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Sunday, November 26, 2006


Blatant propaganda from Beijing

This trashy propaganda is characteristic of right-wing zealots who are interested only in slander and character assassination of those whose views or philosophies differ from or are in contradiction to theirs.
- American poet Amiri Baraka, purportedly writing about something completely different

There are some who call me... Nostra-Timmus?
In a post early Saturday morning, I "foresaw" the inevitable:
And don't forget, when you read that President Chen "survived a third recall attempt" in Saturday's papers, it means little more than he "walked on barely warm coals while wearing fireproof boots."
Lo and behold, a comment by Kerim Friedman (Keywords) led me to a reeking, (admittedly day-old), full rubbish bin from Jonathan Watts in Guardian Unlimited which ran under a red banner absurdly reading "Special Report China" and which bore a lede that was about as jam-packed with propaganda as it could possibly be:
The Taiwanese president survived with just one MP's support and his weakness could make him dangerous, writes Jonathan Watts
That's pretty base. How low can Watts go?
As I pointed out in my reply to Kerim, this Watts character is based in Beijing, and the propaganda that comes through his article couldn't be any thicker if his true love were to be found in the pockets of the Chinese Communist Party. That's four points of five-star propaganda -- just in the intro!

But, guess what. The propaganda does grow even thicker as Watts strokes it for every last gooey drop.

Put away your handkerchiefs, and get out your vomit bags
Here I've extracted just the propaganda -- and for the sake of your health, this is only from the first half of the article:
Pyrrhic victories ... painful ... humiliating distinction ... support of only one member ...

Bruised, unpopular and outmanoeuvred ... increasingly wobbly - and possibly dangerous ...


... Mr Chen can take no comfort in the manner of his survival. A majority of parliamentarians voted against him. ... Only one came out solidly on the side of the president with a "no" vote.

... a new low point for Mr Chen ... calamitous year ... his wife charged with corruption, his approval rating slip below 20% and many of his most powerful overseas supporters in the US turn their backs on him.

It is a far cry from 2000 ... Hopes were high then that he would end the corrupt practices of the previous Kuomintang administration ...
There are actually six more paragraphs of this nonsense. (Go read the whole thing to see how little I actually removed from those early paragraphs, but be sure to rehydrate at some point along the way.)

There's simply too much in there to take it apart in detail, but if you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll know what's innuendo (indictment doesn't equal guilt, the charges are based on selective leaks by rather corrupt political opponents, the "questionable" receipts were supposedly used to account for funds spent on secret diplomatic missions, the Ministry of Audit said to use those receipts before they said not to, etc.), what's distortion (the low "approval rating" comes from polls done by pan-blue media outlets, the "majority" who voted to recall Chen was 100% partisan, 100 legislators either abstained from voting or purposely cast invalid ballots, there was a huge corruption conviction of a Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT] legislator on Friday which has been several years in the making, etc.), and what are outright lies. (Could Watts name a single "powerful overseas supporter" who turned their back on Chen? "[D]angerous"? Get the fuck outta here!)

Just open up your eyes, and you'll see
Saturday's Taipei Times presents their editors' impression that Beijing is being "silent" on the Chen recall idiocy. They're obviously not looking in the right places. Despite the omission of "Beijing" in the dateline of Watts' piece, the "rhetoric with Chinese characteristics" is as plain as the nose on my face.

Watts' brighter side?
I have actually seen some writing by Watts that is somewhat critical of Beijing (which is probably difficult to do under the circumstances -- here's more of his writing), but it's abundantly clear that he shouldn't be writing about anything related to Taiwan, because the CCP leaders could hardly have done a better job smearing Chen Shui-bian.

Take Action!
Instead of keeping your feelings bottled up inside or going to your window and screaming "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" read Watts' article for yourself, draw your own conclusions, and only after doing so of your own volition, feel free to make use of the information below to verbally express your feelings. Also, try to be more polite than Watts was honest, as it won't be him with whom you're communicating.

Guardian Unlimited
119 Farringdon Road
London EC1R 3ER
United Kingdom
PHONE: 020-7278 2332

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

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At 5:33 PM, Blogger Kerim Friedman said...

The correct contact for complaints is as follows:

How to contact the Guardian's readers' editor

It is the policy of the Guardian to correct significant errors as soon as possible and the paper has appointed a Readers' Editor to deal with questions and complaints from readers. The Guardian also has an Ombudsman to represent the interests of readers where the Readers Editor is unable to resolve a problem to the satisfaction of all parties.

Please quote the date of the article you have read. Readers may contact the office of the readers' editor by telephoning +44 (0)20 7713 4736 between 11am and 5pm Monday to Friday excluding UK public holidays.

Email: reader@guardian.co.uk
Fax: 020-7239 9997.

Ian Mayes
The Guardian
119 Farringdon Road
London EC1R 3ER

At 9:24 PM, Blogger Tim Maddog said...

Thanks for the info, Kerim. The page where I got the info I posted above said this:
- - -
Contact the editors
Please email only the specific person or department you wish to reach. If you are unsure who to contact, send your email to userhelp@guardian.co.uk

- - -

For the benefit of others, one of these two pages [1, 2] seems to be where Kerim got his info -- and it looks like a better choice. Looking at the ombudsman's opinions about bylines, some of you might want to ask him about the lack of a location in the dateline of Watts' article.

Read about The Guardian's "editorial code" here, and keep an eye on this page for their "most recent corrections and clarifications."

Tim Maddog


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