Thu, Nov 10, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Su Chi shoots the messenger

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus on Tuesday claimed that the Taipei Times, other local English-language newspapers and international agencies are bowing to pressure from the Chen administration by suppressing coverage of the Kaohsiung Rapid Transit Corp (KRTC) scandal and other government mishaps.

KMT Legislator Su Chi (蘇起) specifically accused the Taipei Times of being "inconsistent with the actual situation," and that we provide the world with information that "deviates from the facts."

Su claims that he is a "long-time reader" of the Taipei Times, though this is doubtful, given that he missed every one of our numerous reports on the KRTC debacle. Perhaps, as a rookie at the Legislative Yuan and facing tough competition from the likes of grandstanding independent Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅), Su is simply desperate for attention and will do almost anything to get his name in print the next day.

Well, he sure has this time -- by making a complete fool of himself. And not just because the pro-unification China Post was on his list of targets.

This newspaper has not only reported on the KRTC scandal since day one, it also ran a full-page special report on the controversy on Monday. We also covered the arrest of Tu Shi-san (杜十三) on page 3 of Tuesday's edition, which Su claimed we failed to do. This did not stop him from propagating his conspiracy theory that the Taipei Times is attempting to play down the DPP's poor performance in government.

This is nonsense. Over the years this newspaper has taken to task any number of Democratic Progressive Party icons for their poor judgement and lack of achievement, including President Chen Shui-bian, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and Chen's coterie of tainted advisers.

For Su to make one false accusation is forgivable, but how does a professor and former Government Information Office head -- and key figure at the KMT think tank that sent the risible Bulletgate pamphlet to the US Congress -- get it wrong again and again?

Su criticizes us for having a "clearly pro-green" tinge and an overt political stance.

This need not concern him. The Taipei Times cares to ally itself with neither the Chen administration nor the KMT. The people of Taiwan and Taiwan's national interest are the primary object of our editorial support. And it is the right of any media organization to express its opinions, a right that also applies to pro-China media outlets -- whom Su refuses to criticize.

Indeed, Su conveniently forgets the good old days under KMT rule when members of his own party's Central Standing Committee -- the KMT's highest decision-making body -- served on the management of two major Chinese-language newspapers, the United Daily News and the China Times.

If Su is right that the Taipei Times is the main source of information on Taiwan for overseas governments, think tanks and media outlets, then we take this responsibility very seriously: Our job is to report what happens here and to communicate both mainstream and fringe thinking to the international community.

We also make mistakes, and we correct them as they occur. It is hoped that Su will likewise show some grace and apologize to the Taipei Times for his comments, if only to soothe readers who fear a resurgence of pan-blue-camp shooting of messengers that once prevailed under seasoned spin doctors like him.

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