Friday, May 15, 2009

70% and 56.1%: The Effect of Chinese Influence in Media And The Problems of Fake Polls

This news prompt me to think more about this recent polling. I think that some manipulation was done on the survey of ECFA and the approval rating etc.

The poll by MAC that shows 70% support for ECFA is obviously problematic, because other polls done by media (even some pan blue ones) show the support to be much lower. Furthermore, a poll by a magazine shows that 80% of CEO and managers in Taiwan don't know what exactly ECFA entails. It's no secret that a lot of people, even some government officials, don't know exactly the content of ECFA. That's why DPP continues to call for referendum on ECFA and transparency on the dealing with China. The problem is can people support it if they don't even know what it is exactly? There is something fishy about the survey...and again MAC tried to hide the details of it, like what questions were asked etc, further proving that there is something wrong with it.

The 56.1% is perhaps not so obvious a fake given that recently the stock market in Taiwan went up and there are signs of economic recovery in Taiwan (and around the world). It's not impossible that Ma's approval rating went up a bit (since some Taiwanese still look at things only through stock market and their own narrow perception about economy), but can it actually goes up that much? It's not obvious until you look at who did the survey - China Times. That newspaper company is now owned by the Won-Won Corp. owner. This guy, as everyone knows, has submit himself to CCP. A few months ago he even said something like he bought those media to serve the CCP. China Times was originally already a pan-blue media...but now it's obvious it's a pan-red media. Given the background, this poll result can be clearly disgarded because it's most likely just there to serve CCP purpose. Also, it came in very timely, right before 517. It sure feels like a propaganda warfare from the CCP side. (You can find quite some info on how the media/propaganda warfare were conducted by Communist parties in Eastern Europe, German, South East Asia, and even the US itself during the Cold War.) And that's exactly what KMT chairman John Wu did: using a fake survey to invalidate DPP's action.

Some might wonder, why don't they just put 80% if they want to fake it? Ah, but that's against the strategy of propaganda. If they made it 80%, not 56.1%, would anyone believe that? It has to be made plausible to be of any success. The 70% done by MAC was obviously a failure. This 56.1% has more chance of deceiving the public.

I learned in my Statistic class that it's very easy to "lie" with statistics. Polling is an important part of the statistic analysis, and I think it's very easy to generate faulty result from it if one is not careful in the process. If it's easy to generate faulty result unintentionally, then obviously it's very easy to generate faulty result if one conducts the polls with the intention of getting certain result or tries to manipulate the polls by asking improper question or using improper sample selection methods.

The problem is, once again, can the public realize the deception? Or will they submit to the whim of KMT/CCP?

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