Battlepanda: Making Jayson Blair look like a paragon


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Making Jayson Blair look like a paragon

If you despair about America's media environment, remember, it can always get worse.
Video footage televised by nearly all news channels on Monday featuring a gangster demonstrating an array of firearms and threatening to kill his estranged boss was discovered yesterday to have been fabricated by cable television station TVBS.

TVBS issued a statement last night that said it had fired Nantou reporter Shi Chen-kang (史鎮康), who filmed the video, and his superior, chief correspondent Chang Yu-kun (張裕坤).

In the video, Chou Cheng-pao (周政保), a member of the Celestial Way Gang, sat next to a table with a number of pistols and rifles.

In addition to threatening to shoot his former gangster boss, Chou said in the video that he was also behind three recent shooting incidents in the Taichung area.

In its statement, TVBS said an internal investigation had found that Shi had helped Chou film the video.

TVBS news director Pan Tzu-yin (潘祖蔭) and vice news director Sun Chia-juei (孫嘉蕊) were also given citations for their lack of oversight, the statement added.

According to the TVBS, Shi explained that Chou asked him for help on Saturday afternoon. He decided to make the video because he found it newsworthy, the station cited Shi as saying.

Shi asked Chang not to tell TVBS managers about how he got the footage, TVBS said.

Yang Ying-lan (楊英蘭), an official with the National Communications Commission (NCC), disagreed with TVBS' position that the two reporters were solely responsible for the incident.

"The footage has been broadcasted again and again," she said. "How can the management at the station get away with simply saying that it was just the reporters' fault?"

When asked if the incident will cause the station to lose its broadcast license, Yang said the penalty will ultimately be determined by the commission's members.

If the commission finds the Chou video to be a serious violation, the station will be asked to stop broadcasting for three days.

In addition to the little charade, TVBS (yes, that really is their name) were also responsible for an erroneous reports stating that Taiwanese Ducks are plucked by dunking in hot asphalt and that cheap buffet restaurants are recycling funeral offerings to serve their customers. The infamous asphalt duck incident caused so much damage to duck sales TVBS had to run weeks of apologetic stories about the tastiness and wholesomeness of Taiwanese duck.