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With the development of communications technology through the internet, it is very easy nowadays to be linked to the entire world and get news as they happen. This is a very strong development which impacts people’s lives deeply, since when a few years in the past we had only limited access to information concerning the things taking place in various parts of the universe, now there are ever different reports from various sources about the same story. This is very important for the consumer of the news because it makes it possible to get a wide scope of perceptions concerning the same story and through reading, the consumer can attain a comprehensive view about the event. All the same, it also implies that people must exercise caution in their choice of news and make an effort to get wind of where it originates from and make adjustment of their thoughts on it based on that. It is because of this that for this essay I have chosen seven articles about Taiwan’s 2008 presidential elections.
Politics and governance form a very integral part in the stability of any country both socially and economically. The social and economic aspects are very important at the international level for any country seeking good relations with others. Therefore the elections carried out within a country affect such matters as foreign policy on different dimensions. Taiwan's 2008 Presidential Election is one such event that was characterized with such interests in the internal realm and as expected, the international arm expressed interest in the way the politics and elections of Taiwan as at then developed. In developing these stories and events, the media plays a very important role in influencing the response of the masses and the view held towards them. Well, the position of the press conference is not always right and may at times be characterized with flaws. There are very important things that could be left out in the mass media reports or a report of false and imprecise material. The Taiwan's 2008 Presidential Election was not an exception since it experienced mixed reactions from different media reports.
Dumbaugh (pp. 1-6) reported a huge turnout of voters in Taiwan where Mr. Ma
Ying-jeou was elected on the Nationalist (KMT) Party. Economic issues were the main cause of agenda in the politics as reported by Dumbaugh (pp. 1-6). The CRS Report for Congress stated that Ma out-polled the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate, Frank Hsieh with a vote margin of 2.2 million (Dumbaugh (pp. 1-6). This victory over the pro-independence party was seen as a further denial of the DPP leader and the eight-year record of president of Taiwan focus on the pro-independence agenda of politics without regard for the economic issues. The CRS Report for Congress further reiterated that the elected president Ma had made promises to develop the economic performance of Taiwan and enhance the ruined relationships with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and also deal with any annoyances in the relations between the country and the United States emanating from the Chen Administration.
In what was seen as an already determined result, the Asian Pacific News agent reported that the Taiwan polls on presidential elections had a history of foretelling the final outcomes comparatively accurately. Earlier on before the elections, the opinion polls showed that Ma was ahead of Frank by 20 points and he ultimately won the election by about 17 per cent points (Asia Pacific News, par. 2-6). By this perception, the masses were meant to believe that the firms conducting the polls were authentic and precise in their operations. On the contrary, Kwong (par. 4-6) reported that a former DPP vice-president Annette Lu had high hopes that DPP would offer enough competition to KMT. The main reason for this was in the allegations that the opinion polls that came prior to the election did not consider the votes of the Taiwanese who lived and worked in China. All the same, about 200,000 Taiwanese working in China reportedly supported Mr.Ma and on their return to Taiwan voted for him. Many people have in the recent times believed that opinion polls could be politically influenced to give a misguided verdict. Well, that position held in the Asian Pacific News agency may have had a significant effect in future elections amongst the voters.
In a New York Times article, “Taiwan Election May Ease Tensions with China”, Lague (par. 2-5) highlighted on the possibility of China gaining from the Taiwan elections. Lague actually presented views that appeared to be like a defining moment for China as far as Taiwan was concerned. The opinion expressed on this press material stated that China considered the island as a section of its territory and had declined to rule out the use of power in the event that Taiwan declared formal independence or even delayed moves towards reunification (Lague, par. 3-6). Lague further reiterated that analysts alleged some people in Taiwan held fears that the approach used by Mr. Chen was hindering the businesses of the island from profiting fully from the economic boom of the mainland. The views presented in this media source seemingly decided that the approach had boosted few economic yields for Taiwan and could have isolated it politically even the more. Lague expressed concerns held by political analysts about disillusionment of the voters through the economic management of Chen and the parliamentary gridlock that had reigned all through his term of office. The reason held behind DPP’s inability to get much of its legislation together with significant defense spending was the opposition that dominated the parliament.
The process of conducting elections and matters of politics are in most cases characterized by so many underlying factors. A closer look at the historical events and stories unfolding from the day to day politics of Taiwan would have clearly presented the state of affairs in Taiwan. Some of these press coverage present a position of a battle from within and external influence that Taiwan needed to conform to either. Snyder (par. 3-5) reported the pleasure expressed by George Bush in the victory of Mr. Ma and the people of Taiwan in general on the success of the 2008 presidential election. With the opposition winning the election, this was a sign of mature democracy in Taiwan according to George Bush. This was an exciting experience and a great development in the world of politics. The issue of establishing good international relations took center stage in many of these media reports and was apparently the center focus for the United States and China. The response by the United States on this occasion was very fast than when Mr. Chen won the election for his second term as reported by Snyder (par. 3-5).
Well, while the aftermath of the elections in 2008 was the main recipe in the media reports, the historical development of the change was what should have been featured to convey the weight with which the event deserved. This was an exceptional election and based on the unfolding of historical events seen in the article by Halbeisen (pp. 5-11), the result would have been more meaningful than expressed in the media coverage. From time in the past, the KMT on Taiwan started as a party of mainlanders from the China republic regime that moved to Taiwan in 1949 after the forces of Chinese communists triumphed over the civil war in China. These are issues that have been reflected in the CRS Report for Congress and make it a superior source and comparable to an article like “After the 2008 Elections: Domestic Politics on Taiwan.” The events that surround Taiwan were more than internal development. A good foreign policy on peace and economy was the center focus as seen KMT’s manifesto.
Even though KMT was credited for promoting growth on the economy of Taiwan, it would have been important to state the connection it had with a weak political premise at the start. The PRC government was widely recognized and Taiwan did not have a clear future in politics due to the weakness that was in KMT initially (Halbeisen, pp. 5-11). These were matters of utmost importance that could have been used to authenticate the media reports. The language and tone of each of these media sources used to describe the events is absolutely different from where the story starts and can be applied to establish whether the writers’ loyalties lie in the conflict. Kan (pp. 1-15) is mainly concerned with the unresolved issue of the eventual political status of Taiwan that it has sustained its developments in transforming the politics of the country. These include the establishment of high level of state-nature, momentous elections and a just judicial system, proactive democracy with stable affiliate institutions coupled with a vibrant energetic civil society. Even though the persecution of Mr. Chen on accusations of forgery and corruption has created a lot of resentment amongst the main ‘pan green’ devotees in the result of a terrible year of election for the DPP, neither the political system stability nor the overall support of the society has suffered.
For Snyder (par. 2-5), the stand of the United States on Taiwan seems to take a center stage. It is very clear from the first sentence that the focus of “Presidential election 2008: Reaction: US President praises Ma, Taiwan following election” news article is to draw attention to the interest that the United States had in maintaining good relations with Taiwan. For the CRS report by Dumbaugh (pp. 1-6), the story starts with concrete, irrefutable numbers, making use of facts to paint the picture of what was actually happening in Taiwan before and after the elections, without giving us the interpretation like in such sources like “Presidential election 2008: Reaction: US President praises Ma, Taiwan following election”, the Asia Pacific News article and Lague’s “Taiwan Election May Ease Tensions with China”. Kan and Dumbaugh have a very different approach in that the news articles were not biased towards either KMT and DPP since these news outlets were not influenced by any external force and this is authenticated by the history provided in the two articles in the way Taiwan came to being together with the underlying facts on the ground about China.
To show the difference that press coverage can have on how an event is told, seven news articles were examined concerning Taiwan’s 2008 Presidential elections which produced mixed reactions by the media. The stories were examined based on tonal differences, real opinions/information discussed and language. It is obvious that the CRS report writers provided more useful information about the event which was actually a defining moment for Taiwan. Therefore, the news articles need to present factual information and a presentation of events as they happened. Otherwise, any efforts of trying to interpret could paint a different picture apart from the real issues on the ground. In many occasions, the consumers of news tend to take the opinion of the media reports as the absolute truth and therefore, a misguided opinion could create a lot of mess. Again, it is very important to contemplate about the gains to the writer when reading news and again with some sort of critical thinking. Generally, an article that is not biased is a much better reference to information than that which makes an effort to interpret ideas and be biased through rumors and false allegations.