[EDITORIAL] True Colors of Opposition?

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[EDITORIAL] True Colors of Opposition?

A Grand National Party document which recently came to light, outlining strategies for winning the presidency, is outrageous and disgraceful. Reportedly drawn up by the party's Planning Committee, the paper lists ten tasks to be carried out in preparation for GNP Chairman Lee Hoi-chang's candidacy in the next presidential election. This to-do list includes identifying hostile media and searching potential opponents' records for bad deeds. Party officials said the document was nothing but a "practice draft," and Mr. Lee immediately expressed his regret . Fine, but the document assumes that Mr. Lee will be the GNP candidate, making it appear that the official party organization is acting as his private staff.

Far worse, however, are the paper's suggested strategies for dealing with the media. The party is to collect dirt on editorial writers who oppose the candidate and to organize and "manage" writers friendly to the candidate. The GNP apparently has a distorted concept of the role of the media and intends to divide them up into clearly demarcated "sides." The document shows that the party is too narrow-minded to accept the media's function as a critic and that it intends to use any compromising information it may gather to manipulate news organizations. How does this make the GNP any different from the current administration, which last year mobilized tax officials to try to bring certain media organizations into line and put personnel from friendly regions in charge of others? When prosecutors, police officials and government personnel are unfair to the point that proposals to ensure their neutrality must be deliberated, and when concerns arise that broadcast news reports are not truly impartial, the proper way to handle the situation is through open and forthright debate.

The document in question places more weight on gathering compromising information on the ruling party leadership and its presidential candidate than developing its own policies. This can be interpreted to mean that the GNP intends to conduct a crooked campaign of exposes. Can a party that comes to power in this fashion lay claim to legitimacy? Will those who drew up this document acknowledge their responsibility and will the party clean up its act? We shall be watching closely to see if the GNP can tell right from wrong.

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