Monday, February 5, 2007

More anti-Thaksin Rubbish from The Nation's Obsessed


Let Thaksin talk - we no longer have to listen

Should we jump every time Thaksin Shinawatra gives an interview? Is the political manoeuvring of the former prime minister consuming too much of our energy?

The Nation does jump every time Thaksin appears in the international media. He does consume too much of your energy.

It's probably about time that we deny Thaksin the fun that he has been having with all the attention given to his global criss-crossing and interviews. After all, what is so enlightening or earth-shaking about all the things he has said to the international media anyway?

There is nothing enlightening or earth-shaking about what he says--except when the staff at The Nation get their panties all bunched up when he talks about sufficiency or the king. Then The Nation staff puts on their yellow shirts and goes to see King Naresuan to make themselves feel better, or they just write ill-informed nasty columns about the dastardly foreign media that is so in love with Thaksin. I'm just surprised that The Nation hasn't started to blame the US yet. Oh, wait, look below.

The fact that Thaksin has been featured on the cover of the Asian edition of Time magazine and in an interview on CNN (by the way, both belong to the Time Warner group) does not in any way mean that the former leader has suddenly become a darling of the international media, much less a signal that he is on the verge of a political comeback as his opponents may fear.

Funny, all week long all your buddies have been saying that Thaksin has become the darling of the foreign media. Don't you and Thanong ever chat? You guys don't discuss how Time-Warner and Temasek are in cahoots to take over Thailand, starting with the most glorious Nation Multimedia Empire.

And the generals in the Council for National Security (CNS) should stop fooling themselves or the media here that there is a conspiracy out there to keep Thaksin in the spotlight. The international media talk to Thaksin simply because he is still an interesting interview subject. The Thai media would have wanted to sit down and talk to him too, had they been given a chance.

No, they talk to Thaksin because they paid a couple PR firms to get his message out. Why do I have to keep repeating myself? Normally, Thaksin is a horrible subject and nobody in the world could care two shits about Thailand. Do you guys think Thaksin or Thailand sells magazines? Gimme a break. The Thai media should talk to Thaksin. That is their duty as journalists. But that is something The Nation would know nothing about.

But Thaksin somehow finds the international media easier to manipulate. Being a journalist with Time or CNN doesn't mean being able to pose better questions than Thai reporters could. If those journalists didn't ask probing questions or chose to skirt around issues crucial to Thais, it was either because they have to cater to an international audience or simply because they are ignorant.

I love this little snarky attack against the international media, as if the Thai media has its shit together. The Thai media, including The Nation, literally allowed Thaksin to get away with murder for 6 years. It did nothing to investigate him or his regime. And when has a Thai journalist ever asked Thaksin(or any politician) a tough question? They always threw him softballs, much worse than the idiots at CNN or at Time. Look at the bullshit interview with Prasong as evidence of a crappy interview or the interview with Mahathir. Thepchai, you are the last journalist in the world who should be criticizing the international media. Where the fuck is your Pulitzer Prize?

For the audience, here is a special treat. You can witness the interviewing prowess of Thailand's most illustrious journalist:

Thepchai's interview with Dr. Mahathir Part 1 Part 2

Could Thepchai kiss Dr. Mahathir's ass any more than this?

Thaksin's Interview with CNN

And because Thaksin has an international forum doesn't mean that he can count on it to cast himself in a better light. Don't forget that Thaksin was not the only deposed political strongman in the region to be featured on the cover of Time. Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines and Suharto of Indonesia made the cover long before him, after they too were chased out of power. So there is no special treatment being given to Thaksin, as some in the CNS suspect.

Thaksin is doing a pretty good job of spinning his message. Thaksin is getting special treatment by the media, because normally nobody cares about him. He was disliked as PM and he is disliked now. Now he just has good spin doctors.

What has irked the CNS generals and the Surayud government has more to do with what Thaksin said than the fact that he was being given prominent coverage. But it would be foolish to expect Thaksin to suddenly turn over a new leaf and start being nice to the generals who overthrew him and the new government led by someone whom he had seen as a potential threat to his political longevity all along.

Of course, this is common sense.

The best way to deal with Thaksin is to stop worrying about what he has to say. The American lobbying firm that he hired may be able to get some of the international media interested in him for a while. But it's only a matter of time before Thaksin fades from media attention. After all, he is nowhere near being a political icon or a deposed leader known for taking a stand on democratic principles, which would have kept the media interested in his every move.

The best way to deal with Thaksin is for the generals to get their own American spin doctors and tear him a new asshole. The generals have all the resources of the state to go after Thaksin. They can even confiscate his money to attack him. This is what I would do: If there is evidence that the generals have of Thaksin doing crimes but can't reveal it to the Thai press or the Thai public for whatever reasons, give it to the international press, then the Thai press can reprint that material. If there is no evidence against Thaksin, then why did they list corruption as one of the reasons to depose him? If Thaksin is not a threat, why are the generals uneasy? Are they waiting for him to come back so they all can cut a deal? Like, for example, Thaksin pays off all the generals in exchange for keeping his freedom and staying out of politics? In other words, Thai justice for the rich.

General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the CNS chairman and leader of the September 19 coup, couldn't hide his paranoia when he confided to the Thai media that he suspected Thaksin's interview with CNN two weeks ago was part of the conspiracy he has orchestrated against the junta. But just because he was asked some sensitive questions doesn't mean that his interviewer had a hidden agenda.

I love these codes that Thai journalists use, as if their audience knows what they are talking about. Thais are notorious plagiarizers, so it doesn't surprise me when they never quote any sources. Excuse me: How are we supposed to know what this means? Seriously, you guys should stop exploiting your farang copy writers and pay them more money. The editing has been really bad lately.

The generals should learn to educate themselves on how the international media work so that they will not have to cry out every time they read or hear Thaksin's comments. The only way they can silence Thaksin or render his arguments irrelevant is to make sure that the investigations into the former leader's misdeeds produce results as soon as possible.

I don't hear the generals crying as much as The Nation. Why doesn't The Nation do its job and investigate Thaksin's crimes? That is what the media does in the civilized world. In the US, the media actually does most of the investigating. It, unlike the Thai media, doesn't wait for orders from the government. Let us look at this for a moment. Would any serious news organization in the West wait for the investigation of military dictatorship to finish, so that they could print the results without question. You guys at The Nation make a mockery out of the profession of journalism.

Thaksin may have all the money in the world to pay for an American lobbying firm to make noises on his behalf, but his wealth cannot change the fact that he is politically finished and his chances of a comeback are almost nil.

Thaksin always has the chance of coming back if they majority of people support him. I know it is hard for The Nation to get this, but sometimes in a democracy you might actually be on the losing side. It sucks, but that is democracy. But I don't expect The Nation to get that, since it is the only media outlet in the world that intentionally allies itself with a military dictatorship. The Nation staff should really give up being journalists and go upcountry and live on a farm. There, they can live as subsistence farmers to their hearts content and sing the praises of sufficiency economy until their throats hurt.

That Thaksin is extending an invitation to the Thai media to interview him after having ignored them for months is only a sign that he is becoming desperate. And he knows too well that all the publicity he has been creating outside Thailand is not helping him in any way here.

Thaksin is playing you all for fools. He is tenacious and ruthless. He has declared war. But you guys at The Nation are too idiotic to realize it.

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