Google Groups no longer supports new Usenet posts or subscriptions. Historical content remains viewable.

Blooming Western Manufacturing.. Creating"Reality"to fit Western official script

Skip to first unread message


Feb 22, 2024, 12:52:39 PMFeb 22
"In recent years, as tensions between China and Taiwan have reached historic highs, foreign journalists have flocked to Taiwan to capture life inside a geopolitical flash point. In January, more than 200 journalists from 28 countries arrived to cover the 2024 presidential election. Yet many of these short-term, visiting journalists distort the reality on the ground. They depict the island as the centerpiece of a drama that they’ve already made up their minds about, often inflating tensions and asking leading questions for heightened effect. And the fixers are brought on as the stagehands, charged with providing the backdrop for pre-written narratives.

Because Taiwan is commonly framed as the flash point of potential world war, most television producers want access to a shooting range, a bomb shelter, or a military base. Many fly to the outlying islands of Kinmen or Matsu in hopes of hopping on a boat to catch a glimpse of the Chinese shore.

“It’s like ordering from a menu—they see something that someone has covered before and want the same thing,” said Jesse, a veteran Taiwanese fixer. (Jesse’s name has been changed due to his concerns about possible impacts on his professional relationships.)

“You watch the news and see footage of war planes, and it seems like it’s tense on the ground here in Taiwan,” said Tina Liu, a Taiwanese journalist who took on her first fixing gig with an Italian outlet this year. “But it really isn’t. And even though it isn’t, people are still pursing that tense atmosphere.”
Yet normalcy just doesn’t make for good television. So I’ve been charged with conjuring up action-packed scenes for video, and I often have to push back. Eight other Taiwan-based fixers I spoke with also said they have, on occasion, been coerced to help produce scenes that were inappropriate, not reflective of the truth, or even flat-out sensationalist.
“I’ve heard of journalists pushing interviewees to answer certain questions about China-Taiwan relations,” said Alicia Chen, a Taiwanese freelance journalist, who spoke out on X (formerly Twitter) about disrespect, lack of credit, and poor communication with a visiting correspondent in January. “And if the interviewee didn’t want to comment, they would keep repeating or rephrasing the question until the interviewee said the words they wanted to hear.”
The pursuit of a good sound bite often trumps a balanced story. Taipei-based stringer and photographer Annabelle Chih said that many visiting producers falsely assume that Taiwanese people are divided into two camps: pro-unification and pro-independence. Yet neither of the island’s two major political parties—the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Kuomintang (KMT)—endorse a declaration of independence, nor are they advocates for unification. Even though the parties differ wildly in their views on China, they’re both strategically ambiguous. The DPP assumes that Taiwan is already independent; the KMT has a more conciliatory approach and insists on peaceful dialogue with the Chinese mainland."
0 new messages