Thursday, 27 March 2008

Political affiliation – the good, the bad, the ugly 政治色彩,有好有壞

After filming the lighting of celebratory firecrackers outside Ma Ying-jeou’s home, I interviewed some neighbors gathered at the park across the street from the apartment building.

Me: now that your neighbor’s about to become the next president, how do you feel?
Neighbor: so good that I have no words to describe it!
Me: but he’ll have to move away and into the presidential office. Won’t you be sad?
Neighbor: I’ll be sad, but I think the presidential office needs him too.
Me: what do you hope he’ll change or improve?
Neighbor: I hope he’ll be able to fix our education system and put more effort into culture and arts developments.

Then someone asks, “hey, what station are you from?” This neighbor takes a look at my microphone, which says “民視 FTV,” and starts angrily pointing his finger at me, shouting how biased FTV is, how lousy its news reports are, over and over again. (FTV was founded and is owned by DPP supporters. Many of the upper management still are DPP supporters.) I kept quiet and hoped the man would go away. I wasn’t so lucky. All of a sudden, it became a crowd of about 30, with five or six pointing fingers and yelling at me about FTV. They were in front of me and to my left. Then reporters and cameramen from other stations rushed over and filmed from my right. I was totally closed in, and the madness was intensifying and coming up on the verge of becoming violent. I did not talk or yell back, I just kept bowing, smiling and praying that it would stop. And then one man stood out and said “come on, she’s just a reporter, it’s the management that’s the problem. She has no say in this.” Then others chimed in and said, “you have to get rid of the top, you have to get rid of the top.” Things began to cool down. Eventually, it settled, and some even said “民視加油!” That was even scarier than searching for the decomposing body of a brutal murder victim in the mountains in the middle of the night.

Where was the San-li TV (who is even more DPP leaning than FTV) reporter in all of this? Hiding behind a tree. I don’t blame her. All I have to say is, good thing the DPP didn’t win. My fate may have been different if it had won.

拍完馬英九家外頭鄰居放鞭炮,
開始訪問在對面公園聚集的鄰居。

我:文山區出了個總統,感覺如何啊?
鄰居: 開心得不曉得怎麼說!
我:但是他現在要搬到總統府去了,會不會捨不得?
鄰居:會啊,但是總統府也需要一個好主人。
我:你期望馬英九會幫大家做什麼事?
鄰居:我希望他能夠提升教育和文化。

接著,旁邊的人問我,你視哪一台?
他看看我手中的麥克風,上面寫著
“民視 FTV”還有一個民視大眼睛的logo。
然後他開始很激動的指著手指,
罵說民視多不中立,
新聞多爛多差,
一直罵,一直罵。
我沒說話,只希望著這個人趕快走開。
門都沒有。
一瞬間,大約30名鄰居圍過來,
有五六名跟著指手指,罵罵罵。
他們站在我的前方、左方,
然後其他文字和攝影記者都聽到了,
全部從右邊圍過來,開燈,拍攝。
完全被包圍,氣氛越來越緊張,
覺得事件快要發生了。
我沒有回嘴,只是一直微笑,
一直禮貌性的鞠躬,
祈禱這事情趕快過去。
還好有一個人站出來說,
“哎呀,她只是記者,
問題在上面啦。”
其他人就開始說,
“要把上面換掉,
要把上面換掉!”
接下來就慢慢緩和了,
後來還有人說,
“民視加油!民視加油!”
這事情比半夜搜山找屍體還恐怖。

這當中三立呢?
躲在樹後面。
我不怪她。
我只能說,如果那天是民進黨贏,
我的下場可能不太一樣喔。

Reporters do get verbally and physically attacked sometimes, however not often. This usually happens when emotionally charged people see a reporter working for a TV station that leans towards the other party. This is why at political rallies, I make sure to wear neutral colors, so people won’t get the impression that I support one party or another. One of my friends and coworker decided to test his luck and wore the FTV-issued jacket (which happens to be red) to the pro-Chen rally two years ago. Because the anti-Chen guys chose red as their color, when the pro-Chen people saw red, they went nuts and attacked him. Also on the same day, an anchor for CTI TV (KMT leaning) was attacked by Chen supporters during his live broadcast from the rally location. Chen is DPP. Ironically, although that anchor works for CTI TV, he personally is a strong DPP supporter.

有時候記者真的會被打、被辱罵,
但是不常。
通常都是激情的民眾
看到挺跟自己不同黨的
電視台記者才會這樣。
所以跑造勢活動的時候,
我都會換上比較沒有
爭議性顏色的衣服。
倒扁的時候,我一個同事
也是朋友,就想賭賭看,
看會不會有事。
當天是挺扁的出來造勢,
但是他就堅持穿著公司公會之前發的
外套(剛好是紅色)。
果然被打,還成了新聞。
同一天,也有中天的主播
在現場播新聞的時候被攻擊。
其實攻擊他的挺扁民眾不曉得,
那主播雖然在藍藍的中天,
其實心裡是很綠的。

But these things work both ways.

After the former secretary-general of the ministry of education spoke inappropriately about Ma Ying-jeou’s father, he went into hiding. Everyone on the education beat was looking for him because he had not given a statement or interview since the incident. Everyone called and called and called and left text messages on his mobile. I did too. I wrote “Hi Prof Zhuang, this is Michella Jade Weng of Formosa TV. I know you’ve been through a lot the past few days and I’m sure you have lots on your mind. If you feel like sharing, we will be more than happy to meet you. But in any case, please do take care of yourself.” That night at 22h00 when I was on my way home from work, he called me! He even gave me another phone number to reach him at. I was ecstatic, because now I have a way of getting a hold of him and can also get an interview. He also told me, “I only trust FTV and San-li TV that you guys will not twist my words around.” Well, FTV and San-li are the two green cable news stations. Surprise, surprise. Right after his phone call, I rang my chief editor and got her voice mail. I left a message, but she didn’t call back. I knew it wasn’t good. The next morning, she patted my shoulder and said “you’re a good reporter, but from our company’s standpoint, until after elections, uh, uh…” I finished the sentence for her, “it would be better if he had disappeared.” I was disappointed that I couldn’t do the story and I was disappointed that ethics once again meant nothing. But the moral of the story is, leaning to a party can make or break you, and if you maneuver well enough, it can be very helpful and get you places. However, I’m too simpleminded for this kind of thing. If they had me do political news every day, I think I’d last only a week.

不過這種東西是兩面的。

莊國榮失言風波,
他躲起來,向學校請假,
不接手機,不回簡訊。
幾乎全國的教育線記者
都在狂打他電話,要把他找出來,
因為事發後,他還沒漏過面。
我也發了個簡訊給他,
“莊老師好,我是民視翁郁容,
您辛苦了,
相信這幾天心情一定很複雜。
如果您有話想說,
只要您願意,我們很樂意
和您見面。不過無論如何,
請保重。”
沒想到,當天晚上十點
他打電話來了,而且還
給我另外一支手機號碼
可以連絡到他。
他還跟我說,他只信任
民視和三立,怕其他
藍色的台會把他講的話
扭轉,斷章取義。
我開心的不得了,
想說可以做獨家了。
馬上打給長官,
但是沒接,只好留言。
沒回電,想說不妙。。。
隔天早上,長官用力拍了幾下
我的肩膀,說
“妳是個很認真的記者,
但是以我們公司立場,
在選前, uh, uh…”
我幫她完成句子,
“他最好人間蒸發。”
當時很失望我的獨家飛了,
很失望新聞倫理又不見了。
不過重點是,
親任何黨派的電視台,
成也是黨,敗也是黨。
如果好好操作,
可以帶給你很多,
但是我腦筋太簡單了,
無法玩這種遊戲。
如果要我每天跑黨政新聞,
我想我一個星期都撐不住。

Government offices have media budgets, and some use it to make embedded advertising. When poorly done, it looks like government propaganda. When well done, it looks like news. Some of it is news worthy though. However, when you’re taking money from a specific government office, you don’t want to turn around and criticize it. So add that to the fact that the ruling party is your friend, how much criticism can a reporter make? In other words, how unbiased can the reporter be?

Without going into details and getting myself fired, I’ll just say that FTV reporters will be able to criticize and scrutinize the incoming government’s policies and doings and finally practice some decent journalism.

政府單位都有媒體預算。
有些會拿來用製入性行銷。
做得好,看起來像新聞。
做不好,看起來像文宣。
不過,有一些真的蠻有新聞價值的。
但是呢,當你一手拿人家錢,
另一手怎麼可能打人家嘴巴呢?
尤其當執政黨是你的好朋友,
怎麼可能讓記者好好批評,監督呢?

再寫可能就要被炒魷魚了,
這樣說吧,
我很開心新政府進來之後,
民視的記者就可以好好發揮
媒體監督的功能了。
我也可以少一點掛”綜合報導”了。

4 comments:

David said...

Your stories about covering the election are great. You have a very interesting job, although it must be difficult at times.

翁郁容 Michella Jade Weng ミシェラ・オング said...

Thank you for a very encouraging comment, David. The job is tough and frustrating sometimes, but it sure is interesting! Come to think of it, if things were smooth and easy and hunky dory all the time, life would be quite boring. I must learn to remember to appreciate adversity. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Don't let those knuckleheads get you down Michella. Keep up the excellent reporting and blogging.

A. Fan (westerner!)

David Huang said...

Yah...Please keep up the good work. I am sick of other pro-blue televisions shown on satellite TV in Australia. They portray Ma like he is the mother of all solutions!