"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Taiwan's opposition reinforces smug image

Accuses ruling party of being smug

Early Wednesday afternoon, I saw Lien Chan on the news, smirking proudly as he accused the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of overestimating their greatness (paraphrased: "Min jin dang jue de ta men na mo wei da de").

This was Lien's joyous response to Colin Powell's recent comments that "Taiwan is not a sovereign state." Instead of attacking Powell -- or even the idiotic statements -- the opposition pan-blue parties are using this as yet another excuse to attack the pan-greens' plan to implement a NT$610.8 billion (US$18.23 billion) budget for the purchase of defensive weapons in order to counter the continually growing threat of Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan.

The irony of this is that the very budget the pan-blues are now adamantly opposing was, in fact, requested by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT or Kuomintang) when they were in power. (Talk about two-faced!)

Also, one must recall that when Singapore scolded Taiwan at the United Nations, the DPP-appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs (Chen Tang-shan, AKA Mark Chen) accused Singapore of "holding China's balls" (i.e., "brown-nosing"), the KMT attacked the DPP instead of standing up for Taiwan and pointing out the absurdity of the accusation that Taiwan is any kind of threat to peace in the region.

Additionally, one cannot forget that legislative elections are coming up, and the pan-greens are working hard at gaining a majority, looking more and more confident as the days pass. The pan-blues, on the other hand, are looking more and more like cartoon figures clinging for dear life onto a bare branch protruding from the face of a cliff.

Further acts of desperation
The pan-blues will do absolutely anything to try to beat the pan-greens -- anything except introspection, that is.

While Typhoon Nock-Ten (Laotian for "bird") was lashing at Taiwan on Monday, a TTV camera operator said to be covering Premier Yu Shyi-kun's visit to a water diversion project drowned. (Government Information Office (GIO) Director Lin Chia-lung, however, says "that the media did not go to the scene to cover the premier's trip but to cover the activation of the Yuanshanzih floodwater diversion channel.") The pan-blues immediately used this event to attack Yu, blaming him for the journalist's death and calling his visit to the location a "political stunt."

There are several problems with this. The cameraman, Alex Ping, had been warned earlier to leave the area due to rising water. He and others had crossed rising waters after being told not to -- probably in an attempt to get more dramatic footage of the rapidly rising waters.

During recent typhoons, I've commented to my wife about the idiotic behavior of reporters who put on "stunts" of their own: staging "pratfalls" to demonstrate the danger of navigating Taiwan's flooded streets; standing on the beach as huge waves and powerful winds batter them, all the while saying how "dangerous" it is (not to mention "stupid"); and exaggerating the existing conditions for the sake of "shock value" (e.g., during a light rain, a reporter left the hood of his raincoat covering half his face, all the while grimacing as if it were the fault of the weather).

I cannot say with 100 percent certainty if Ping was doing such a thing, but the behavior mentioned above certainly gives viewers reason to wonder. If reporters had the reputation of giving accurate, honest reports, this doubt would not exist. If journalists would adhere to some basic safety guidelines, such unfortunate incidents might not happen so frequently.
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