Critisism of MSM role in protests coverage
surprisingly Nation has posted a report “Discussion slams crackdown” – although it couldn’t resist branding the symposium as “pro-Thaksin” .
“Another speaker, television anchorman ML Nattakorn Devakul, said the media had tried to justify the crackdown by labelling the red-shirt protesters a mob funded by Thaksin. “Most people who followed the mainstream media think some force [by the military] is alright and the red shirts floating dead in the Chao Phaya are no big deal, because the overall picture is that the reds have been deligitimised.”He was referring to two deaths that the authorities insist were unrelated to the crackdown.
Police General Achirawit Suphanpesat, deputy police chief under the Thaksin government, said it went against international standards to have soldiers instead of riot police clear up the protesters. “It’s shameful in the eyes of the world,” he said. He claimed the mainstream Thai media had censored a lot of disturbing footage from being aired or reported.”
well, on second thought, it is not so much surprising this kind of reports – typical “copy and paste”, more like relaying who said what.
another article though, Nation’s Editorial, is more in line with usual Nation’s style : “The day Abhisit made Thais hold their breath“.
I don’t even want to go into much details regarding all the twists and spins in this last article. my general impression is: it is sort of patronizing tone towards Abhisit, and may be somewhat pretensiously critical of him (as if showing : “see – we do not simply side with government!” and to help Abhisit to look like a person who takes into consideration “all sides”).
one point though I feel like mentioning, in regard to this spot :
“The optimists believe this may turn out to be yet another brilliant move by Abhisit. In effect, he has told the protesters that he has kept his part of the bargain and now it’s their turn. The movement will be under considerable pressure to be orderly and peaceful. For Abhisit, if new protests turn ugly they will end up hurting his enemies more internationally.”
Bargain, what bargain? Perhaps Nation would enlighten us about the details of whatever bargain? As far as I know – UDD / Red-shirts never said that they made any sort of deal with Abhisit and his government – not on the day of the end of their protest at GH ot prevent more deaths, nor later, not yesterday and latest rally. They said time and again that they’ll continue their movement till they achive their goal of ousting Abhisit, because they consider him non-elected and therefore illegitimate PM – or as they wrote on their posters “Abhisit is PM – of dictators, by dictators, for dictators”. And I don’t think that “generous” offer of amnesty, sweet BS words of “reconciliation and unity” and whatever Nation’s spin is gonna change that. oh yeah – and neither the never decreasing of Thaksin bashing.
by the way, the actual reason why Abhisit has been forced to lift the Emergency – is not because he is so kind and lenient (as his usage of armed soldiers has shown quite the opposite) – but because he could not any longer to be under pressure and critisism for continuing this S.O.E. after all, Abhisit is not so stupid and knows very well that this S.O.E. curbs the Essential Liberties of people – of all the people, not only the protesters.
Bkk Post has article by Voranai Vanijaka titled “THE BATTLE FOR PUBLIC OPINION” – which I guess is some sort of admitting by Thai MSM that indeed, the war is underway (although Voranai calls it just a battle – single event). Voranai is apparently another spin-doctor and typical corporate journalist. few days back BP has blogged about previous Voranai’s article, and I think one of readers summed it up in comments :
Voranai’s off-scale extreme partisan stance made his article belong to the trashcan in stead of the coffee table.
I mean – it is too damn obvious, this “extreme partisan stance”, as that person wrote !
despite that, Voranai goes on in the same style and tone today again, sort of mocking sarcasm of all the international media and everyone else who doesn’t agree with Voranai :
“When he told of his plight, many international analysts, observers, reporters, opinion writers and editors must have had tears in their eyes and nightmarish images of natives running amok, tearing down all the things that are holy and good, such as freedom and democracy…
Never mind the lack of any evidence to support Thaksin’s claim that 60 to 70 civilians have been killed by the military during the Songkran War. Not that it absolutely did not happen. We don’t know. But we do know this: There’s no evidence. So any attempt to pass an empty accusation off as fact is a blatant lie. [woops ! what a twist, huh? worthy of best demagogues : “we don’t know -> no evidence -> ‘blatant lie’ ” Cool ! 🙂 ]”
but then Voranai attempts to appear “fair and balanced”, and even sort of critisizes PAD / Yellow :
Much of the local media definitely leans towards the yellow, or otherwise is painted blatantly yellow. Some lean to the red, or are blatantly in the red. But since we already discuss red, let’s now discuss yellow…
To some in the media, the PAD’s illegal actions are condoned and swept under the carpet, while they say the UDD leaders ought to be in jail. No, prosecute both. The law cannot and should not be selective.
In the battle for public opinion, both at local and international levels – personal prejudices, ignorance, manipulation, rumours, hearsay and downright fabrications are the weapons of choice. How is there to be any reconciliation when so many involved refused to except truth and responsibilities, especially in the media?
Here’s the truth: The conflict is not so black and white as the intellectually challenged would have it…
But who cares for the truth. The crisis worsens because the media, the politicians and the people, local and international, spew rubbish to fan the fire.
We all really need to get better at what we do, both the local and international media. But I would like to specifically address the international media, not all, only the guilty ones, you know who you are.
You may not fan the fire intentionally. You may just be doing your job. Perhaps believing that you’re doing the right thing. Perhaps Thaksin’s PR firm has a special relationship with you.
But for the sake of plain old, basic human decency, I hope you don’t feel any of that gives you the right to worsen the situation, trivialise and make mockery of over 60 million people who are struggling for our freedom, our democracy, our identity and our nationhood. The media should never be the mouthpiece for anyone… “
wow ! I almost believed that Voranai is “fair and balanved” – but in the end he blew it ! 🙂
the funny thing is – Voranai himself and guys like him still don’t realize that in fact there are SO MANY people who have nothing to do with Thaksin at all, but simply can’t stand the shameless spin like this ! not even talking about democracy or any politics – just only the “logic” used by such “yellow journalists” (which BTW has not relations to PAD ! 🙂 ).
UPDATE Apr 27th
As I knew he would – Fonzi has already posted his “deconstruction” of this Voranai’s piece – which is as usually spot on and yet hillarious !
What kind of crazy incompetent newspaper editors would scream from the rooftops that these idiot foreigners don’t understand
because we keep all the facts to ourselves, then blame the entire world for not getting the stories right?!
here is an example of Public opinin, quoted by Bkk post itself in its other article :
Prathum Wangklan, a 51-year-old Bangkok vendor, said he joined the rally because he did not believe media reports about the political situation. “I have to come here to listen to the truth,” said Mr Prathum. “The harder the government tries to suppress the red shirt movement, the more people will join the demonstration,” he added.
well, finally, here is the “official truth” (aka government Propaganda spin) : “PM: Crackdown on UDD transparent” – with heavy MSM media censorship and total blockage of all UDD media ? with soldiers attack in dark pre-dawn hours and no reporters allowed nearby the main action ? what a joke – “transparent” indeed !
He said a committee was also set up to clarify issues relating to the anti-government protests in the capital on April 13. He said the government whip, the opposition whip and the senate whip would discuss the progress of the investigations into the April 13 mob dispersal on Monday.
well, let’s see tomorrow what that discussion will bring.