Fri, Nov 21, 2003 - Page 8 News List

In media, ethnic manipulation

By Steve Chen

Two small VCDs are driving pro-China unificationists crazy. They are causing People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) to curse endlessly and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to confiscate the VCDs without any legal basis. It's easy to see that the makers of these two discs have stepped on the toes of certain people.

Soong and his fellow travellers' crying and weeping and their frightening attitudes, threatening to bring lawsuits and confiscate published materials, makes one wonder if they know what age they are living in. They still naively believe that they are living in the martial law era of the two Chiangs (the late presidents Chiang Kai-shek [蔣介石] and Chiang Ching-kuo [蔣經國]), they still naively believe they can frame President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and have him sent to jail as they did back then and they believe they can continue the White Terror and suppress the rights of others to express criticism any which way they want.

Thanks to the history of control exercised by the two Chiangs, the media has been more or less dominated by a minority of "new resident" media with die-hard ideologies. Some of these people support the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the PFP or the New Party. Some are fellow travellers of the communists and some frequently offend the Taiwanese because of their own ethnic prejudices. Such phenomena did not occur just under the two Chiangs; they have been the main source of social disorder ever since former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) assumed the presidency.

For example, on the evening of Nov. 5, at about 10pm, almost every TV news station, including Formosa Television, broadcast a farewell ceremony for Soong May-ling (宋美齡). Apart from the viewers from an ethnic minority, the majority of Taiwanese that day were most interested in whether Taiwan had won its baseball match. They didn't care what time the Soong ceremony was broadcast. Such monopolizing, bandit-like behavior shows the serious shortcomings of the nation's media.

Although Taiwan has entered the democratic era, many media, from newspapers and television to radio, still act as the hatchet men of the forces remaining from the Chiangs' era. The most common example is the way both of the country's pro-China newspapers often mobilize journalists and columnists from a special ethnic group, and use articles written by authors and academics of that same group, to create rumors by using obscure references such as "It is said," "It is reported" and "A certain top level official points out." This method has long been used to make libelous statements against and criticize local politicians and "Taiwan" awareness.

TV shows such as those hosted by Lee Tao (李濤) and Lee Yen-chiu (李豔秋) often invite guests from one ethnic group, adopt one-way ethnic prejudice and accept incoming calls mostly from viewers from the same group to openly play on the provincial origin complex. Their shows and other similar political commentary shows are openly biased in favor of their guests from a special ethnic group. These people even use their position as hosts to assist their guests.

A common scene on such shows is the guests from a certain ethnic group, who almost always are in a majority, together with the host, who is of the same group, openly pressuring the Taiwanese guests, who are in the minority. Sometimes every guest is a member of that certain ethnic group, and together they sing of the demise of Taiwan.

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