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Nov 22, 2011


Ha! Now that Ma has sued the DPP, and the KMT has sued Next Weekly, how could this story possibly play out to the KMT's advantage? They'll be attacked from all angles now -- press freedom, freedom of speech, and of course the fundamental question about why Ma was meeting a well-known bookie ever -- and how can this possibly work out in their favor?

Desperation, I suppose. Perhaps they really are more scared than they'd like to appear.

On a side note, we've seen very little coverage of the legislative election, as others have noted, which is a function of a few things. One that gets little attention is the general lack of local news coverage of Taiwan. Almost all news is completely nationalized; news from Taipei completely dominates, with the South getting the short end of the stick unless there's a scandal or great food.

So since there are no real newspapers or media serving any single district, and with Taiwan's ultra-competitive eight cable news station, 24-hour news cycle, how can a station justify covering those individual races unless there's something scandalous enough to interest the entire country? 

Another factor is that legislators are campaigning on the ground very hard, but in all the traditional ways -- visiting temples, sending trucks around, going to night markets, handing out things on street corners. And the media simply doesn't send the resources to cover these campaigns in a comprehensive way. It would be a lot of work, and basically, there's not enough money for that. The media instead follow party headquarters' announced schedules. They leave Taipei when the presidential candidates leave, for the most part, and they don't have the money to cover the local races.

Actually this is a big chance for a coordinated blogosphere effort to step in and make the coverage others can't. The traditional media could even lead the charge, if they had the sense, and do iReport style election coverage for these local races. Instead, what we see is brief biographies of legislative candidates of major news aggregation sites (mostly Yahoo, Yam a distant second), and whatever news related to their race that manages to make it into the national spotlight as links underneath. 

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