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

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ralph Jennings pushes anti-Taiwan, pro-Ma propaganda

Inexcusable biases

A problematic Reuters piece titled "Taiwan president, opposition clash over China deal" appeared online less than an hour after the close of a debate Sunday afternoon between Taiwan's president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The topic of the debate was the controversial Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), which Ma has been touting as "urgent" without providing any concrete details regarding the content to the public or to opposition parties.

19:35 YouTube video: "ECFA 第一階段申論"
Translation: ECFA [Debate] Part 1: Introductory Remarks

A reader e-mailed me about Jennings' "false statement[s]" within [that's a direct quote]:
The debate, a new step in Taiwan's democracy, is expected to sway public opinion towards an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) set to be signed with China in June.
You've got to be kidding me! Jennings -- who has previously labeled me as a "sniper" for calling out his lies -- has some nerve. He would have to be hiding under a rock to actually be unaware of previous debates between political adversaries in Taiwan. (Does he mean something else? Whether this so-called "professional" writer and/or his editors are trying to deceive us on purpose is uncertain.)

But when Jennings -- working for a wire service whose reports get carried far and wide -- claims that this particular debate is "expected" to do just what Ma wants it to, this functions as the "carpet bombing" variety of propaganda. (My e-mail correspondent notes that the article is already being carried in the Malaysia Star and the Straits Times.)

Who is "expect[ing]" this kind of result from the debate? You might think Jennings would provide at least one example of who it is that thinks in a way which precisely benefits Ma. But he doesn't.

The article also drops this unbecoming description of Ma's opponent in the very next paragraph:
"If we don't do this deal, what else can we do? The rest of Asia is forming alliances," Ma said, his voice rising, as he stood beside anti-China opposition Democratic Progressive Party chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen.
Why does Ralph Jennings hate neutral reporting? He could have noted how Tsai's party opened trade to China (which Jennings knows is targeting Taiwan with over 1,500 missiles) -- just without sacrificing Taiwan's sovereignty in the process.

Jennings also "generously" (from Ma's perspective) provided this generalization near the bottom of the article:
Television pundits were split on who fared better, giving the island's colourful media talk shows and staunchly divided public plenty to talk about.
Which "television pundits"? Jennings doesn't/won't specify, but if you want to read about some numbers I saw during and after the debate about "who fared better," just follow that link. Unlike Jennings, I even say where I found those numbers.

UPDATE: Here's an online poll by Yahoo asking who did a better job in the debate. The current results are:
* Tsai Ing-wen: 3,682 (59.1%)
* Ma Ying-jeou: 2,333 (37.4%)
* Neither: 216 (3.5%)

The craptastic conclusion?
That's anti-Taiwan Ralph Jennings for ya! Go see what other unappetizing things (e.g., positive descriptions of Ma and/or China, unchallenged counterfactual claims, etc.) you can find in his "reporting."

Further reference:
Taiwan's Public Television Service (PTS, 公共電視) uploaded videos of the entire debate to YouTube. The first segment of the series is at the top of this post. Here are the remaining segments:
* ECFA 第二階段交互詰問(1) Translation: Segment 2, Q & A (1)
* ECFA 第二階段交互詰問(2) Translation: Segment 2, Q & A (2)
* ECFA 第二階段交互詰問(3) Translation: Segment 2, Q & A (3)
* ECFA 第二階段交互詰問(4) Translation: Segment 2, Q & A (4)
* ECFA 第二階段交互詰問(5) Translation: Segment 2, Q & A (5)
* ECFA 第三階段結論 Translation: Segment 3, Closing Remarks (5)

* Perhaps this is the sort of place Ralph Jennings finds such "expectations." After the Sunday debate, the deep-blue TVBS did a survey of 906 Taiwanese over the age of 20. With a margin of error of 3.2 percent, it said that "support for ECFA increased by 3 percentage points" [163 kb PDF file] since a survey four days earlier.

Ghouls and strangulations: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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