There has been controversy in the media over the ages of some of China's gymnasts [EPA]
This week on The Listening Post it is the Olympics: as China came under the global spotlight were the foreign media going out of their way to unearth negative stories?

Plus 'The Silly Season' – how western journalists report the news when they would rather be on the beach.

This week's News Divide looks at the long-awaited 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The gargantuan global spectacle was heralded as China's 'coming out' party into the international arena and seen by the world's media as a chance to finally explore behind the Great Wall and take the measure of this emerging superpower.

But has the western news media's coverage of the stories on the periphery of the games themselves – human rights, censorship, and pollution – exposed a predetermined bias against China?

Is China fair game, or have the media been unfair in their approach and unreasonable in their expectations of the giant panda?

In part two, it is the silly season.

August is traditionally a time when newsmakers and reporters take time off, and the column inches and TV schedules are filled with frivolous stories about UFOs and cute animals.

But history shows August to be a surprisingly busy month of the year with wars, coups and natural disasters keeping us glued to the news.

The Listening Post's Robin Armstrong takes a look at some of the big stories that have made the headlines in summers gone by.

In this week's Newsbytes: Journalists under fire, literally, in Georgia; Hezbollah's TV channel Al Manar tries to beam into the world's most populous Muslim country; dismay at the result of an Israeli enquiry into the killing of Reuters cameraman Fadel Shana; and a bill is proposed in the US to allow the publication of photos showing dead servicemen's coffins returning to the US.

Our video of the week is a brief and wholly irreverent warning about the effects the mainstream media can have on your mind.

Watch part one of this show

Watch part two of this show

This episode of The Listening Post aired from Friday, August 22, 2008

Source: Al Jazeera