Sunday, 9 September 2012

The Want-Want "Brainwashing" Scare

"The argument against Wang Wang is not out of fear of the "uneducated, uninformed masses" who might be swayed by this media in to slowly accepting Chinese rule. I haven't seen that argument made and its not reflected in the protests."
So wrote an anonymous commentator in response to me here. I was raising the point that the anti-Want Want protests are based upon a presumption which ought to embarass them; that their fellow Taiwanese people are so mentally ill-equipped that they are unable to recognize propaganda when they see it.

Of course, they are entirely correct that the Want Want group basically is a defacto CCP-KMT propaganda organ, but the suggestion that other Taiwanese people must be shielded from exposure to such propaganda for their own benefit is needlessly insulting. Propaganda is powerless so long as people are free to criticize and those criticisms can be broadcast publicly - which, in present times with the growing ubiquity of the web throughout Taiwan's urban areas, is a capability that the mere acquisition of cable channels does not threaten.

In my view, the protest is entirely misdirected at the wrong target. The particular problem here - with respect to freedom of speech - is not the Want Want group's acquistion of cable channels, the problem is the power and pro-KMT bias of the "dinosaur" judiciary. The removal of these judges and the reform of the judiciary ought to be the priority for action and the focus of protests.

Yet the comment quoted above raised my eyebrows because it is just so obviously wrong. Two items in Sunday's edition of the Taipei Times would seem to confirm this view:
"Lin Fei-fan (林飛帆), a National Taiwan University student and one of the organizers of the anti-media monopoly alliance that has organized a number of protests against the Want Want China Times Group (旺旺中時集團), said at the same forum that while China had ordered the Hong Kong government to enact its thought-control policies, in Taiwan, an enterprise owner was using his media companies to implement the same tactics."
There you have it - the "same tactics" - i.e. to establish "thought control" - with the necessary implication that "the masses" are too feeble to resist such tactics and therefore the privileged twenty year olds who've been to NTU ought to fight on behalf of the supposedly feeble masses. The same fear is reflected in today's letter by the ever-reliable scourge of President Ma - Charles Hong, he who resides in far away Columbus, Ohio...
"Taiwanese are being brainwashed to think that pan-green officials are always wrong and pan-blue officials are always right."
So there's no need to take my word for it - Charlie Red says it himself - Taiwanese people are being "brainwashed". It is a rather fortunate result for the DPP is it not? For it means they can always blame any future electoral failures on the Taiwanese people having been "brainwashed", rather than blame any such failures on themselves for having been "brainwashed" by bad ideas. There will thus be no need for political opposition in Taiwan to consider self-criticism (either of method or of principle) - it's easier just to scream "propaganda" all the time.

Smart move, idiots.

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