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Sep 30, 2008

KMT caucus labels RTI ex-director "partisan hack"

In response to today's Liberty Times piece on Ma administration interference in the programming of RTI, the KMT legislative caucus has responded by saying former director Cheng You (鄭優), who resigned last Saturday, was a partisan hack who only got his job because of his political leanings.

Cheng You provided no comments during subsequent questioning by the press.

KMT caucus deputy secretary-general Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) stated that the KMT is now fully in power and must accept full responsibility; all officials given political posts under the previous administration ought to resign. Even those officials who still have time left in their term should also stop criticizing (or in her words, slandering) the government.

(Former New Party, now KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-Bao (賴士葆) declared Cheng used a national radio station and national money to produce programming that excessively attacked President Ma, which is, in his view, clearly not in line with RTI's function as a government organ.

KMT legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) stated Cheng You should have resigned after the transfer of power because of his green leanings (never mind his term was to last another year, and that term lengths were set to avoid excessive making the post purely a political propaganda director's job).

She noted an example of the bias programming when it came to the milk powder scandal: sure, RTI had to report on the poisoned milk powder coming from China, but if it wasn't for his ideology, why would the programming spend so much time attacking China at a time of warming relations?


Ok, this press conference was not comforting. I was especially upset by calls for all officials appointed during the last administration to either shape up or ship out. That's simply chilling.

Now this kind of thing is always a problem -- just see how much Bush hates NPR and PBS. Politicians don't always get along with the officials at nationaly funded news outlets, who are nevertheless supposed to reject any political pressure and be as fair as possible. And they will still be accused of bias. Bias is often in the eye of the beholder.

I don't listen to RTI enough to know just how bias their reports might have been, and would say you need a lot more than one or two examples to indicate bias.

But two things are telling here: first, no one has bothered to look at hard numbers, such as amount of time spent on critical vs. favorable vs. neutral reporting on government policies under the Ma vs. the Chen administration.

Second, the example used by the KMT caucus is absurd. The poisoned milk powder scandal has dominated headlines because it's such a real, scary, and preventable tragedy that Chinese officials and press covered up for far too long. And this kind of thing naturally would bring up a string of subsequent stories about related issues -- melamine like pesticides, the tainted pet food from a few months ago, the Chinese-made, melamine-tainted soy milk found in Indonesia, etc.

So is this a sign of things to come? I think so. The KMT loves the Singapore model. But only time will tell.

1 comment:

Raj said...

The KMT loves the Singapore model.

They can love it all they like, but they can't have it. They don't have control of the courts (despite angry comments to the contrary) and they don't have the media under their thumb.