Share this

Dec 17, 2007

On the blind loyalty of media; and why I still like Talking Show

On Sunday night, I saw a live program on TVBS titled Win Taiwan Back (把台灣贏回來). This program was actually a public forum in Taichung thrown by the KMT itself. On stage were three of the KMT's candidates running for election in Taichung city's three districts. The "host" was a woman dressed in blue who's only task was apparently to summarize any speech one of the candidates made.

The substance of the show was the KMT's recent talking points: A-bian's "plans" for martial law, his willingness to suspend the election so he can be president forever, the "out of control" Central Election Commission, the vitality of having the referendum and general ballots handed out at different times ... and on and on and on.

The ticker was removed for the program, replaced with a gigantic KMT party seal alongside the show's title, a slogan in and of itself.

I couldn't help but be even more shocked at the naked partisanship displayed by the station. This was free air time for a political ad, nothing more.

On the other hand, this was more or less a one-time event. In contrast, Formosa TV has a weekly show titled Legislative Weekly Report (國會週ㄅㄠˋ) hosted by DPP legislator Wang Shu-hui (王淑慧). Unsurprisingly, all of Wang's guests are current DPP legislators. They get their hour minus commercials to make the DPP's legislative report. It's also a naked free political ad.

So I guess what it comes down to is that I don't see why the two most extreme stations, TVBS and Formosa TV, are so willing to be the point men for politicians who they know are lying.

Speaking of this, I saw a rather damning episode of SET-TV's Talking Show last night (you can view the Dec. 16 episode here soon). This was one of their best, most comprehensive reviews of Ma's democratic credentials and showed the documentation of Ma's own published articles, interviews or public statements in which he opposed every single step of Taiwan's democratization: ending martial law (from when he was in Boston), holding legislative elections to end the Ten-thousand Year Congress (from 1988), holding direct presidential elections (from 1991), writing a referendum law (I think from 1991 too, and he said that public opinion polls were just as good). The most self-destructive line was his statement from the late 80s saying that he believed "American-style free speech" was not good for Taiwan.

The reason I liked Talking Show's presentation of all this was the heavy reliance on documentation and factual summary. Sure, most of the guests used most of their time to slam the KMT and Ma as well, but I wanted the documentation. I've heard in the past that Ma opposed all these steps toward opening up and democracy, but never saw the proof, and even recall someone in the KMT denying it and asking someone to produce the evidence.

That being said, there's no question the show has done a pretty sharp turn to the green side in the last year or so. Maybe it's just my daily dose of self-indulgence. But damn, I love that show.

No comments: