Perhaps the most important aspect of civil–military relations, with implication for all other dimensions of this relationship, is how the public perceives the military and its role. This research uncovered some interesting patterns in this relationship, an understanding of which is crucial to solving the problems faced by the ROC military today. Results of this research illuminate an ambivalence in attitudes toward the military. As Moskos has amply demonstrated, militaries can be a part of society, or separate from the society they serve. During the 38 years of martial law, the military essentially controlled public perception through outright control of the island’s media. Today, with the post-democratization emergence of a free press, the military is constantly being excoriated by the media. It is important to determine the degree to which the general population believes this harsh coverage is justified, or do people think that the military does not deserve to be treated so shabbily by the media. Results of this research indicate that the more strongly one identifies as Taiwanese, the less likely he is to view the media as being unfair to the military in its coverage. Perception of the media’s coverage of the military is therefore impacted significantly by self-identification, as confirmed by these results: with those self-identifying as Taiwanese believing that the media harshness is warranted in covering the military. This is not an unexpected result, given that, as mentioned above, the military is widely seen as having been the KMT army, and antithetical to the push for independence, or at least localization.
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2018 Dean Karalekas