Our fair city has been the site of another one of those periodic outbursts of gangster violence recently. Gangsters killing each other, a world-wide affliction, is not very interesting news, but the tale did take a turn when a gangster supposedly filmed himself making threats on tape promising retaliation for the killings. ESWN has part of the story, but tonight the story took a more interesting turn when it turned out that the gangster didn’t film himself — the reporter from TVBS helped with the filming and was present during it, the evening news is reporting here. TVBS has apparently canned him (based on a TVBS taking its own initiative in investigating the reporter’s claims, they say. NaCl, anyone?)

ESWN points out that gangsters have filmed themselves before, and attempts to present this as controversy of the right-to-know versus media publicity for gangsters:

There have been prior instances of Taiwan gangsters shooting their own digital videos for public consumption., and this explains why there is objection to offering publicity to gangsters. Is this news in the name of the people’s right to know? Or is this encouraging worse behavior? Internationally, a similar question is whether Osama bin Ladin’s videos ought to be shown on television? This is a test of finding the balance between freedom of press and media self-discipline.

Is this really a test between freedom of press and media self-discipline? Perhaps, although the reporter’s involvement is blatantly illegal and is not really an information self-discipline issue. But what you won’t read on ESWN is that TVBS is Chinese-owned and 100% supportive of the KMT and China — it is a pro-Blue station to the core. A propaganda staple of the Blues is that Taiwan’s society is in a mess — and of course, videos threatening violence and gangster killings are proof positive that the propaganda is correct. What a coincidence, eh? This gangster is so useful, if he didn’t exist, he’d have to be invented. Fake videos are also well known in Taiwan — see ESWN’s profile of a case from two years ago. It is too soon to say what is going on, but you can be sure the whole story ain’t out there yet.