Su Tseng-chang and the Liberty Times
In today’s Taipei Times, there is an article on the latest development of the DPP selection for their presidential candidate for the 2012 election (i.e. telephone polls). Before discussing the article, let me explain the way it works (I’ll do my best). When someone gets a call, they will be asked three questions and they have to answer all three for the call to be valid in the polls. The three questions are:
- Between Tsai Ing-wen and Ma Ying-jeou, who would you support in the 2012 presidential election?
- Between Su Tseng-chang and Ma Ying-jeou, who would you support in the 2012 presidential election?
- Between Hsu Hsing-liang and Ma Ying-jeou, who would you support in the 2012 presidential election?
The person who gets the highest support against Ma Ying-jeou would win. In other words, the comparison is always made against Ma rather than each other. As such, if someone supports all three DPP candidates, none of them is going to get any point and their answer becomes useless. In this situation, if all green supporters support all three (or both of the strongest two), then the outcome is going to be determined by blue or middle voters and if the blue camp wants to interfere with the outcome, their supporters can simply pick someone they think is the weakest.
To show the true support level each candidate gets, the best way is for everyone to say that they only support the candidate(s) they are most sure about in all three questions. This means that when asked about the person they support vs. Ma, they say the person’s name and when asked about the others they do not like as much, they say ‘no comment’ or simply repeat the name of the person they truly support.
In this article in Taipei Times, something in the following passage seems to be misrepresenting the fact.
Advertisements produced by groups connected to Tsai’s campaign have said that voters should “only support” the DPP chairperson, suggesting that they should choose Ma over the other two candidates.
As far as I know, no Tsai supporters within the DPP suggests that they should choose Ma over the other two candidates. They have always been saying that voters can say ‘no comments’ orjust repeat ‘Tsai Ing-wen’.
I also think it is quite funny for some DPP figures to suggest that ‘asking voters to “only support” a single candidate would run counter to its ideas of avoiding inner party strife’. Asking voters to ‘only support XXX’ has actually been used for years in all the other DPP polls. Those who are criticising this approach now have probably all said the same thing when they themselves or their faction members are in the primaries for council or parliamentary elections. Why have they suddenly developed this aversion? Is it because the one they support is lagging behind and they are hoping that the strongest candidate’s support gets balanced out by those who give support to both of them? If everyone is confident with the one they support, they can all ask voters to ‘only support’ whoever they support, can’t they?
I am disappointed but not exactly surprised to see Taipei Times misrepresenting this point because it is not a secret that its Mandarin version, the Liberty Times (the best selling newspaper in Taiwan) has been a loyal supporter to Su Tseng-chang for years. They not only support Su but either viciously attack anyone in Su’s way or ignore news associated with those individuals. Now, I am beginning to wonder whether the owner’s influence has seeped into Taipei Times as well. If anyone knows the running of Taipei Times or has observed their reporting for a long time, your observations and comments are really welcomed. I will write another post in the near future, looking into how the Liberty Times supports Su and the ramifications. I would just like to point out the possible reason for their unwavering loyal to Su today.
The owner of Liberty Times is the owner of a huge construction company. The company owns a lot of land in Taipei County. When Yu Ching was the county chief, he refused to issue the license for three buildings because the company did not comply with the regulation where companies have to give up land to offset the engineering cost. Since then, Liberty Times has been extremely negative about everything Yu did. After Su Tseng-chang became the chief, he quickly let it through. Those three tall buildings brought in potentially billions of profit for the company.
A lot of Su supporters argue that SETTV supports Hsieh and therefore Hsieh is no better. I completely disagree because one programme on SETTV showing more support for Hsieh during the 2008 election does not mean that the whole company does. SET News has often been observed to stir trouble for Hsieh as well. Also, that particular programme’s support for Hsieh completely disappeared after he lost the 2008 election. It may be true that the owner of SETTV is a friend of Hsieh’s but I am inclined to believe that his support for Hsieh is based on his appreciation of Hsieh’s achievements in Kaohsiung (he came from Kaohsiung) and personal friendship rather than any profits Hsieh helped the company make. If there is any dodgy exchange, with the level of hostility other media companies has towards Hsieh so far, I doubt it could remain hidden after all these years.