Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The DPP Denounces the Media but Shirks Its Responsibility

The DPP Denounces the Media but Shirks Its Responsibility
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
June 24, 2009

The DPP has made a habit of stepping in the blood of the media to reach its goal. This is not news. Years ago the DPP, motivated by of selfish political interest, ripped up newspapers and threatened boycotts. After eight years in power, the DPP regime has left behind a sorrry record of raids against the media, lawsuits against the media, and naked coercion against the media. It resorted to every means at its disposal. This old dog has now run out of tricks. Most disappointing of all, the person who pointed the finger at the media today was none other than Party Chairman Tsai Ing-wen, long assumed to be a moderate centrist. She shirked her duty as leader of the opposition.

Tsai Ing-wen accused the China Times of failing to criticize the Ma administration's policies, while deliberately exaggerating power struggles between the DPP Chairman and DPP leaders. She denied coming to Chen Shui-bian's aid only in order to cling the Party Chairmanship. She accused the China Times of attempting to provoke internecine conflict, and of attempting to undermine the image of the party.

We cannot understand why Chairman Tsai made such allegations. Is the election of the chairman of the DPP a subject that the media is not permitted to report and comment on? Did Chairman Tsai read the China Times? If she did, she knows perfectly well the China Times never said the DPP signature drive was launched in order to consolidate Tsai's position as party chairman. Why did she think it was? Could it be she has deep feelings of insecurity? Could it be she harbors an inordinate hosility towards the China Times? We do not wish to speculate. We merely wish to remind Chairman Tsai that the Chairmanship of the DPP has always been a focus of media attention. It makes no difference whether the DPP is power or in the opposition. Years ago, when other media dared not speak on behalf of the Democratic Progressive Party, the China Times held a debate on the Democratic Progressive Party Chairman election. It did so for a simple reason. Taiwan needs a healthy opposition party.

Unfortunately, the Democratic Progressive Party, after eight years in power, is attempting to block media coverage of the Democratic Progressive Party chairman election. Even more unfortunately, the person attempting to muzzle the media is someone who was once Vice President of the Executive Yuan.

Chairman Tsai cannot deny the existence of the Democratic Progressive Party signature drive. The China Times has never evaded the media's responsibility to offer forthright criticisms. Ever since the Chen corruption case exploded, we have been consistent. We expect the DPP to live up to its reputation as a native political party committed to clean government. We want the Democratic Progressive Party to have a clear understanding of the Chen corruption case. We are criticizing the Democratic Progressive Party for failing to emerge from Chen Shui-bian's shadow. We have warned DPP leaders not to sacrifice the DPP in order to shield Chen Shui-bian from prosecution. They must not bury the hopes the public have for a native political party.

After all, the Democratic Progressive Party is supposed to be an asset to Taiwan. It is not supposed to be an asset to Chen Shui-bian. It is not supposed to be an asset to this or that local party boss. We would like to ask Chairman Tsai a question. Just because the China Times holds different views than Tsai on how to save the DPP, is it really necessary to villify the China Times so disproportionately?

Various and sundry Democratic Progressive Party "princes" are fighting over the party chairmanship. Should the media ignore this? If no one expectated anything from the Democratic Progressive Party, if it was dispensable, then no one would bother running for party chairman. After eight years in power, the Democratic Progressive Party is again in the opposition. But the Green Camp "princes" have thrown their hats in the ring. For the DPP this ought to be a gratifying development. Or does Chairman Tsai expect the DPP to give its overwhelming support to Tsai Ing-wen, the way the Kuomintang gave its support to Ma Ying-jeou?

The China Times is a media organization. It has high expectations of the DPP. That is why its criticisms are so severe. It could ignore the struggle among Green Camp "princes" for the DPP party chairmanship, as well as Chairman Tsai's fierce and irrational remarks. We have no desire to engage in wild speculation. But before Chairman Tsai criticizes us, shouldn't she ask herself whether anyone else in the Democratic Progressive Party wants to run for party chairman? Does Chairman Tsai intend to seek a second term? Is she hoping the other "princes" will bow out? No matter what the truth might be, as a member of the media, are we supposed to refrain from reporting and commenting?

Tsai Ing-wen became an official during the KMT era. She was former President Lee Teng-hui's chief of staff. Her experience and professionalism have distinguished her from past politicians. Because of her professionalism and her restrained and precise manner of speech, both Blue and Green Camp leaders and officials find it difficult to speak ill of her. She should not be a populist rabble-rouser. She should not attempt to mobilze Deep Green Taiwan independence zealots. She should pay close attention to her political methods. She should persuade centrist voters to lean toward the Democratic Progressive Party. Following the 2008 presidential election, the Democratic Progressive Party "princes" stepped down. This allowed her to take over the unfamiliar duties of party leader under calm conditions. Why did they do so, if not because they hoped she would lead the Democratic Progressive Party down a different path? Alas, Tsai Ing-wen has backed off.

Does Tsai Ing-wen intend to seek a second term as DPP Chairman? The Democratic Progressive Party "princes" are fighting over the party chairmanship. These are matters of public interest. Is the China Times wrong to report on the heated party chairmanship election?

Tsai Ing-wen accused the China Times of failing to criticize the Ma administration's policies. She was dead wrong. First, the China Times has never pulled its punches when criticizing the ruling administration. The China Times is keeping a close eye on the one man KMT chairmanship election. Secondly, to paraphrase Green Camp "prince" and former Premier Su Tseng-chang: Criticizing the KMT will not restore the DPP to power. Criticizing the media will not absolve the opposition party of its responsibilities.

中時電子報 新聞
中國時報  2009.06.24
社論-光靠罵媒體 卸不了在野黨責任












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