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

Friday, March 30, 2007

Kathrin Hille spills some of the beans

She works hard for the money

In contrast with former CNN Beijing Bureau Chief Rebecca MacKinnon's claim that the anti-Taiwan memes in the international media are the result of "journalistic laziness," Financial Times correspondent Kathrin Hille actually trots out a more credible motivation for such behavior.

Here's what Wednesday's Taipei Times tells us about the prevalence of "China-centric reporting on Taiwan":
Speaking to the Taipei Times by phone yesterday, Taipei Foreign Correspondents' Club president Kathrin Hille said that although major Western news publications are no longer dispatching as many "staffers" to the country, "I don't think the total number of [foreign journalists] has declined. That always happens in news markets that matter less," she said of the thinning ranks of permanent correspondents from big-name media organizations. "Look, news is a market -- media serve to give their audiences what they think they're interested in and right now, everybody's interested in China," Hille said.


"There's a need for people to read what you write and getting into a story from the China angle helps to ensure that," she added. "Taiwan's significance is declining."

"But, in a way, that's a good thing -- that means no disasters are coming out of this place," she said.
Read that again. She only seems to care that you read what she writes -- not whether it's factual. Could it be that "getting into a story from the China angle helps to ensure" that Hille keeps her job as the leader of the pack and that there will be "no disasters" regarding her current income? And would the writing of Hille and her ilk have anything to do with any of the potential truth behind her assertion that "right now, everybody's interested in China"? I certainly wonder even more about those things now than I did before reading that article.

Also, think again about Beijing Bureau Chief Rebecca MacKinnon's assertion that "journalistic laziness" was the reason for the ubiquitous pro-China memes. If you weren't skeptical of that dubious drivel already, Hille's statement ought to raise some red flags.

Who else runs with this pack?
Well, well, well. Look who Hille has at her heel:
Tim Culpan
Taipei Editor
I guess that would make him the boss of the infamous James Peng, whose China-centric reporting has been documented previously on Taiwan Matters.

A brief Google search tells us more about the trustworthiness of the leaders of this pack of dogs:
Chief Editor's note

Monday, Mar 08, 2004, Page 8

I would like to hereby thank the local news media for all its recent attention on me. With respect to the discussions created by an internal memo sent by myself to my co-workers at the Taipei Times, I have neither new comments nor new input to add.

Throughout this incident, the only regrettable thing is the South China Morning Post's reporting of something that never happened.

The reporter, Tim Culpan, quoted an anonymous reporter as saying "I was told that if I write anything against the DPP or 'too Blue' that I would be fired," which is complete nonsense and very irresponsible and vicious reporting. No editor-in-chief can ever speak to his or her subordinates either openly or in private in this way.

The South China Morning Post's freelance reporter Tim Culpan previously worked as a copy editor at the Taipei Times.

I do not wish to speculate whether he was in fact being personally vindictive over any matter in particular.

However, it is a fact that the Taipei Times has indeed rejected news stories he submitted for publication after his departure.

Rick Chu

Chief Editor, Taipei Times
Here is a mirror of the SCMP article in question. See how Culpan has also been pushing the "China market" since at least 2002.

A lesson from the movies
China, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), and writers like Hille remind me of a poignant line in the recent film 300. The gargantuan antagonist Xerxes says to the Spartan traitor Ephialtes, "Cruel Leonidas demanded that you stand. I require only that you kneel." Only someone with no self-worth would choose the latter.

Unpaid dividends: , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!
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