Media War

exposing media bias in Thailand

“Call for moral outrage” from Thai MSM

The media’s the most powerful entity on earth

If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.

Malcolm X

Today Bkk Post has an op-ed by Sanitsuda Ekachai titled:

Shocking pix need a call for moral outrage

well, yeah, I agree with the point  that  Thai media  has no regard for the people it writes about.

what I don’t agree with, is  Sanitsuda’s  practically laying responsibility for  that on readers !

According to the print media’s code of conduct, it is unethical to present news or photos which violate the human dignity of people in the news. The press are required to strictly protect the rights of children, women and the underprivileged and prohibited from presenting material that violates the public’s sense of decency.

Seems like few care.

Sad, isn’t it?

Maybe we should not feel sad about the state of Thai journalism. We should feel mad. Sadness does not change a thing. Anger can.

And we should not direct our anger at the papers involved only. We also should question our own lack of moral outrage which allows the mass media to get away with murder. Not only with the use of gory pictures of fatal accidents and dead people, but also for playing God by judging who is right and wrong in the news while perpetuating ultra-nationalism, racism and gender prejudices which further deepens social inequality and injustice.

Such is the power of the pen.

But that power can be prevented from being abused. No, not by the press associations which advocate what should be but have no control over what is. Effective pressure for change comes from the readers.

From you.

No, I am not passing the buck. I am talking about what has actually happened in Thai media circles during the past three decades.

from me ?   :O  I felt like practically charged by Sanitsuda’s such accusation ! so, following her own advise, here is what I’ve written to her on Twitter (here compiled together ) as a reader  – well, to  give her “effective pressure for change“, of course  🙂

@Sanitsuda are you serious in laying charge at readers? say, not media bosses who “order the music” (what can or can’t be published) ? with all the media BIAS in Thailand, and recently total control of it by gov. – you really think readers opinions matter?  if you think so – you are either too naive or too … blind (or even hypocritical). while Sathit say: “why media needs fredom” ?! and many ajarns join the chorus: we “must filter the information”. Rosana: “how we can CONTROL so many channels” ?  so, I suspect it is your some sort of personal “revenge” against Thai Rath (although I’m not fun of it) rather then real outrage. coz as you said it yourself: TR is “country’s biggest and most influential newspaper”. I bet it’s upset Bkk Post more than once. well, if you are sincere – perhaps you should be more consistent & “look into the root” of the matter, so to say… like, the real reasons (hint: “follow the money” 🙂 ). Thai MSM mostly are “Yellow journalism” anyway more or less – TR or Bkk Post. read: Yellow journalism carefully check Thai MSM & honestly tell me if I’m wrong. more or less ALL Thai MSM are prone to “Yellow journalism” – TR do it one way (gory pics), Bkk Post and Nation other way (biased BS). in the end it doesn’t really make much difference. it is like proverbial “pot calls kettle black” – or as I call it : Media War !

so, this is my answer for your “call for moral outrage” : get real & if you wanna be outraged – there are a LOT more things there. otherwise calling for “moral outrage” for some things & keeping quite about MUCH MORE outrageous things – is … decide yourself. I could believe your sincerety IF you’d have called for outrage at Courts clearing those responsible for Tak Bai – but you didn’t. BTW now I recall where I’ve read about your “journalism” b4: here, have you read it yet ? 😉

so, khun Sanitsuda, be fair and spare us, poor readers, from your “moral” charges – coz Thai media has very little of morality anyway.

therefore,  I feel like  Sanitsuda is a typical “yellow journalist”, not mentione that is is apparently “yellow” in other sense (pro-PAD and pro-ultra-right).

although sometimes she might be somewhat interesting to read, as average PAD-lover (they do have relatively critical mind).

some people  have the following to say to / about Sanitsuda :

Khun Sanitsuda is a living testament to the undeserved but entrenched job security enjoyed by today’s Thai journalists

and also from quite a cool comment (#2) there :

Roll over, boys, the big guns – Sanitsuda and girls in black – have arrived!

Soon it will not be possible to enter a board room or company office without tripping over one of these grassroots types. Yet corporate bosses are not stupid. They would take good care of their guests, just as they look after our supposedly incorruptible journalists (including those working under Sanitsuda at the Post), showering them with gifts, lavish lunches, free trips.

A couple of healthy lunches, and these former fierce board room critics would be converted, at which point the grassroots types can start eating themselves.

another  piece by same author  :

But over the nine months of  Sarasonteh’s existence, I have discovered, almost in spite of myself, its raison d’être. That is to provide facts about Thailand that no one else seems to know or care about. Facts, I repeat, not the daily buzz or half-baked opinions. Facts that I hope will open eyes and change minds. Facts that will affirm the right and challenge the wrong. This is sounding like sanctimonious rubbish from a Thai journalist (see Sanitsuda Ekachai) so just one more. Facts that take time to put together.

and a bit more in his other post and then comments  (I have to admit – I quite like his style ! 🙂  – such a pity he discountinued this blog ) :

Too bad, even a total twit like Sanitsuda Ekachai probably knew that channeling this loony invective would do no good to her credibility, not to mention her prose

Still, in the remote chance that a Bangkok Post editor’s perception of the public perception bears any relation with the reality, I’ll answer Khun Sanitsuda’s question [ why are so many people willing to believe allegations against Mr Thaksin ?] on the premier’s behalf:

  1. Stupidity.
  2. Blinding hatred.
  3. Stupid and blindingly-hateful and unscrupulous journalists like to fan such baseless attacks.
  4. “So many people” actually have never heard of those political melodramas, much less believe them, for they have the enviable wisdom and good taste to prefer watching and reading primetime TV soaps.

Now that she has my answers, Khun Sanitsuda can look at herself in the mirror and — heaven willing — decide to get a new hairdo. Perception matters, you know!


Sanitsuda is woolly and nutty, but at least she’s got a point to make. [I guess that’s more like a compliment !  😀 ]

[from comment by reader, which I think is  her typical characteristic : ]

Sanitsuda’s focus on ”public perception” allows her to avoid risking her own credibility by quoting the monk’s invective, and also spares the newspaper from the risk of being sued.  But it also weakens her column. So the monk has levelled more serious accusations than Sondhi? Who says?

We are not given the chance to judge. In the absence of any detail, Sanitsuda’s column comes across as paternalistic and shallow. She supports the team vociferously from the sidelines, but it too timid to get out and join the maul …

The reader finds himself asking just who are these people in whose eyes Thaksin’s image is supposedly suffering (and does it matter)?

Critics like Sanitsuda would have us believe they are all around us, and if they are not, it’s because Thaksin’s populist policies have bought ”the people” off. To which there only be one response:

It’s your bully pulpit, my dear…prove it.

Fonzi  also quote often critisizes here, I especially like this one :  “Deconstructing Sanitsuda Ekachai: Chief Hypocrite of the Bangkok Post

I guarantee Sanitsuda will continue to hypocritically lecture from her columnist’s perch about the evils of the West while continuing to benefit from all of its material progress…  Where is the evidence Sanitsuda is a shameless liar

Has Sanitsuda been taking right-wing nationalist lessons from The Nation’s editors? The Bangkok Post allowed Thaksin to use its newspapers to lie and scam the Thai people for six years. Where was the condemnation of Thaksin in the Bangkok Post during those six years while he was doing those horrible things to the country? Sanitsuda is a shameless hypocrite. Further, the Bangkok Post sold out its journalistic integrity when it turned into the Thaksin government’s puppet and whored itself for advertising revenue instead of confronting him

This idiotic woman doesn’t know who pays her bills. Look how she jumps on the feudal socialist bandwagon. I wonder what type of house she owns, the car she drives, the TV she watches, the computer she uses, the mobile phone she babbles into, and every other gadget that she uses which is a product of capitalism. I wonder if she lives the sufficiency lifestyle while accepting the money from the endless ads that finance the publishing of her newspaper…

Thai media’s noble principles? I suggest the reader go to a magazine stand or sit in front of a TV and read and watch the Thai media in action for at least two days. There is nothing in the Thai media that is principled or noble. Engaging the Thai media is like giving oneself a lobotomy.

What is so outrageous about this column is that

this woman clearly benefits from everything she condemns.

The Bangkok Post is clearly a product of globalized world. She is a Thai writing for an English language newspaper that serves an international audience and accepts advertising from multi-national corporations. I don’t see her announcing that she quitting her job and going to live a subsistence lifestyle with the peasants.  I don’t see her leading the revolution against materialism and ridding Thailand of farang capitalists

this is of course – classic Fonzi !  🙂

BP  blog has also  mentioned her several times, and although not critisized as strongly as those other above mentioned persons,

nevertheless has taken her words “with grain of salt”, like here :

I wonder if Sanitsuda would care to provide some evidence instead of plucking figures out of thin air….

and also here:

If you can stomach to read Sanitsuda Ekachai’s opinion…

In case you think this is censorship which is holding Sanitsuda back then well you are wrong, Sanitsuda just dislikes Thaksin…

I recommend you should read Tom’s blog posts on Santisuda here, here, here, and hereIt is not a pretty picture.

Most of these   posts were  written  back in 2005, 2006, 2007 – several years back ! However Khun Sanitsuda still continues writing in the same style, and even her favorite line remains the same:  “look yourself in the mirror”, as in this her latest op-ed:

The people who decided to run those photos face a much simpler question: why do to others what you would not do to your own sons and daughters?

Look in the mirror and answer.

her repeatedly using this cliche  only causes natural reaction from readers, they wonder: does she look at herself in the mirror  ? I come to conclusion that despite  so much  “Effective pressure for change”  given to her over all those years, somehow she stubbornly refuses to CHANGE, and she is not so good example herself of the “Moral Outrage” sermo n which she loves to preach so much.  So,  Khun Sanitsuda – be careful what you wish for, or otherwise be prepared for the “Effective pressure for change” given to you by readers,  and the “Moral Outrage” at  your  articles as well as at those other articles of your newspaper.

Thanks Corporate media


June 11, 2009 - Posted by | Propaganda, Thai MSM | , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. related post elsewhere on another blog :

    Given last week’s call by assistant editor Sanitsuda Ekachai for “moral outrage” over the publishing of shocking pictures in the Thai media, the decision to display this particular image in a prime position online seems strange at best and hypocritical at worst.

    UPDATE: In the hour since this post appeared The Bangkok Post has changed the leading image and story. This is not uncommon as changes to top news are usually made at various times throughout the day. To see what was appearing you should click the image above.

    Comment by antipadshist | June 15, 2009 | Reply

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