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The thoughts of an American expat in Hong Kong living on an "underlying island"

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Long Knives Out For Wang Zheng

An interesting and confusing story on the front page of the South China Morning Post on Wang Zheng and the ATV broadcast of JZM's death. It's seems clear that all sides have their knives out for Wang's scalp. The Reds that run Hong Kong clearly are upset that a member of the CPPCC would run a story like that after all the strings pulled to have the controlling stake in the station transferred to him.

The SCMP story on the other hand deals with the ATV newsroom being upset with him based upon a letter sent to ATV management concerning interference by Wang in running the station prior to the JZM death broadcast.

p. 3

It said he interfered with the ATV's news department by asking news room staff to entertain his friends from the mainland.

It also claimed Wang changed programme timings, upsetting marketing and advertising plans.

At the beginning of the story on p.1, the article says the letter complains of "editorial interference" by Wang, but it's strange examples are not listed on p.3 along with the wining and dining and schedule flip-flops.

The article is also confusing because it continues:

Last night a newsroom employee said there was a "lot of unhappiness" and staff would be furious if journalists or news production staff were held responsible for the retraction or apology.

I think everybody holds Wang responsible for the retraction and apology. I do hope though that no retribution comes to journalists or news production staff for the call to run with the story, no matter who was actually responsible for running with the story.

Further on, there's this:

Another ATV insider said Leung spoke to staff members at a meeting yesterday morning, dismissing an Apple Daily report which said he had visited the central government's liaison office to apologise.

I guess it's important to know if ATV had to go kiss the ring of the Godfather's local Underboss. But the question I haven't seen asked anywhere is if the Liaison Office threatened ATV's landing rights to broadcast in Guangdong over the broadcast. Anyone watching ATV lately knows that being able to pick up mainland advertisers is crucial to their business model. Also of interest is if the Broadcasting Authority had issued any threats, including veiled threats that the government would waive off again as "misunderstandings", to ATV concerning their license based upon the relatively few complaints they've received. (After 2 days the number is up to 38, which is miniscule compared to soap operas with unsatisfactory unhappy endings or variety shows with unpopular daughters performing.)