The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has been discussing how to raise low approval ratings among voters in a short period of time with the seven-in-one municipal elections scheduled for November.
In a meeting of the KMT’s Central Standing Committee on Wednesday, an answer was presented: a media blitz, particularly focused on television, to get the administration’s somewhat camera-shy officials in touch with the average person.
At the committee meeting, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — who doubles as the party’s chairman — said the government has a lot of good policies that are not well-known to the public and urged his Cabinet ministers to go on political talk shows to promote the administration’s report card.
A Central Standing Committee member later said that time is short with November only eight months away.
The unnamed committee member said that even he was not clear about government policies before joining the Central Standing Committee and therefore he hoped that ministers would give the public easy-to-digest reports.
Separately, Cabinet spokesperson Sun Lih-chyun (孫立群) said that when administration officials go on air to address the nation, they should target two opposition-leaning channels: Formosa Television (FTV, 民視) and SET TV (三立電視).
“It’s just patting yourself on the back if you only appear on friendly programs,” he said. “That wouldn’t mean much.”
Ma’s recommendation of increased face-time comes amid low support for the party as its local players head into year-end elections.
Television appearances have backfired for the Ma administration before.
In 2009, when officials in Taipei went on air, they seemed out of touch with residents of southern Taiwan as a destructive typhoon lashed the southern half of the country.
A spokesperson for TVBS, a station largely considered to be KMT-friendly, said that Cabinet officials are welcome to appear on programs and that such a practice is one of the station’s longstanding policies.
Spokespeople for CtiTV (中天電視) and ERA TV (年代電視), which are also considered to favor the KMT, welcomed the idea of more interviews with officials, although ETTV (東森電視) was more reserved, saying that it would “depend on circumstances.”
The FTV could not be reached for comment as of press time.