Taiwan’s Yellow Journalism Strikes Again

The early morning of May 5, 2015, saw an article posted to The Huffington Post regarding Taiwan and tourism; as you can see from the original link, it’s been removed.  There’s not even a redirect: just a blank page.  It’s as if The Huffington Post wants absolutely nothing to do with the article.

If you’re curious why, you can click here and read it.  Finally, Google’s creepy “read and save everything” nature pays off.

The piece itself was badly written and there’s currently discussion in the expat community as to whether or not Janice Lintz even wrote it, if it was compiled from online sources, or just simply ghost-written.  The writing was sub-par and the facts were simply wrong.  Here’s her opening paragraph:

“Taiwan is not a typical destination for Westerners yet it is popular with Chinese visitors. Taiwan has its own President, constitution, armed forces and currency but is officially called the Republic of China (ROC) despite being part of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The island is composed of 16 indigenous groups in addition to a blend of Japanese and Chinese cultures. English is widely spoken and locals are eager to assist.”

There are many things not true about that paragraph.  Here’s the Big Three:

1. Both the ROC and the PRC claim Taiwan belongs under their flag, but the ROC flag is the one that flies over Taiwan.  How Lintz decided that Taiwan is part of the PRC, after mentioning how it “has its own President, constitution, armed forces and currency,” is beyond logical explanation.  It reads like the kind of propaganda we see from XinHua.  Check out how she tagged the piece (note the “Tapei” and “Tapei 101” – we’ll to that in a few paragraphs):


from huffingtonpost.com

2. There are not only 16 indigenous tribes in Taiwan.  A quick look on Wikipedia tells you there’s 16 recognized tribes and 12 unrecognized tribes.  OK.  I’m nit-picking.

3. The idea that English is widely spoken is utterly ridiculous.  Though, to be fair, the piece was very Taipeicentric (as are most pieces about Taiwan and travel).

Continuing on in the piece, you see paragraphs like this one:

“Humble House Tapei is a Design Hotels™ www.humblehousehotels.com property centrally located by Tapei 101, National Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall and the luxury shopping centers. Tapei 101 can be seen from the roof top pool if your room doesn’t have a view. Taste the local delicacies at the gourmet food cellars in the nearby malls.”

How does someone that claims to be a professional writer misspell the name of the city they claim they know so much about…three times…in one paragraph?  All-in-all, it’s just a worthless piece that reads like a poorly-written script for a commercial to be aired in Beijing.

I know it’s hard to imagine how it could get worse, but it gets worse.



Around an hour after The Huffington Post pulled Lintz’s so-wrong-its-ridiculous article from their site, leaving nothing but an empty grave (not even a redirect to the main page), Taiwan’s Focus Taiwan News Agency (a subsidiary of state-run CNA) decided to post their own article based off Lintz’s atrocity.  You can read it by clicking here.

Somehow, after Lintz wrote something so clearly terrible, Taiwan’s government-controlled media outlet thought the prudent thing to do would be to ignore all the wrongness of the article, read way into it, ignore everything factually incorrect or embarrassingly uninformed, and make the claim that Taiwan is becoming a new international tourist hotspot.

Focus Taiwan‘s piece only quotes the original piece twice, pulling quotes that are completely worthless in content but flattering to Taiwan, while not linking back to The Huffington Post‘s original article (or even stating that it has since been removed).  Basically, Focus Taiwan read a questionable-at-best article about how one person thought Taiwan Taipei was a good place to visit and decided that was an indicator that the entire Western hemisphere was chomping at the bit to come check out Taiwan’s restaurants, tea houses, temples, and museums.

The title of Focus Taiwan‘s article is “Taiwan emerging as international tourist destination: U.S. travel writer” but the first line of the piece they’re copying says “Taiwan is not a typical destination for Westerners yet it is popular with Chinese visitors.”  I’m not one to pick on headlines for being misleading (especially since Focus Taiwan‘s title is technically true), but the content of the piece does even more to make it sound like the international people who wish to flock to Taiwan aren’t people from China, but Western countries.  And we all know that’s just not true.

This is just another example in a long line of Taiwan’s yellow journalism, most recently exemplified in Apple Daily‘s coverage of a this is not a dating site.  Not that I’m a huge fan of The Huffington Post, either, but at least they had the good sense to take the article down 20 hours after it was posted, after seeing Lintz get so slammed with criticism on Twitter from people living in Taiwan that she systematically blocked anyone saying anything about the piece’s [lack of] accuracy.

Then, an hour after The Huffington Post pulled the piece, Focus Taiwan put up theirs, with no links and minimal quotes.  Somehow, after The Huffington Post posted a factually-inaccurate badly-written article, Focus Taiwan (again, Taiwan’s century-old state-run media group) still managed to write an article that makes their journalistic integrity look even sadder than The Huffington Post‘s, which is really saying something.

8 thoughts on “Taiwan’s Yellow Journalism Strikes Again

  1. Yellow journalism is a well understood phrase that refers to exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, or sensationalism.
    While sharing the singular feature of a lack of research, the term has little or nothing to do with a poorly written bit of tourism fluff appearing on a site that regularly features nip-slips and coverage of who wore the most revealing dress on some red carpet somewhere.
    Aside from that and without accusing anyone of being racist, it would take some doing to sell the argument that the blatantly racist undertone of applying the phrase “Yellow journalism” to a Taiwanese news source is something that escaped you.
    Comparing this bit of foolish fluff from a hack writer who post on HuffPo to anything having to do with reports about criminal charges being filed against a foreigner for an alleged sexual assault – which, one notes, is both newsworthy and scandalous whether the charges are valid or not, or whether the media exaggerated the story or not – and applying the term “Yellow journalism” so cavalierly, does no favour for your credibility.

    • Look, Avi, we all feel bad that you aren’t finding it very easy to cope with the realization that your best days are behind you, and that you are not at all relevant or, in most cases, even noticed. However, as sad as I am that your only comfort comes from playing “Internet Guru” from the inside of a bottle, I feel the need to remind you that your credibility is as existent as your self respect (though, let’s be honest, you never let yourself forget how absent both of those things are).
      Perhaps do yourself a favor by keeping the self-loathing out of the public eye? It may be your last chance to salvage whatever small bits of dignity you have left.
      No need to further advertise the stereotype you embody.

      • Hello, Dave. That’s quite some chunk of projection.

        Thanks for sharing your fantasies…even if you had to hide behind a pathetic, chickenshit pseudonym in order to have yet one more opportunity to take a swipe at me. 🙂
        Still, you can’t hide your tortured, overwrought, semi-literate syntax (of which you seem unfathomably proud). It gives you away every time…which is in addition to your habit of ignoring the issue in order to devote your energy to lobbing juvenile potshots cobbled together out of comforting delusions.

        Speaking of tells, I thoroughly enjoyed your laughable blather about my self-respect, especially as it comes wrapped up in an angry little stab at gaining some for yourself.
        LMAO! How’s that working out for you? Did you feel good today after letting it out?

        What a bitter old man you are – following me about the internet in a vain effort to make yourself feel better. Patience – you haven’t got long to wait before it will all be over.
        And speaking of patience, how long have you been waiting for this opportunity? It must be over a year since the public gutting you suffered the last time you managed to screw up the courage to display your pathetic lack of education and snotty, borderline senility in my presence…and longer still since that first embarrassing curb-stomping when you pretended to know all about the 1st Amendment. You must recall your boogie shoes in the Jefferson Memorial, eh? Of course you do – you’ve never gotten over it.
        One would think you’d learn: all that ever comes from your cheapjack attempts to pump yourself full of “I sure showed him!” is another spanking and more simmering bitterness.
        If you were very much smarter, it would amount to intellectual masochism…but, of course, you’re not smarter, and so it’s nothing more than an attempt to claw your way out of the blatantly public stupidty you cannot seem to control. Not a little ironic that the result is simply to dig yourself deeper.

        But let’s stick to the topic, eh? Do you have anything to say that even distantly orbits Mr. Fritz’s article or my comment? Of course not. You have no interest in the subject – you’re only here to rub shit in your hair. Again.
        Why don’t you go look up the term “Yellow journalism” and take a shot at explaining how a puff piece on HuffPo subsequently plagiarized by an unread Taiwan blog deserves to labeled with a headline that amounts to thinly veiled racism? That is, if it’s possible for you to restrain your tortured attempts to pretend literacy from another half-assed run at insulting your betters.

        With much love and an abiding respect for your desperately needy dedication.

      • What a triggered Taiwanese. Can’t imagine there are bunch of Taiwanese like you trying to hide the sad truth about Taiwanese media and telling people to not expose it.

  2. The wikipedia page you link to for #2 clearly states: “As of June 2014, 16 tribes have been recognized.” This is correct. (Wikipedia has had the correct information for a while. I think it was updated last June.)

    • That’s a fair point. I’m happy I’m not a journalist.

      Edited the piece to correct that segment. Thanks professor!

  3. The author had originally shared the article on Twitter where I pointed out the need for prompt corrections but her tweet disappeared much like the article.

    How Focus Taiwan reacted though….. very interesting.

    Amazingly, the author says she visited Taiwan (if only from morning to evening). This is according to the next article she posted at HuffPost Travel:

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