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

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The side of 916 Taiwan's media won't show you

They don't get it because they don't want to

As expected, there was unfortunate violence associated with Saturday's rally to support democracy and Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian. A man wearing a "Taiwan Nation" (台灣國) shirt was attacked by people wearing red shirts even as he left the Taipei train station under police protection. On Friday evening, opponents of President Chen had moved their "sit-in" to the train station to intimidate people arriving for the pro-Chen rally on Saturday. It's surprising that we didn't see more of this. Perhaps the media was looking the other way.

At the scene of the rally on Ketagalan Boulevard, a CTI anchor had to be whisked away as the crowd around his platform got riled up. As he fled the scene with the help of police and DPP legislator Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅), it looked like one person may have landed a blow to the back of the anchor's head. Pan-blue media showed the footage every 10 or 15 minutes for the rest of the day. A cameraman for FTV (usually seen as being pro-green) on the scene was foolishly wearing a red jacket and had a "Depose Chen" sticker on his camera. Unsurprisingly, he was not welcomed by the people there.

In all of these cases, the reactions seem unjustified, but we certainly can't count on the media to tell us the full story in any case.

[UPDATE: Here's some video of the cameraman where you can see the sticker on his camera, found on Wang Ben-hu's (汪笨湖) BBS.]

My wife relates that an anchor on ETTV described the people at the rally as being comprised mostly of betel nut chewers, people with foul mouths, and others who came because they were paid or for free boxed lunches. (I should remind readers of the free massages said to be available at Shih Ming-teh's "sit-in.")

[UPDATE #2: Wang Ben-hu's BBS comes to the rescue again by linking to cartoonist Yufu's (漁夫) blog where he put up some nice video showing that the crowd included lots of young, educated, non-violent people. The video is accompanied by the pro-Taiwan song, "Taiwan is Our Baby." My wife helped me dig up an article on the ETToday web site which pretends to be news, but comes across as little more than a factually-challenged editorial. It says (my translation) that "60% of the crowd was male... Half of the men were aged 40 - 50; of the other half, 2/3 are above the age of 50... Among the 40 - 50 group, most Chen supporters were smokers and betel nut chewers, and their conversation was full of vulgarities... There were many gangsters with tattoos... Of course, there were refined people there, but their numbers were few... Half of the female Chen supporters were middle-aged... The numbers can be attributed to the DPP's male chauvinism..."]

It's nicer on the green side
But if you've ever been to a pro-green rally, you would find most of the above a bit peculiar. Pro-green rallies are full of life, energy, music, and families. The people who attend come from all walks of life. Teachers and students, farmers and housewives, doctors and lawyers, bloggers and readers, but the common denominator is that they're mostly friendly and aren't the least bit confrontational -- unless provoked.

If you're interested in seeing some footage shot on Ketagalan Blvd. on Saturday that's different from the distorted pan-blue media coverage, I found a 30'15" Windows Media video (77.6 MB, in Taiwanese and Mandarin) via a comment on Wang Ben-hu's (汪笨湖) web site, where you can now also watch his web-only show.

Complicated figures: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!
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