In the spirit of this weekend’s presidential election in Taiwan, let’s take a look at how the New York Times and the Guardian are reporting on the event.
Unsurprisingly, they are both focused on the very real risk of people falling for fake news and the efforts to try to sway voters through deliberately false and misleading claims made on social media.
The reason that this is unsurprising is that populations of both the USA and the UK have been duped on a massive scale in their recent elections and referendums, and they are eagerly awaiting the results of this weekend’s election to see whether Taiwanese democracy will be equally susceptible to nefarious agents.
On the other hand, the ways in which the two newspapers differ in their reporting style is most evident in how the New York Times quotes more primary sources and specialists in Taiwan, rather than relying on university lecturers and students for opinions as the Guardian does.
Although both articles draw attention to some of the fake stories circulating, such as those regarding President Tsai’s dissertation, and Joshua Wong’s visit to Taiwan, the Guardian only glosses over these points without actually proving them to be false, whereas the New York Times both provides proof of their falsehood and highlights some of the unreliable and disreputable sources of the lies – even going so far as to try to contact the Chinese government for comment!
Sometimes it really is worth paying extra for quality reporting when the journalists go the extra mile.