Media War

exposing media bias in Thailand

“Red wing” blogs are exposed by Thanong ! :)

Thanks to Siam Report for pointing out this hillarious event:   Thanong on his “blog”  has finally exposed the “local media on the Red wing” !

WOW ! labels sticking is a common tactic to silence critiques and opponents as well as a blatant “Argumentum ad Hominen”  fallacy.

Now we finally know who is who, which is especially important in the ongoing officially declared “Media War” !

Some local media on the Red wing include Prachathai and Same Sky. In the international front, Bangkok Pundit and New Mandela, among others, work as a mouthpiece. Editorial writers of international media such as International Herald Tribune (Philippe Bowring), Economist, Wall Street Journal have been pro-Red. Thai academics such as Giles Ungphakorn, Thitinan Pongsuthitak of Chulalongkorn University, Thongchai Winijchakul of University of Wisconsin and those at the Midnight University in Chiang Mai have also turned Reddish for different motivations.

Well, it looks like it is about a time we have formally introduced Mr. Thanong Khanthong, a Nation’s Chief Editor.


Thanong Khanthong

(I am not sure that it is his recent photo though.)

I think no one else can do it better than Fonzi ( as in “Deconstructing Thanong Khanthong: The Nation’s Ridiculous Propaganda War Against The Economist” ) :

Thanong is a sick and twisted individual. Worse, he is a shameless liar… Thanong is so stupid he doesn’t even know how to differentiate between comparative political systems… when we read Thanong’s baseless crap, we wonder why he continues to spew baseless lies and hypocritical rubbish… Thanong is so filled with self-delusion… He just makes up shit as he goes along. The thing I love about the columnists at The Nation, they all truly believe that they are Gods who can read the future

Is Thanong a journalist or a liar?

This is just about Thanong. Although Fonzi never misses an opportunity to tweak nose of Yoon and other Nation so called “journalists”.

Although certainly Thanong gets special Fonzi’s attention – he has dedicated a whole section to him named “Thanong Watch”  🙂

Certainly it is a huge extensive work of methodical and systematic “Deconstructing” Thanong’s spin, fallacies, lunacy etc. – which definetely impossible to reproduce here.  It requires a whole dedicated reading – and I must say, NOT a boring reading as most of Thanong’s own articles, but very entertaining, full of fun read !

Alright, Fonzi might be too harsh  on Thanong. Let’s see what BP says :

The highly intelligent Thanong Khanthong of that great, impartial newspaper, The Nation, has this thoughtful, calm and collected opinion in today’s Nation… I am disgusted by these ignorant people who continually show no regard to the Thai law. It horrifies me whether it be YouTube or any other website or individual. Thanong has inspired me to find websites or individuals who have no respect for Thai law. Such websites must be banned and such individuals must be punished….

Thanong is regularly metnioned by BP too, just serch for his name on his blog to read more.

Despite  constant whinning about Western media being paid by Thaksin, Thanong actually has quite a good reputatin among some of foreign reporters, as Lindsay Murdoch (I’m not sure how this person is connected, if at all, to Rupert Murdoch), who in recent article praises him (I wonder about the source of praise – isn’t it Thanong himself, as in Veera’s case) as :

Thanong, a well connected analyst …

HAHAHAHA !  I bet Lindsay never ever read Fonzi’s or even BP’s  opinions about Thanong. I’d love to see what Fonzi would say on this.  🙂

This reminds me of “modest & humble”  self-praise  (or rather advertisment ? you know, just a business) on Yoon’s “blog” :  “in-depth analyses, critical thinking … ”  ROFLMAO !

A tale of two newspapers‘ archives  provides some more details about both Nation and Bkk Post.

Another  source “Introduction to English Language Newspapers” provides a bit more history of both newspapers and their rivelry, andrelation with government(s), especially Thaksin.  Well, at least this article  provides some curious facts which so far I haven’t found elsewhere.

The Bangkok Post was founded by an American editor in 1946 and is staffed with a mix of farangs and Thais. The Nation goes back more than 30 years, but took a major turn in 1991 by Thais who broke off from The Bangkok Post over reporting principles, and is directed and staffed more predominantly by Thais

We’d like to remind you to not assume accuracy in news reporting in the Thai newspapers (The Nation, The Bangkok Post), the foreign press (about Thailand from outside Thailand) and of course internet websites. As you know, when a newspaper publishes stories about topics that you already know about as a specialist, you often see a lot of inaccuracies, poor analysis and misleading information. So, when you read articles about things you don’t know about, do you assume they are more accurate?… It’s not just about Thailand… (I’m happily witnessing the erosion of the powerful centralized media like the BBC, New York Times, etc., by web reporters and blogs !!  )

Journalists are often lazy, careless, biased, influenced by similarly opinionated peers who they surround themselves with, are hired by their views and not objectivity, have vested interests, etc., despite the official ethics and image

It is argued that the press has other limitations in its freedoms. Some very powerful Thais such as politicians, mafia figures and big businessmen get easily insulted by what is printed about them, and have many ways of hitting back. Actually, it happens practically all over the world, including the U.S., but in Thailand the powerful Thais tend to get away with it a lot more. Even in cases that involve physical assaults, they sometimes are not dealt with strongly and swiftly by the local police or court system, though this situation has improved markedly in recent years

In the year 2001, companies associated with the new Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, suddenly started discontinuing advertisements in The Nation, reportedly due to orders from the higher-ups, in order to put pressure on the newspaper for more favorable reporting. The Nation went public with this, rather than cave in. The newspaper is thinner now due to less advertising, but it is just as critical of the government.

Shortly after that, the leader of The Nation was investigated and harrassed by the Anti Money Laundering Office (AMLO), again allegedly upon orders from the higher ups. The Nation’s lawyers hit back and pushed forward an investigation of their own thru official channels. It turned out that AMLO protocols were ridiculously bypassed. The investigation was based on one anonymous and vague letter, and was put onto the top of the priority list, in stark contrast to usual investigations

Well, the story goes on, and it is very interesting.  Instead of reproducing it here I very recommend to read it there to get a broader picture  !

Although of course it is still incomplete for reasons author explains there himself.  Like one of curious fact is that according to Wiki (in its article about iTV) Nation Group is mentioned as one of  3 original shareholders of  iTV. Formerly known as Siam Infotainmen,  iTV was later renamed and after  1997 crisis almost gone bankrupt and it was that time Democrat PM Chuan who has arranged a deal with …. Thaksin 😉  – as Wiki says, Thaksin was “requested” to buy it off, which he did fro a quite high price of $60mln. Which I guess Nation (and Democrats ?  😉 ) regret very much till now and most likely it is one of the reasons why they have a beef with him.

Anyway, this provides  a better perspective on the Thai media and the Media War which is apparently going on already quite for a long time – perhaps ever since Pridi and his protégé McDonald, the co-founder of  Bkk Post – which means at least 60 years. The Media War in Thailand saga no doubt has intensified after Nation has become more active in the end of 90s, and especially during Thaksin’s 8 years of PM-ship.  Also we have no doubts that it will continue and may even take a new twists. Thai Media  are playing very influential role in the current political events in the country.

Update  Apr 25 2009

today   Thanong in one of his comments in his “blog” has said denouncing “forign press”:

The foreign media are hopeless. We at the Nation have been battling against them for some time. Obviously, they are part of the scheme, knowingly or unknowingly. I can detect that because it is a pattern, same pattern and mentality. I think the foreign media are confused now, not knowing exactly what is happening in Thailand. They have been supporting Thaksin and denoucing the coup, the Thai court and the Thai elite. They do not realise that by continuing to support the Red Shirts, they have become party to a coup attempt in the name of the people’s revolution, which has been quelled on Songkran...

Wow !  what a reveleation, huh ?  🙂

I like though a reply to him by one of regular commenters Ian :

I think there is one basic fallacy in Thai concepts, they say a Farang can never understand Thai culture, Thanong himself maintains this.  I say bollocks
Any Farang who lives with a Thai woman, has kids, lives in a Thai community will understand Thai culture. With some it may take 20 years, with others 2 years, but we get there. Those that fail leave.  Sure the tourists, sexpats, business men may not understand, they have no need to for their purposes.
To dismiss our understanding of Thais out of hand is both stupid and insulting.  In comment 16, you say “I think the foreign media are confused now, not knowing exactly what is happening in Thailand. ”  Well face a few facts, Thailand is pretty insignificant in global affairs, few foreign media can afford a full time correspondent in Thailand. Thailand recently has a coup of some form every two or so years and a new government at 6 month intervals, of course they are confused, I know many Thais who are confused. Events flicker across the screen and unless one knows the underlying causes they rarely make sense

Although I think it must be added 2 things here:

1)   Government  rigid censorship  along with Thai media self-censorship;

2)   Highly partisan BIAS  of Thai media – especially Nation, and especially Thanong’s  openly pro-PAD stance  and “Yellow journalism“.

Update  Apr 27 2009

Fonzi  is  on costant “Thanong Watch”  alert  !  🙂

he has already posted his Deconstruction of latest Thanong’s  masterpiece (in the best traditions of  “pot-kettle” Thanong rages at foreign media), some excerpts :

I think Thanong makes this type of accusation against the foreign press because he is describing how corrupt the Thai media operates and he thinks every media operation is the same. As far as academics go, he hasn’t refuted one Red academic in print about anything they have said or written…

He hasn’t never done one piece of investigative journalism explaining all the politicians, elite factions, and players in the police and military. All he does is write cryptically about vague conspiracies that make sense only to himself...


April 22, 2009 - Posted by | Media Control, Thai MSM | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] fired for being “pro-Red”, others were branded as “red mouthpiece” (even few blogs too).  furtheremore government has officially launched the “Media War” – sort […]

    Pingback by “Voters’ uprising” and “Cyber army“ « Media war | May 16, 2009 | Reply

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