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

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The SET Incident

The basic background
In late February and early March of this year, at the time when people in Taiwan were commemorating the 60th anniversary of the infamous "228 Massacre," SET-TV broadcast a multipart program which used oral history from survivors of the incident, documentary evidence, recreated footage, and narration to tell the tale for those who may not know much about it. Among the footage used was a clip of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) soldiers executing people in public. It turns out that the footage was not filmed in Taiwan, but rather in Shanghai.

Rather revealing is the fact that when this came to light in May, the KMT began shedding crocodile tears. (Is this an inadvertant admission that they did not know this back in February?) As soon as this information was made public, the guilty party (and by that, I mean the KMT) wanted the currently-unconstitutional NCC (National Communications Commission) to shut down SET on account of this. This would be the same NCC that wouldn't shut down the mendacious TVBS after that station had broadcast footage of a gangster, claimed it was sent to them, and were discovered to have shot the footage themselves. Before the revelation that the TVBS footage was faked, it was used by KMT legislators to admonish the Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) administration for its "failure to maintain public security in the wake of a recent spate of crimes."

Can you see the double standard so common in KMT behavior at play once again?

Some simple answers to simple questions
1. Was the footage in question filmed in Taiwan?
Apparently not.

2. Weren't those KMT soldiers that were seen in the footage executing people in the street?

3. Would many Taiwanese have known about the KMT's Shanghai killings if they hadn't attacked SET over the error?
Probably not. (Thanks for that much, KMT.)

4. Did the KMT commit the same kinds of atrocities in Taiwan (and wouldn't that explain why SET used the footage)?

5. Did SET handle the apology appropriately?
Perhaps not.

6. Did those asking for the apology approach it correctly?
Absolutely not.

7. Is the "SET Incident" different from the recent "BS-TV Falsification Fest"?
Yep, it's way different.

8. Did the 228 Massacre happen any differently than SET portrayed it?

9. Any more questions?

* See the Shanghai footage as it was originally used (at about the 1'52" mark in this video), comprising less than 4 seconds of the SET program that I uploaded to YouTube: The 228 Incident - 60 years on, Part 3/3

Here are a couple of things which have happened since I posted this:

* NCC fines SET-TV NT$1 million for misleading public (May 19, 2007, Taipei Times)
[NCC spokesperson Howard] Shyr said the commission's review committee had found the history was portrayed in an inappropriately emotional and dramatic manner, which was a violation of journalistic ethics.
After suppressing discussion of it for decades, of course it's going to look "emotional" and "dramatic" (especially to those allied with the murderous party) when the survivors speak out about the people who tried to murder them. If you have any doubts, read George Kerr's Formosa Betrayed.

* KMT slams regulator's 'double standards' in TV row (May 22, 2007, Taiwan News)
At the Legislative Yuan, KMT caucus members said the NCC had been more lenient with SET TV than with TVBS, stating that the NCC had only fined SET TV NT$1 million and asked that its managers and supervisors attend an eight-hour news ethics course, but had fined TVBS NT$2 million and demanded that General Manager Lee Tao be relieved of his post.

"If NCC applied the same standard to both companies, why can't TVBS managers just attend an eight-hour news ethics course?" asked KMT Legislator Sun Ta-chien (孫大千).
Keep in mind that a TVBS reporter made a video of a gangster and pretended it was mailed in while SET merely used (real) footage of KMT soldiers (just in another location) committing (actual) murders (just like they did in Taiwan). Simple logic should make the difference between these two cases rather obvious.

Victims, real and imaginary: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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