere Access members can start streaming Mulan right now before it’s available to all Disney+ subscribers on December 4.”
Gushing over the movie that was filmed adjacent to brutal repression, Sam Champion on August 13 raved as he played part of the trailer:
You know, some mornings you need extra strength and that's why we begin this morning with some major movie news. A brand-new action packed trailer for the highly anticipated live action Mulan. Watch as she takes on the huns with the strength of a raging fire.
Robo-promoter Champion then lied, insisting that the film would bring “honor” to , among others, ABC employees: “Disney releasing the trailer ahead of the movie September 4th Disney+ premiere. Safe to say, I think Mulan will bring honor to us all when we finally get to see it and Disney is our parent company.”
On CBS, Palmer explained just how problematic Mulan is:
Sharp eyes on social media even spotted a special thank you to Xinjiang communist officials in the credits. It's not the first time Mulan has been at the center of online fury. Last summer during mass protests in Hong Kong where security forces beat demonstrators, Mulan's star, American actress Yifei Liu expressed support on social media for the Hong Kong police.
A transcript of the CBS This Morning report is below:
CBS This Morning
12:51 PM ET
TONY DOKOUPIL: The long-awaited action remake of the animated movie Mulan has finally come out amid growing controversy. Its release was delayed by the pandemic, and now the new Mulan faces a new threat: Activists demanding a boycott of the movie. They claim Disney worked too closely with Chinese authorities to make it. Elizabeth Palmer looks at the heated argument.
ELIZABETH PALMER: Good morning. This movie was released in the U.S. Just a few days ago, and it's due to open in China this weekend. Already it's generated more publicity than Disney bargained for.
[Clip from Mulan.]
PALMER: Mulan's storyline is not controversial, it's loosely based on a Chinese folk tale about a young woman warrior. But it's where some of the scenes were shot, in Xinjiang provence, that kicked off outrage on social media. Xinjiang is heavily policed with surveillance cameras everywhere. This is where the Chinese Communist Party runs so-called re-education camps where it's detained more than a million local people, including Muslim Uyghurs and forced them to relinquish their language and religion. Critics there's no way Disney should have been filming in the province and cooperating local communist authorities. Isaac Stone Fish is senior fellow with the Asia society.
ISAAC STONE FISH: So, did Disney torture any Uyghurs? No. Did Disney provide cover for the Chinese Communist Party to have more international support for committing human rights abuses? Yes.
PALMER: Sharp eyes on social media even spotted a special thank you to Xinjiang communist officials in the credits. It's not the first time Mulan has been at the center of online fury. Last summer during mass protests in Hong Kong where security forces beat demonstrators, Mulan's star, American actress Yifei Liu expressed support on social media for the Hong Kong police. Disney tried to repair the damage, insisting that it was apolitical. But it's now facing calls for a boycott of Mulan. What is the fallout going to be?
FISH: Disney is going to get raked over the coals for this. Both by fans who are angry that they are in bed with a part of the Chinese Communist Party that has committed horrific human rights abuses, and by the U.S. Senate.
PALMER: We did ask Disney about their decisions to shoot in Xinjiang but so far, Tony, the company has made no comment.
DOKOUPIL: Elizabeth Palmer for us in London. Thank you so much. Remember the day, guys, when we could go to a movie and take it in? This is all getting complicated. The pandemic and now trying to separate the art from the creation of the art and the controversy surrounding that.
ANTHONY MASON: And China itself has become a very important market for filmmakers. That's part of why they want to engage China in terms of making films because they end up releasing them and making a lot of money there.
GAYLE KING: And did Disney know about the controversy? Did they know? Some people will say they should have known. That's one way to go. And why is it coming up now as opposed to during the filming?
DOKOUPIL: Maybe it did and they're trying to stop the release. Lot to it.