It's rare for Fox, Rupert Murdoch's American news channel, to admit that a story is total fabrication, but a recent report on Senator John Kerry was so wild, and its falsity so easily verifiable, that an apology was the only option. The story was written by Carl Cameron, who has been following Kerry's campaign trail. He attributed to him this remark: "I'm metrosexual -- [Bush is] a cowboy," following it with a swift, if curious, left hook to the candidate's sexuality by saying that he liked manicures. \nIn my wishy-washy liberal way, I can't see either comment doing much damage to Kerry's standing among the right-thinking electorate, but the fact remains that he never said these things. In its apology, Fox claimed that the reporter was acting out of "fatigue and bad judgment, rather than malice," which is hilarious in itself. Imagine Andrew Gilligan [the BBC reporter who said that British Prime Minister Tony Blair had cooked the books on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction] saying: "I would have been more careful, only I was just too tired." \nBad judgment is self-evident, since this was never going to pass unchallenged; and yet the vignette demonstrates so well why rightwing bias is considered the comic, likeable face of partisan American infotainment, while the leftwing is thought so humourless. The misreporting works on so many levels -- for the numbnuts who find "metrosexuality" a fancy, urban way of saying "poof," no amount of complaints from Kerry, nor apologies from Fox, is going to make any difference. Those who believe Kerry was libelled, yet don't like him, will delight in his tangles as he tries to refute the remarks without alienating supporters who see nothing wrong with being metrosexual. \nThose who support Kerry, believe in accurate reporting and resent the slurs still find themselves in a sticky position: what, after all, do these quotes mean? They mean Kerry's a little bit gay. Is there anything wrong with being gay? Well, of course not, except Kerry isn't. Well, if there's nothing wrong with it, and he isn't anyway, what's wrong with a little joke? \nThere's no similar squeeze the left could put on US President George W. Bush -- they could call him dumb, but nothing would trounce Bush's own verbal pratfalls. They could call him an ex-alcoholic or a Bible-bashing nut-nut, and he'd put his hands up and only make people like him more. But the truth is, even if the left found the most cunning lie in the world to spread about Bush, as a culture it lacks the devil-may-care, pubescent mischief that characterizes the right. \nThe main beef leftwing commentators have with rightwing stations, particularly Fox, is that they don't trouble themselves with the truth -- not even a Republican spin on the truth; they simply muddy all issues to such a degree that opinion and fact become indivisible and, as a result, all opinions achieve equal validity. \nFor the left, then, facts are paramount, and to mimic the rightist habit of false attribution would be entirely to undermine the crux of the argument. Over time, this has given them a reputation for being long on rectitude and short on fun. \nMostly, Fox is no fun either -- it's boring, repetitive junk, full of weird euphemistic language and tips on how to get pet smells out of your car. But often it is compelling, simply because its position-taking is so naked, so unrelated to proven truths, so coarse and, above all, so lacking in logical rigor that it thrills you with amused outrage, like playing Monopoly with someone who eats the money. \nThis is the channel that tried to retitle "suicide bombers" as "homicide bombers," worried that "suicide" might make viewers sympathize; when an expert refused to adopt the new term, on the basis that all bombs were homicide bombs unless they missed, Fox stopped using him. \nA recent poll cross-referencing viewing habits with political awareness found that regular Fox watchers were, depending on the issue, between three and seven times more likely than public-network audiences to harbor factually incorrect beliefs (such as "weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq"). \nSuch a fantastical version of the concept of "news" is only compiled by such polemicists as Al Franken and Robert Greenwald (whose documentary, Outfoxed, has a US theatrical release after its astounding sales on Amazon). So it's not as if the rightwing US media is engaged in an unchallenged monologue, and frankly, it wouldn't be anything like so funny if there weren't evidence that other people were also gawping at it in wonder. \nBut in the end, the qualities that the leftist media envies and despairs at -- not the brash populism, but the gleefully casual disregard for the truth -- will sink it. Lies like Cameron's make Fox ever more cartoonish. And as cartoons go, it's never going to be as good as The Simpsons.
Burger King Taiwan on Wednesday last week posted an update on Facebook advertising a new “Wuhan pneumonia” (武漢肺炎) home delivery meal, catering to customers hankering for a Whopper, but who wished to avoid visiting one of its outlets. “Wuhan pneumonia” is the term commonly used in Taiwan to describe COVID-19. Beijing has been waging an extensive propaganda campaign against the use of the words “Wuhan” or “China” in reference to the novel coronavirus, calling it racist and discriminatory. Meanwhile, Chinese officials have claimed that the coronavirus might have originated in the US. The intention is obvious: to distract attention from the Chinese Communist
Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force Shaanxi KJ-500 airborne early-warning aircraft and Shenyang J-11 fighters on March 16 conducted a nighttime exercise in the waters southwest of Taiwan and, in doing so, came close to the nation’s air defense identification zone. Three days later, the PLA Navy’s fleet for Gulf of Aden escort mission sailed north in the Pacific off Taiwan’s east coast via the Miyako Strait on its way home. Meanwhile, the US carried out freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea and assembled the USS Theodore Roosevelt carrier strike group with the Expeditionary Strike Group to conduct
Italy, Spain, France, the UK and the US are all depending on social distancing to fight COVID-19 and have fallen into terrible situations, with mounting positive cases and many deaths. Social distancing might flatten the curve, so that the peak is not so high that hospitals are overwhelmed with patients, the problem is that the pandemic could extend further into the future, hurt the economy more and become unbearable for society. Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Singapore have controlled the spread of COVID-19, and the main reason is that most Asians wear masks. It can be illustrated as follows: If someone contracts the
Having returned to the UK late last year and with a Taiwanese spouse remaining in Taiwan, I have been afforded the chance to compare and contrast the UK and Taiwanese governments’ responses to the COVID-19 crisis. My early conclusions are that Taiwan benefits from a rational, competent government, which quickly recognizes, adapts to and confronts large-scale disasters. It is led by a government that does more than just talk of respecting democracy and human rights, one that is scrutinized and responds to criticism, one that is concerned about public opinion, and one that is used to dealing with emergencies on