Friday, June 29, 2007

Callick Scores one for Beijing Correspondents

Taiwan blogger Tetsuo once observed that getting Taiwan reporting from your Beijing correspondent is like getting inside the Beltway reporting from your Melbourne correspondent. Usually Beijing correspondents of major media entities are hopeless at reporting on Taiwan, but a notable exception is Rowan Callick of The Australian, who has a pretty good piece with some minor errors yesterday in his paper:

The two presidential candidates named by the main parties, Chen's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the KMT, are respectively Frank Hsieh, a former mayor of second city Kaohsiung, and Ma Ying-jeou, until recently mayor of Taipei. Both are lawyers who studied together for their first degrees. Both are moderates, pointing to a period of less volatility and rowdiness in the recently bitter political rivalry. It looks like being a close contest, holding out the prospect of a fresh basis for talks with Beijing, whoever wins.

Ma, who has worked in New York and speaks fluent English, is a tall, well groomed, handsome 57-year-old whose earlier Kennedy-esque aura has diminished as the political encounters have become more bruising. He admits Taiwan's democracy looks "vibrant and energetic, though sometimes a little bit rowdy", with its frequent television shots of fisticuffs in parliament. But he says that assuredly "democracy is here to stay."


That annoying love affair correspondents have with Ma is alive and well here (Kennedy-esque? Hey, I knew Jack Kennedy, and Ma is no Jack Kennedy!), but note also that Ma is called a lawyer although he has never passed the bar or practiced law. Note too that both Ma and Hsieh are presented as moderates.....Callick lets both sides speak for themselves throughout the piece, instead of making Beijing-centric judgments, as Peter Ford at the CS Monitor did in his recent piece I blogged on earlier this week. It's long, detailed, and much better than stuff we've been seeing recently in the international media.

7 comments:

walter said...

Hey Michael I think you need to check this out seriously:


http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9407806


If the link doesn't pull up right, then type in Still No.1.


It's interesting and it was written by your favorite "Economist".

I think you should analyze that. Seriously.

walter said...

If the link doesn't pull up right, then type in: Still No.1.


It's interesting and it was written by your favorite "Economist".

I think you should analyze that. Seriously.

Zyzyx said...

Any reporting on Taiwan should also take into account the Beijing view, which is a valid view and shared by more people than the Taipei views. Journalism is about reporting truth. The same can be said about reporters located in Taiwan: they are hopelessly pro-Taiwan and anti-China.

channing said...

Media in Taiwan is much more varied in "opinion," but considering the socioeconomic clout of China on the world stage, good luck getting the world off of its Beijing bias.

1.3 billion pop. / 23 million pop. = 56.52 times as powerful by population

$8.8 trillion / $645 billion = 13.64 times as powerful by economic output

I would expect the media bias to be 10~60 times in favor of the PRC.

walter said...

"Any reporting on Taiwan should also take into account the Beijing view, which is a valid view and shared by more people than the Taipei views. Journalism is about reporting truth. "


ROFL...

interested observer said...

C'mon zyx, reporting on Taiwan by Beijing-based correspondents actually needs to display some real understanding of that local scene and it rarely does as the reporters are usually filing frm Beijing or making a lightning trip to the island. There's PLENTY out there that runs the Beijing line so don't worry, it will always be in the majority. And since whendoes a supposed majority automatically equal 'the truth' - ever heard of groupthink?

interested observer said...

And I suppose the odd well-drafted piece by Beijing-based journo is still better than some of the stuff the FT files from Taipei...