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Friday, September 15, 2006


BBC still not getting Taiwan right

Still making unconvincing excuses

After two posts (on both INDIAC and Taiwan Matters!) about Catherine Gluck's very one-sided BBC article which failed to challenge the lies spoon-fed to her by Shih Ming-teh's crazed anti-democratic campaign in Taipei to "depose" the democratically-elected president of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian, the BBC still hasn't posted any comments to the original article and is still pretending that they're trying hard to get it right.

I'm still not buying it.

Smoke and mirrors won't do
In response to my e-mail back to the BBC about the still-missing comments, I received another e-mail, this time from Samanthi Dissanayake. At first glance, the e-mail appears to display genuine concern and interest, but it takes only a slightly closer look to see a less attractive side.

Let's do a point-by-point analysis of Dissanayake's letter.
Dear Tim,

Thanks very much for your emails. I'm sorry that you didn't see any comments posted. Actually, when we put a postform on a story it is largely because we want to collect people's views and experiences for a more substantial piece - so it would amount to more than comments posted at the end of an article.
First, I didn't just "not see" any comments. They really weren't there! Next, what was Gluck's 31-paragraph article -- some kind of a "quick take"? It seems to have done "substantial" damage, nonetheless.

Dissanayake continues:
In this situation, we avoid putting comments up on the story immediately, because we want to use some of the best comments and people for a longer-form piece.
Again, she treats Gluck's article on an anti-democratic attempt to depose a democratically-elected president as relatively unimportant. The choice of the word "immediately" also rings hollow. A whole week has passed since Gluck's article -- practically an eternity in the news business -- and Shih's mendacious campaign of hate has been cheered on by Taiwan's pan-blue media for a whole month now. And while Dissanayake might want to save "some of the best comments," I'm confident that there were enough comments submitted to that article that they could have put up 40 or 50 without even touching "the best" ones.

Let's see what else she has to say about things which don't exist.
When we put up a debate that is also on the Have Your Say page, then we do have the ability to post up most of the comments sent in. Perhaps we should have done a debate in this instance.
As I already mentioned, there are exactly zero comments below the original article, and there are only four Asia stories on the "Have Your Say" page. (Continue reading to see about the "debate" part.)
I am very interested in doing some kind of piece on the political situation in Taiwan and this involves exactly the sort of conversations you recommend we have with people outside Taipei.
They just failed miserably at uncovering the truth about what's going on in Taiwan. They failed so badly, it looked like it was on purpose! Why would I trust them to do a better job this time? Does Dissanayake have special knowledge of Taiwan's situation that she can bring? What does she know about Taiwan? Anything that would let her write (or even edit) a serious piece on Taiwan politics? Let's check, shall we?

A Google search for [Samanthi Dissanayake Taiwan] only comes up with five hits, none of which seem to show that she has actually even written anything about Taiwan at all. Absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence, but those results are not too promising. Let's try an image search.

A Google image search for [Samanthi Dissanayake] brings up three hits, all related to Hong Kong.

Even using BBC's own search function to look for [Samanthi Dissanayake Taiwan] brings up nothing where she writes about Taiwan. Does the BBC expect to fix the damage done by an unquestioning reporter by replacing her with one who has no experience reporting on Taiwan, or are they doing it on purpose, expecting most people to not notice?

Further searching brought me to a page by someone who received a similar reply from Dissanayake, but the author of that post seems to have bought her story in the long run. I'm certainly more skeptical than that of the reasons for the unbalanced reports.

Getting back to her e-mail to me, she still fails to impress:
I will certainly be getting back to a number of people who emailed the debate to get a sense of their views. We are very eager to represent the variety of opinion there.
Wait! I thought she just said "we should have done a debate." And why is the part about "getting back to" these people still being stated in the future tense? She's already ignored them for an entire week.

Nearing the end of the e-mail, she's still ignoring the obvious:
I was wondering if you would also be willing to talk to me? Are you in Taiwan? What are you doing there?
This was contained in the bottom of her reply in the section which quoted my previous e-mail:
- - -
> >From: Tim Maddog
> >Email address: [myname] [at] hotmail [dot] com
> >Country: Taiwan
>Tim Maddog, Taiwan
- - -

Notice the extreme lack of attention to detail there. Does it look like she did a bit of skimming? Does she expect me to trust her to do an accurate piece on anything?

In closing, I get this:
I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

BBC News website
Be careful what you wish for. You might get an earful.

I think I will write back and let her read this post -- and this and this and this and this.

Details that need attention: , , , , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


At 5:04 AM, Blogger Taiwan Echo said...

Thanks for the effort, Tim.

At 6:02 PM, Blogger The Person Behind the Blog said...

you dont need to point-anaylze a bloody email you know


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