The emergence of China Central Television-America (CCTV-America) can be seen as a significant landmark for China’s media globalization and “soft power” projection strategy. This paper analyzes the political and ideological orientation of CCTV-America’s news reporting as a way to understand China’s “soft power” drive. What are the station’s news standpoints? Are they consistent with each other in terms of reflecting a coherent political or ideological perspective? What political economic imperatives does the station’s news discourse reflect? In order to answer these research questions, I will describe CCTV-America’s institutional set-up, conduct newsroom observations at the station, as well as analyze its coverage of selected issues ranging from poverty in the U.S, the corruption in China, and the 2014 BRICS Summit, to the MH17 accident. In addition, I will also compare the news coverage of CCTV-America to CNN-International on events such as the death of Nelson Mandela and the Kunming terrorist attacks. The study not only provides evidence on CCTV-America’s progressive news standpoint, but also reveals its ambiguity, tension, as well as its ongoing negotiation of conflicting news values and perspectives in its news coverage. It explains this phenomenon in terms of CCTV-America’s conflicting political economic imperatives, its hybrid institutional identity, as well as the highly ambivalent nature of China’s “soft power” drive.
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