Bullyingbythepress

时间:2020-08-13 作者:

 

Bullyingbythepress

<>Freedom of the press is more than faithfully -- and gallantly -- upheld in Taiwan. One of the thankless jobs the media has is to keep a close eye on the government and take it to task when needed. But our press seems to have been a bit overzealous in this. When the Democratic Progressive Party was in power, most of the press, with a few exceptions, criticized the administration fairly and squarely. That helped Ma Ying-jeou win a landslide in the 2008 presidential election. Now, however, the Ma-bashing is all but a national pastime.

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<>The Reader's Digestpublished in its March issue a special report on who the 80 most trusted people in Taiwan are in 2010. In the 12-page feature, titled "Who Do You Trust Most in Taiwan?," two reporters of the Chinese-language monthly magazine, asked readers to draw up a league table of the four score leaders in various walks of life whom they trust most. They included models, political leaders, entertainers, religious gurus, chefs, business tycoons, sports stars, variety show hosts, commentators, writers, and motion picture directors.

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<>The monthly must have been inspired to conduct the survey by Francis Fukuyama, a well-known Johns Hopkins University philosophy professor who wrote "Trust: The Social Values and the Creation of Prosperity." He argues that a society with highly trusted leaders alone can create more economic prosperity. Does Taiwan have a large number of trusted leaders and who are they? These are the questions the once venerable Reader's Digest asked.

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<>For one thing, we really do not understand if a model -- no matter how highly she is trusted by young idol worshipers -- or an entertainer or a baseball star or a chef or a political commentator for that matter -- has anything to do with the creation of more economic prosperity in our society. Highly trusted political leaders and business tycoons may contribute much more to the creation of a prosperous society, of course. But they shouldn't be bunched together with models and others on the league table to find out whether Taiwan has enough trustworthy people to create prosperity.

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<>Perhaps The Reader's Digest meant well. The feature might have been intended to be an entertaining story to help boost circulation. After all, it isn't a serious research report. But it was twisted by Taipei's biased media into fodder for their Ma-bashing. They selectively reported on what they needed to continue ridiculing the beleaguered president, who is trying what he can to win back the trust his more than seven million supporters had placed in him by electing him president two years ago.According to the monthly, Ma ranks third in the league table when its readers were asked to single out one leader out of the 80. If all 80 are graded, he is the second most trusted political leader, next only to Wang Chien-hsuan, president of the Control Yuan. Moreover, Ma is significantly much more trusted than any of the opposition party leaders, including Su Tseng-chang, its top presidential contender, and Tsai Ing-wen, its chairwoman, with former President Chen Shui-bian at the bottom of the list. Overall, however, Ma ranks thirty-seventh, three notches below Lin Chih-ling, Taiwan's most beautiful model and its version of Naomi Campbell.

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<>There is little doubt that The Reader's Digest reports what it has found. But practically all the media in Taipei merely quoted the magazine as reporting Ma is less trusted than the top model of the country. Nothing was mentioned about his better league table positions.

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<>Worse still, almost all political commentators, few of them among the 80 leaders and those on the list not ranked high, opined on TV talk shows and elsewhere that Ma was chosen as the third most trusted leader overall, next only to the Reverend Cheng Yen and Professor Lee Chia-tung, only because the readers have been required to single out the most trusted one and they certainly were swayed by his high name recognition as president of the republic. A political commentator, Wang Hao-wei, was even quoted by the monthly as attributing Ma's high position to his popularity among "many Ma fans." Aren't movie director Ang Lee, ex-Yankees pitcher Wang Chien-ming, TV hostess Chang Hsiao-yen and Miss Lin much higher than Ma in ranking simply because they have lots and lots more fans than President Ma? Isn't The Reader's Digest also a little biased by quoting only Wang Hao-wei and Nan Fang Suo, who believe Ma's high name recognition pushed his place up to third?

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<>We don't believe there's a concerted effort on the part of the media to pick faults with President Ma. But the coverage of news about the president is, without a shadow of a doubt, unfair and detrimental to freedom of the press. Remember a CNN poll on Ma's efficiency as president in the wake of Taiwan's worst flood disaster in history in August last year? Hundreds of people were buried alive after Typhoon Morakot had sideswiped Taiwan and everybody blamed Ma for inaction in dealing with the rescue and relief of the flood victims. The poll even suggested the people would not reelect President Ma. Perhaps the trusted American cable TV network was lured into jumping on the Ma-bashing wagon that started rolling out almost immediately after he was sworn in on May 20, 2008.

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<>〈本文仅供参考,不代表本会立场〉

 

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