Tue, Jun 28, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Letter: `Taipei Times' declining

By Joshua Shen

I've followed the news in Taiwan over the last 10 years. Your newspaper has disappointed me so much. You used to be the most professional English paper in Taiwan, surpassing the China Post and Taiwan News. Now you coverage is more biased than a press release from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The problem isn't your editorials; the problem is that the way you report the news should be clearly highlighted as an opinion piece. Your diction and placement of quotes that clearly support anything related to Taiwan independence (a noble cause that deserves a fair, objective overview) makes your newspaper no better -- and I'm not exaggerating -- than the propaganda mouthpieces at the Xinhua news agency.

The worst thing is how your newspaper tries to slant every issue into a question of "love for Taiwan" or traitors for China. It could be an issue about train derailments, and you'll have a piece about KMT stalwarts wasting too much time visiting China and not spending enough time caring for the infrastructure. A suicide in Taipei will be slanted to show Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has been so preoccupied with the presidency that he's not properly caring for the mental health of his constituents. An absurd quote will probably be layered half way down the "news" article from some psychiatrist saying, "The overall mental state of Taipei has worsened," or something ridiculous like that. And you'll lead with a headline: "Mayor distracted with social welfare as woman commits suicide."

The sad part is that I'm not exaggerating that much. Your paper could be so much more. With excellent layout and close access to the administration, you could be doing so much more to be the fourth estate, criticize and motivate every party, while maintaining your clear Taiwan independence stance. As it is, you're not doing the society a service as a media organization.

Joshua Shen

Shanghai

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