A content analysis of newspaper headlines about civil servants in Taiwan (反官僚現象 - 以公務人員相關之頭版新聞報導為分析素材)

Abstract

Civil Service plays a key role in a democratic system but is usually under close scrutiny and attack from politicians or the media. Built on the literature of “bureaucracy bashing,” this paper identifies four dimensions of bureaucracy bashing and explores each dimension using a content analysis of headlines from two national newspapers, the United Daily and the Liberty Times, from 1988 to 2013. The content analysis shows, first, the number of newspaper headlines about civil servants has increased with Taiwan’s democratization. However, the overall image of civil servants presented in headlines tends to be negative. Second, the claim that politicians seeking election tend to present more criticism of civil servants is partially supported. Third, the image of civil servants presented in headlines before and after two turnovers of political power was found not to be significantly different. Last, political bias among news media outlets is associated with the number of negative headlines about civil servants. For United Daily, the tone in headlines was more favorable to civil servants during the Kuomintang regime, compared with the time when Democratic Progressive Party controlled the government. The research presents a preliminary analysis of headlines about civil servants in Taiwan, suggests new directions for the future study and encourages discussion about the ideal role and potential impacts of the media on democratic accountability.

Publication
Taiwan Democracy Quarterly,13(3):45-92

中文摘要:公務人員代表國家執行政府任務,為民主政治有效運作不可或缺之一部分,卻也容易成為政治人物或媒體攻擊或批評的對象,本研究以反官僚的文獻建構四個主要觀察的面向,並採取內容分析法,針對1988年解嚴以來至2013年為止,與公務人員有關的聯合報與自由時報的頭版新聞進行分析。研究結果顯示,與公務人員有關的頭版新聞報導,在數量上呈現增加的趨勢,但對公務人員之評價,卻呈現負面下滑之狀態。其次,反官僚文獻主張政治人物試圖藉由打擊官僚以獲取政治利益的情形,在台灣的脈絡下,僅獲得部分的呼應。第三,儘管反官僚文獻中主張公務人員負面評論可能反應政黨輪替下新政府與舊官僚的緊張關係,但本研究發現兩次政黨輪替後公務人員頭版新聞評價並無顯著之下降。最後,在媒體的政治偏差上,本研究發現,兩大報在不同政黨執政時,負面新聞的數量有顯著之不同,就平均評價態度而言,聯合報的公務人員頭版新聞報導在國民黨執政時期平均評價較民進黨執政時期高,自由時報則無顯著差異。整體而言,本文做為國內公務人員新聞之初探性研究,呈現公務人員頭版新聞的圖像,研究成果提供未來研究公務人員或政府形象之基礎,並反思媒體在民主課責與政府治理中應有的角色與可能的影響。

Chien-shih Huang
Chien-shih Huang
Postdoctoral Fellow

My research interests include executive turnover, collaborative governance, and environmental policy.

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