A Response to “ABC & Jimmy Kimmel” and the Image of Chinese People
This article is in response to “ABC & Jimmy Kimmel 正在玩猫腻” Her or his claim was that the US broadcasting station ABC has been manipulating searches on Google to put ABC in a more positive image, also known as a form of spin doctoring.
As junior researcher and consultant well-familiar with data mining technology and analysis, I was curious and attempted to verify the claims of the author. Using Google Trends, a service offered by Google to provide data and statistics on “hot searches” by all users of Google since 2004, I investigated the following search terms. Google Trends was used because the author of the referenced article also used Google.
First, I investigated the author’s terms:
- “jimmy kimmel”
- “jimmy kimmel live”
- “jimmy kimmel apology”
Next, I investigated the following terms:
- “kill Chinese”
- “kill all Chinese”
- “kill Chinese jimmy kimmel”
- “kill all Chinese jimmy kimmel”
Then, I combined the most popular search terms above and added abc apology for the past 12 months:
- jimmy kimmel
- kill Chinese
- abc apology
Spin doctoring is a technique that has existed since ancient times and all modern organizations seek to reestablish their brand image in light of unfavorable events. Good sense says that ABC most definitely attempted to spin doctor its brand due to Jimmy Kimmel Live’s airing of “kill all Chinese,” which logically confirms the article author’s claim. However, search statistics from Google shows that this is hardly an issue compared to imbedding anti-Chinese cultural perceptions in the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Note that these are all English native speaking nations.
One thing we can conclude, for sure, is that “kill Chinese” has been searched for since the beginning of 2004 and “kill all Chinese” has been searched for on Google around 2013. The data shows the mentality of some people in those nations toward Chinese people and/or China in general! Perhaps, the data shows why and how a six-year-old Caucasian boy, from appearances only, made a comment of national genocide. Perhaps, the data shows why the White House, using words very carefully and factually, said that national genocide does not reflect the majority views of the American people. Perhaps, the data shows why some parts of the world exhibit a direct relationship between China’s growth and negative attitudes about China.
The spin doctoring of ABC should not be the greatest concern for working professionals and researchers in public relations, mass media, and propaganda. China, as a nation of various ethnicities within East Asia, must improve its collective image to pull out the root of the problem, albeit it has spent a significant amount of cash to change its image around the same period in which the data can be tracked. People should be aware that their individual actions, both internationally and domestically, can have a global effect on perception of the group of affiliated people as a whole. Arguably, English language-based media face a lack of transparency on China, Chinese people who travel outside project their nation’s image to the rest of the world, or Non-Chinese who visit China and discover discrepancies between what is communicated and what is known.
We are representatives of our own history and backgrounds. And, there is always a reason for any event that has transpired and will transpire. The author would also like to point out that this article, in its spirit, would be a prime example of spin doctoring if the reader was not informed of the use of the method.
The author is an American-born Chinese who taught business in China for two years. His passion is in data mining, analysis, and representation in no particular order of favorites. He is deeply concerned about China’s image abroad with the international community and domestically within China. The author may be contacted at email@example.com.