Although the Communist Party of China has based its economic claims to legitimacy on its ability to raise individual living standards, the state's earlier approach to encouraging some people to get rich first was rendered problematic after continual ruptures in the rural economy. Through both quantitative and qualitative analyses, this study seeks to unravel the interplay between the state and media in China's march toward modernization by examining coverage of rural development in People's Daily (PD). From 1997 to 2006, China's central party organ reported an enormous increase in the central officials' efforts to boost the rural income, but highlighted in a hierarchical way their responsiveness according to the logics of period, region, and the task. In its assessment of rural anomalies, the responsibility was devolved to local bureaucracies, hence shifting the blame away from the central authority. A discourse analysis showed the PD stuck to a contour of economic developmentalism that upheld information and technology as the panacea, and perpetuated the state's redistributive role as the key to social equality. As such, the overtly propagandist rhetoric has been increasingly giving way to a coherent set of framing practices that rationalize the centrality of the party-state in China.