TAIWAN: TV talk show host and DPP legislator trade more insults

The battle between Democratic Progressive Party legislator Shen Fu-hsiung and popular TV talk show host Wang Ben-hu continued yesterday, with Shen saying that many political TV talk shows promote ethnic disharmony

Taipei Times
Friday, August 13, 2004

The battle between Democratic Progressive Party legislator Shen Fu-hsiung and popular TV talk show host Wang Ben-hu continued yesterday, with Shen saying that many political TV talk shows promote ethnic disharmony.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Shen inferred that Wang, through his new talk show on Chinese Television System (CTS), instigates conflicts between ethnic groups in Taiwan to boost viewer ratings. He said the way Wang hosted the show was as if he was possessed by spirits.

"Some talk show hosts completely change their political stances overnight for the sake of ratings," Shen said yesterday.

Wang's talk show, Taiwan Advancement, premiered Monday on CTS at 8pm. The show's prime time slot is unprecedented in Taiwan's television history, as the 8pm slot is generally reserved for drama series.

The popularity of live TV talk shows -- especially those featuring live call-in segments -- has greatly increased over the years following the deregulation of cable television. CTS' decision to air a political talk show in a prime time slot, however, has been controversial.

The war of words between Shen and Wang began on Tuesday, when Wang implied on his TV show that Shen was planning to form a political party with UFO Radio chairman Jaw Shaw-kong and independent Legislator Sisy Chen, who have often been associated with the pan-blue camp.

Shen responded by criticizing the talk show format, calling them "a bubble TV phenomenon" and said he intended to burst the bubble for the public.

"All these heavyweight show hosts care about are ratings of their shows, and their sudden changes in political stance comes with personal agendas on ethnic ideology and the future of Taiwan; when all these elements are put together, a sensational and yet strange phenomenon emerges," Shen said.

Sisy Chen, in response to the suggestion made by Wang that she might form a political party with Shen and Jaw, said she was not pleased by the rumor and suggested Shen urge the Government Information Office to cancel Wang's show.

The Broadcasting and Television Law states that television broadcasts must not spread rumors.