Monday, October 29, 2007

The Nation Editorial: EC's Good Intentions Disrupt The Nation's Propaganda Scheme

EC should show common sense

The Nation

Commission's rules for fair political campaigning, while well intentioned, need a strong grounding in reality

The Election Commission's (EC) issuance of new rules governing campaigns by political parties participating in the December 23 general election is an example of good intentions gone bad. The regulations, designed to ensure that all political parties whether big or small, have equal access to publicity and media exposure, turned out to be too rigid and impractical, if not also counterproductive to efforts to promote political awareness among members of the public. In a way, it is understandable that the EC wanted to restrict access to publicity and media exposure. Without such restrictions, big, cash-rich political parties with their formidable war chests could easily dominate the airwaves, while poor, relatively obscure parties would hardly have any opportunity to communicate their policy platforms to a wider audience.

The EC's rule actually don't sound so bad. OK, now read this:

Examples abound that show the EC has gone overboard in its attempt to ensure absolute fairness at the expense of common sense. One such example is the rule prohibiting news agencies, educational institutions and private organisations from organising public discussion forums without permission from the EC or without all parties taking part in the election being equally represented. It has become clear that the EC does not trust these agencies to be fair to all political parties. But then the EC should have realised that there is no such thing as absolute fairness.

Put simply, Sutchai Yoon, his brother Thepchai, and their sycophants at The Nation want to dictate who the legitimate players are in Thai politics. Well, the only legitimate players in the minds of The Nation's editorial board are the Democrats. Commonsense to The Nation is launching a propaganda campaign which would give most positive media coverage to the Democrats and screw everybody else. So far, this has been The Nation's policy. Any idiot with half a braincell can read that the coverage of the Democrats has been neutral to positive, the coverage of PPP always negative, and the coverage of the other parties neutral to negative.

Although there are now more than 70 registered political parties in this country, only half of them are expected to participate in the upcoming election. Among the parties that will field candidates in the election, probably fewer than 10 will actually win seats in the House of Representatives, and only a handful of those, probably five or six parties, are likely to win enough House seats to be considered significant players in national politics.

Wow. The editors at The Nation have become psychic.

The EC's push to ensure absolute fairness in terms of equal access to publicity and media exposure must be weighed against the public's perception of the relative importance of political parties worthy of their serious consideration.

Love this: These idiots at The Nation actually believe it is the only institution in Thailand that has the authority to understand which political parties are worthy of "serious consideration."

Wait, it gets better:

There is no reason why news media outlets, universities and private organisations should not be trusted to exercise their own powers of discretion and invite only politicians belonging to political parties that are considered serious contenders in the election to discuss their policies and address members of the public.

If the last year has proven anything, it is that the news media, universities and these mysterious private organization can't be trusted to exercise their own discretion when it comes to politics and propaganda. Most, if not all of these illustrious institutions have caved to and/or propagated for their patrons in the military.

The Nation, of course, acts like it is the Fox News of the Thai media, preaching "fair and balanced" while stumping for the Democrats, the militarists and their allies.

That is not to say that politicians belonging to obscure parties do not deserve to have equal access to the media. It simply is a fact of life that people tend to pay more attention to politicians, good or bad, who have some experience, a discernible track record and some achievements or failures behind them than to political neophytes who will require years before they can make their presence felt.

This is not an attempt to discriminate against unknown politicians or obscure political parties. It is just how the public's minds work to prioritise and focus on who they should pay attention to given the limited time they have, and according to their range of interests.

The Nation has proven again that it has absolutely no credibility. On one hand, it sanctimoniously complains about the end of civilization because the "usual suspects" from days of yore are making a comeback, e.g. Samak, Barnharn, Chavalit, Sanan, Sanoh, Prachai etc, hand wringing about dodgy coalitions and politicians allying themselves with the highest bidder. On the other hand, it argues that it shouldn't have to cover or even acknowledge smaller parties because they are bit players with no real power or legitimacy.

I think the truth is that The Nation wants the Democrats to win, it wants to pontificate about how all the other parties are corrupt, and it doesn't want to put any assets into reporting on smaller parties that it thinks are worthless and insignificant--according to its myopic political paradigm, of course. Unfortunately for The Nation, the EC has gotten in the way of its conspiracy to propagate for the Democrats and its lazy reporting.

1 comment:

sooksiam said...

Fonzi, my sweetie pie, I see no problem with the Nation being an unofficial patron of the Democrats; neither do I have a to-do with you, or Prachatai’s web site, or some bloggers, brazenly preaching espousal of the exiled square-faced demagogue and his puppets at the People Power Party, the Thai Rak Thai volume 2.

Even some foreign broadsheets, such as some British newspapers: the Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, have been respectively politically conservative and in favor of the middle-ground liberal to left-wing. I have not heard of anybody expressing their irritation with them.

Fonzi, you seemingly perform your job like you are a CNN news channel for Thaksin, inveigling people into believing your unsupportive stance towards any political power, while, in fact, being nostalgic for the dissolved party. Sometimes I wonder if you have been anointed surreptitiously by the retro-leader of the That Rak Thai volume 1 to besmirch anybody who deprecates his use of political power for business purposes.