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Thursday, November 16, 2006


Mike Chinoy distorts Taiwan's democracy

Appeal to the mustache

Mike Chinoy has reared his big head again, and as usual, the lies that accompany his presence are also big. At the very top of the index page of AsiaMedia today, there is an article about Taiwan which portrays Chinoy as the sage of all things Asian and media-related ("former CNN Beijing Bureau Chief," "veteran journalists," "has lived in and reported on Asia for nearly thirty years and won an Emmy and Peabody award for his 1989 coverage of the violence in Tiananmen Square"). This is a faulty "appeal to authority" because both Chinoy's authority and his claims are called into question by the facts.

Here's Chinoy's whopper:
Chinoy said that the contentious nature of politics in Taiwan hurts the country's progess. A reigning party will unlikely gain support from an opposing party for the sake of political power. An event such as U.S. president George Bush's acknowledgment of the Democrats' victory in last Tuesday's midterm election, for example, would never happen in Taiwan. Chinoy explained, "In Taiwan, such gestures would be almost inconceivable. It's one of the darker and more worrying signs [in Taiwan's democratic process]."
Carefully note how Chinoy paints Taiwan's democracy as both "dark" and "worrying" -- exactly the kind of portrayal China thrives on. If you are under the false impression that Chinoy knows more than you and is opening your eyes with his vast knowledge, there's one thing that will readily knock that misconception on its ass -- the truth. Open your eyes wide, and see for yourself what he's not telling you.

7'34" YouTube video: "1998阿扁台北市長落選珍貴影片"
[My translation: "1998 A-bian Taipei mayoral election loss, video rarity"]
Click "Play" at lower left to load the video here.
Click on the screen to open the video in a new browser window.
(I suggest hitting "Pause" until the video loads fully.)
Click here to download the latest version of Adobe Flash.
Click here for YouTube help.

Yes, dear reader. Not only can it happen here -- it has already happened! Even if you don't speak Chinese, you can see that when Chen Shui-bian lost the Taipei mayoral election in 1998, he did so in an incredibly graceful manner. You can also see that his supporters behaved calmly and rationally and accepted the results of that election which left Taipei in the hands of Ma Ying-jeou, who is currently ("Surprise, surprise, surprise!!") being investigated on the same type of corruption allegations which he has been flinging in the direction of President Chen for the past two months.

It ain't the first time, baby
I couldn't find any video of it right off, but Chen did pretty much the same thing after the legislative elections in December 2004. Coincidentally (?), I was also writing about Chinoy's bullshit right around that time, too.

Taiwan's ugly other side
On the other hand, if you dishonestly equate Taiwan with the despicable KMT, Chinoy might have a point. But that's not the reality, despite the media's frequent phrasings which make it seem like that's the case.

For the sake of comparison, let's see what happened when the pan-blue ticket failed to regain office for the second time in a row in what was only Taiwan's third direct presidential election in history as well as the third loss in a row for pro-unification candidates.

2'04" YouTube video: "換掉"
[My translation: "Get them out of here"]

Even if you don't understand Chinese or Taiwanese, you should still be able to spot the difference immediately. For the benefit of readers who lack those language abilities, Lien Chan is seen in the beginning of the video stirring up his supporters with shouts of "Annul the election!" shortly after TV news reported that he lost. His vice-presidential running mate James Soong is then seen rousing the rabble with the violent declaration that he wants them to accompany him to go "Break into the Presidential Office!" Their incitement led to weeks of riots by their supporters, scenes of which appear throughout the above video. The images are accompanied by a Taiwanese-language parody of Alex To's song "脫掉" ("Take it off") which replaces the main chorus with the words "趕快換掉" ("Get the f*** rid of them").

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Another thing to keep in mind is that these guys, who've been crying for their mommyland since they lost their civil war in China back in 1949 -- identify themselves as "Chinese."

No, dear reader, the KMT does not -- by any means -- equal Taiwan.

What is happening in his head?
Does Mike Chinoy equate Taiwan with the KMT? Judging by both his past and present distortions, one could easily draw that conclusion.

It's interesting to note that Chinoy is also currently employed by Taiwan-based ETTV. It makes me wonder just how many steps (or should I say "how few"?) it would take for the money to travel between the KMT and Chinoy's pockets. [See UPDATE, below.]

Related note
The current index page of AsiaMedia links to my letter to the editor I wrote on November 11, 2006.

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Here's what I sent to them. (Note: The online version was edited slightly.):
RE: http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=57058
- - -
TAIWAN: It's time to go, say newspapers

Taipei Times and newspapers call for Chen's resignation
- - -

What a deceptive headline! Despite being based in Taiwan, how can you imply that the *China* Post or the *China* Times are "Taiwan's" newspapers? The Taipei Times, as the body of the article says, merely "appears to nudge" Chen in that direction. Appearances can be quite deceiving. This editorial cartoon tells quite a different story:
[Pan-blue media toward Pres. Chen: "Guilty, guilty, guilty"]

Providing links to the sources of such quotes (and not just to their index page) would allow readers to judge for themselves if such comments are accurate.
I'm quite surprised they published it at all, much less linked to it from their index page. Still, it was pretty awful to begin with for them to say that somebody (the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post) said that somebody else (China Post, China Times) said something ("We've hated you forever, and we still hate you") about somebody (Chen Shui-bian) -- and didn't provide nearly enough specifics. In fact, the part about the Taipei Times was plainly deceptive, as the editorial cartoon from 4 days later demonstrates. In that cartoon, they point out clearly that it's the pan-blue media who have declared Chen "guilty."

UPDATE: I neglected to mention that ETTV is the channel which gave the largest false lead to Lien Chan and James Soong before official results came out in Taiwan's 2004 Presidential Election. The chairman of parent company Eastern Multimedia, Gary Wang, is a former KMT legislator whose father Wang You-tseng was a member of the KMT's Central Standing Committee as recently as July 2006. Mike Chinoy had left CNN earlier this year to work for the Pacific Council on International Policy [Board of Directors, Contributors, FAQ, Members, Mission] as an Edgerton Fellow [The Edgerton Foundation].

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

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At 2:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The full title of the KMT is the Chinese Nationalist Party. Why shouldn't they call themselves Chinese?

The pan-Blue parties have, with the lone exception of 2004, received support from more than half of Taiwanese voters.

Who are you to tell the Taiwanese what it means to be Taiwanese,or Chinese?

At 5:21 AM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

It's deconstruction time...

An anonymous commenter wrote:
- - -
The full title of the KMT is the Chinese Nationalist Party. Why shouldn't they call themselves Chinese?
- - -

I never said they shouldn't, Mr. Red Herring. In fact, if you check my most recent post prior to this one, you'll see this:
- - -
12) The full name of the "Nationalist Party" to which our fully-unnamed writer refers is the "Chinese Nationalist Party," also known as the KMT or Kuomintang. Trying to make it harder to Google up their long history of murder and oppression, eh? Nice try.
- - -

For the sake of repetition, I'll repeat myself (once more): Nice try.

The anonymous commenter continued:
- - -
The pan-Blue parties have, with the lone exception of 2004, received support from more than half of Taiwanese voters.
- - -

What's your point here? Are you only referring to presidential elections (all 3 of them)? Do you have any actual understanding of why that has happened when it has? Care to predict the 2008 presidential election results? Personally, I'm thinking that it won't be someone who has been mayor of Taipei. (Hint: it has something to do with the current Taipei mayor's pro-unification stance.)

The anonymous commenter just didn't know when to stop:
- - -
Who are you to tell the Taiwanese what it means to be Taiwanese,or Chinese?
- - -

Mr. Strawman, I presume? I never said any such thing. The point which I assume is related to this comment have to do with those specific foreigners from China who, unlike me, don't consider Taiwan as their permanent home.

My summation of that point also seems to have snuck by you:
- - -
No, dear reader, the KMT does not -- by any means -- equal Taiwan.
- - -

... and that was related to my perception that Mike Chinoy was equating the two. Get it?

Tim Maddog

At 9:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah yes, Mike Chinoy... the mutant byproduct of pseudoscience and pseudojournalism... more mustache than man.

At 12:36 PM, Blogger Michael Turton said...

Thanks,Maddog. Chinoy is employed by ETTV? LOL. Didn't know that.


At 8:53 AM, Blogger Michael Turton said...

I just popped this in at Asia Media




To this long time observer of the foreign media and Taiwan, the "Taiwan Media Forum" hosted by Mike Chinoy and Tom Plate itself was a sterling example of the foreign media's ongoing inability to get Taiwan right. First, instead of featuring an experienced reporter or media critic from Taiwan, it featured two Americans whose careers no one would describe as Taiwan-centered. Indeed, Mike Chinoy exemplifies the foreign media's turning to Beijing and Hong Kong-based correspondents for expertise on Taiwan, as if they know anything about it.

Chinoy himself is a perfect example of how partisan viewpoints smuggle themselves into "nonpartisan" media -- Chinoy apparently has connections to the local Taiwan pro-KMT TV station ETTV -- were those made clear to the audience at the forum? Like most foreign correspondents who have made a career of being based elsewhere, Chinoy cannot get Taiwan right. He stated:

"An event such as U.S. president George Bush's acknowledgment of the Democrats' victory in last Tuesday's midterm election, for example, would never happen in Taiwan. Chinoy explained, "In Taiwan, such gestures would be almost inconceivable. It's one of the darker and more worrying signs [in Taiwan's democratic process]."

"Inconceivable!" Rank nonsense. In fact, it is the norm for the losing side in Taiwan elections to give way gracefully -- one recalls Chen Shui-bian's generous concession speech to Ma Ying-jeou in 1998, for example. The smooth transfers of officer after the local and legislative elections held regularly since 2000 were left out of the foreign media (naturally). Only in the Presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 did the KMT and its allies protest nastily, probably to cover the fact that they blew two elections they should have won. In both cases the protests were led by politicians who have opposed democracy for most of their adult lives. Chinoy has mistaken the enemies of democracy for the dark side of democracy. The politics of that error should be obvious.

Similarly, Tom Plate's illustration of China's desire to make Taiwan the "last piece" of its missing homeland shows how partisan viewpoints become Establishment Wisdom. No ethnic Chinese emperor ever ruled Taiwan, and China has no valid historical or legal claim to the island. Hence, Plate's analysis of history presents a pro-China view of it. As Jerome Keating has noted in these very pages, the constant repetition of "China, which views Taiwan as a renegade province" serves as free propaganda for China, since no one ever reports on "Taiwan, which views China as a corrupt, authoritarian, expansionist state..."

It is sad that the media forum chose to draw its commentators from the Establishment Media who remain unable to get Taiwan right, when there are so many Taiwan-based journalists -- Bo Tedards, Michael Fahey, Lawrence Eyton, to name only a few -- along with innumberable bloggers in both Chinese and English who follow the follies of the foreign media, and who would have been happy to participate in such an event. They may not have Chinoy's star status, but they actually do know something about Taiwan. I hope the next forum does a better job of serving its audience.

Michael Turton
The View from Taiwan

At 7:38 PM, Blogger Trace said...

Maddog would vote for David Dukes!

I have lived in Taipei for over 20 years, I have a Taiwanese wife and we supported Chen in 2000. We dont like the KMT but we are deeply disapointed in Mr. Chen and his agenda of ignoring the people's livlihood in Taiwan for sake of teaching half of TAIWAN TO BE RACISTS. I have watched this in horror over the past 6 years - here is a president that knows his victory's in both 200 and 2004 were flukes so his only concern is to create ethnic division to ensure future votes based on manufactured hatred between the masses. - This is and using ethnicly charged human tragedies of the past involving an "opposition" to his rule are classic Halmarks of a true "Dictator".

In a dilema, I dont know what is worse, supporting a racist, inept corrupt fraud (Pres. Chen) or supporting a party that has a simialar past record with more corruption and less inept?

Considering 8 people jumped to their deaths from the roof tops of the community of BaDu (where my wifes parents here live), all except one being due to the complete collapse of livlihoods of family's I do beleive My wifes family will grudgingly vote KMT next go around.

Its a bitter pill but anything is better than President Chen.


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