ESWN has a nifty little illustration of just how bad our broadcast media is here.

Students Scammed Taiwan Media (06/20/2007) (Apple Daily) In Taiwan, three university students from Hong Kong/Macau found the news reporting on certain television channels to be unacceptable in many ways. “If you grasp the media tastes, it is easy to manipulate the media because they never verify anything.” To demonstrate this assertion, they created two fake news items and forwarded them as tips to seven cable television news channels. Eventually, four of them broadcast those stories.

In the first story entitled “The Ghost of the Dog,” a female university students pretended to be troubled by the appearance ghost of her beloved dog (e.g. she found dog hair by her bed when she woke up) and asked for help on the Internet. An anonymous netizen then faxed the plea for help to the media. This story was broadcast on August 18 by Era TV.

In the second story entitled “Internet auctions of luck,” a female university student was able to buy a bottle of “luck.” Prior to that, she had a quarrel with her best friend, she lost her winning lottery ticket, she misplaced her mobile telephone, and had general bad luck. After spending NT$1,380 to buy a bottle of “luck,” things improved. The best friend came back, apologized and made up. She found her misplaced mobile telephone and so on. On August 25, ETTV, CTTV and SETV broadcast this story.

Based upon the current AGB Nielsen Media television ratings, these two stories were seen by 360,000 viewers.

The story probably would have had more force, if it hadn’t been published in Apple Daily, which has had more than one experience of making shit up, as chronicled in the macking story. Media incompetence is widespread in Taiwan, a serious problem for our democracy here. As Glenn Greenwald’s excellent takedown of Richard Cohen shows, Taiwan is not the only nation with an Establishment media that is a problem for democracy