Friday, December 12, 2008

Deconstructing Thanong Khanthong: The Nation's Ridiculous Propaganda War Against The Economist

Foreign Coverage of Our Crisis is Distorted

Thanong Khanthong

The Nation

One man's sin has turned into the Kingdom's woes. We still have to learn a lot about Thaksin Shinawatra's lobbying and PR power on the local and global level. Still, it is quite incredible that The Economist, the International Herald Tribune, and other international media have agreed to turn themselves into parrots.

The Nation gave full-throated support to the military when it overthrew the Thaksin government(remember, it ridiculed The Economist back then for condemning the coup), it has backed the PAD every step of the way in its illegal fascist ways, it has propagated for the Democrat Party, and now Thanong has the audacity to accuse The Economist, probably the best weekly news magazine in the English language, of being a paid foreign agent of Thaksin's PR machine.

Thanong really has some balls. I have a feeling he is projecting the values of The Nation onto The Economist. The Nation has a poor reputation of just regurgitating press releases of corporations, and many of the reporters, Suthichai Yoon and Thepchai Yong for example, have both been recipients of the military's largesse. Suthichai was regular fixture on Thai TV right after the coup, propagating for the junta, and the military handed iTV/TPBS over to Thepchai on a silver platter as a reward for his anti-Thaksin propaganda in The Nation and on military TV.

They are now putting the blame for the Thai crisis on the monarchy. They are painting a simplistic picture of a very complicated situation and alleging that the monarchy has got involved in politics to protect its interests and privileges while all the time seeking shelter under the lese majeste law.

Yes, this simplistic picture is true.

Much worse, they are suggesting that it is time for Thailand to embrace popular democracy, as Thaksin Shinawatra claimed to have championed, and do away with constitutional monarchy.

Thanong is a sick and twisted individual. Worse, he is a shameless liar. Did The Economist tell Thailand to embrace Thaksinocracy and do away with the monarchy? Absolutely not.

At the moment, between the constitutional monarchy and Western style liberal democracy, the Thai people still have more trust in the 70-plus year-old system. This system is likely to remain until the majority of the Thai people trust their elected leaders to put the country's interest over their own vested interests. Notice every time there is a major crisis, who steps in and saves the day?

Thanong is so stupid he doesn't even know how to differentiate between comparative political systems. Hello Thanong, anybody there? A constitutional monarchy and a liberal democracy are pretty much the same thing. Thanong must have never heard of Great Britain, Holland, Denmark.

Trust in the the 70 year old system? What system? The system of writing constitutions and then military ripping them to shreds when their power is threatened, or the monarchy's power is threatened? Right Thanong, great system, with popular support.

The international media deliberately ignore the root of the current political crisis, which originates from gross corruption, cronyism and nepotism. Instead, they focused only on the simple fact that Thaksin had got more votes than anybody.

Deliberately ignore? When Thaksin was in power, there was plenty of criticism of him in the international press, and they just didn't legitimize him solely on him getting the most votes. This is the typical meme of The Nation, because the columnists are either too incompetent or too lazy to actually look up foreign articles and quote text to make their argument.

They seems to forget that Thaksin had wrecked our institutions, put his family and friends in key positions and carried out bloody initiatives that resulted in questionable death of nearly 3,000 people in the name of drug war. Would you like to have him as your premier?

Did The Nation publish one investigative report that showed Thaksin was running around the country side killing people in the drug war? No. What is interesting about the drug war is that it was instigated in response to a birthday speech made by the king. After the coup, the military convened a committee made up of Thaksin haters to go after those responsible for the killings during the drug war, and the Thaksin haters exonerated Thaksin.

Subsequently we have witnessed social and political clashes that at times gone out of control, pitting Thais against Thais.

The Nation has yet to hold the PAD responsible for the problems it has created. It still has yet to call for the prosecution of the PAD for taking over Government House or the airport, yet it was calling for Samak's head for a cooking show, and Somchai's head for Oct. 7. The Nation never called for the prosection of the military generals who overthrew the government. Anytime anything goes wrong between political groupings, The Nation already has the script prepared: It is Thaksin's fault.

If you have read The Economist' s Dec 4 edition, you may be wondering whether this UK magazine really knows what it is writing.

No, when we read Thanong's baseless crap, we wonder why he continues to spew baseless lies and hypocritical rubbish.

What kind of lese majeste taboo is The Economist talking about? It is all in the perception rather than reality. His Majesty the King does not prohibit people to criticise him or the Monarchy if they do so in an honest way.

Now Thanong is really piling on the bullshit. The Nation doesn't even have the courage to even reprint any accusations of lese majeste in fear of being accused of lese majeste. Exhibit A: Thanong is so cowardly that he won't even use one quote from The Economist in order to critique it.

Since 1932 no person has been sentenced to jail under the lese majeste law for criticising the Monarchy. Even King Rama VI, the King's uncle, did not put people to jail for criticising the Monarchy.

Oliver Jufer, Harry Nicolaides. Da Torpedo. David Streckfuss, a scholar on Thailand's lese majeste law, wrote an entire thesis about it: Kings in the Age of Nations: The Paradox of Lese-Majeste as Political Crime in Thailand.


If you have your doubt about the lese majeste law, just ask sharp-tongue social critic Sulak Srivalaksa. He has charged 15 times time with lese majeste and never once did he serve jail sentence. It was consistently ruled that Sulak had criticised the Monarchy rather than libelling it.

Sulak was arrested multiple times for making mostly innoccuous statements about the monarchy, which only proves that even if an intellectual makes an academic or social critique about the monarchy he will get into trouble, which is why Thai academics don't do it.

The problem we have is the exploitation for political gains by individual Thais and foreigners. All opposing forces in Thailand carry HM portraits.

How are foreigners exploiting anything? What does carrying a portait prove? Did Thanong carry a portrait while writing this lame column?

The problem we have with the Econmists is that the publication ignored the fact that the Monarchy embodied a much more broader dimension of Thai society that include the Thai culture, tradition and statehood.

It is isn't The Economist's responsibility to write haliographic praise for the king during a political crisis. No, that responsibility rests with the Thai media and the multi-million baht propaganda apparatus that does nothing but sing praises of the monarchy 24/7, 365 days a week.

The international media also have suggested that the King was instrumental behind the 2006 coup. But they cannot provide evidence to back up this claim. Against this is slanting.

The king certainly didn't tell the generals to go back to their barracks or their golf courses or their officer clubs to devise other ways to rip off the Thai state to support their lives of luxury, did he?

The King, from my understanding, does not like a coup because the sovereign power returns to him alone. He commands moral persuasion, but he does not have the power to tell the military what to do or not what to do.

Thanong is so filled with self-delusion. I can't believe he believes this.

When the military took power in 2006 to pre-empt the clash between the Thaksin government and the protesters, the King had no choice but to endorse it later on. If he had not endorsed the coup, Thaksin would be forming a government in exile and at home the divided military would be shooting against each other, with the yellow-shirt protesters and red shirt supporters taking side. A civil war would ensue, just like what we have just seen in recent months.

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.

In 1991 when Gen Suchinda Kraprayoon staged a coup, the King did not approve it but he had no power to stop the generals and his clique. If he had not endorsed the coup, which had already been staged, the country would be plunged into a state of vacuum, which was every more dangerous.

More revisionist history.

If you do a public opinion survey on the King's popularity, the approval of his kingship would be - I guess -- 98 per cent.

How would anybody know? The Nation would never dare a survey on the king's popularity, because they are afraid of the consequences, which only underscores the argument in The Economist.

There is no crisis of the Monarchy at the moment because the Thai people are not staging an uprising against him. The Red Shirt people support Thaksin but if you ask them to go against the Monarchy, very few of them would be willing to do so. The campaign of the Red Shirt people is that "we support the Monarchy but they do not support military dictatorship."

This is the only truthful paragraph in the entire column.


Anonymous said...

Fonzi Thanong is an idiot. The Economist too is a moron of its analysis of Thailand's political situation blaming HMK for Thailand's troubles. Newsweek too is not that much smarter . . . painting Thailand as near civil war.

What I know is that western style democracy and western standard of rule of law will probably take another decade to start roots in Thailand. But in the meantime, Thailand will be under the mercy of corrupt elected politicians, corrupt military generals, corrupt police generals, corrupt judges, and (yes Fonzi), corrupt journalists.

The criminal mind blossoms in Thailand's toxic green (for money) environment. And Thailand will thus breed criminal geniuses like a Ferdinand Marcos or a Thaksin Shinawatra because its unchecked toxicity nurtures such monsters.

Do you think The Economist or Newsweek or Time could appreciate how dangerous Thaksin Shinawatra was to Thailand's democratic aspirations?

Ladprao Roader said...

Can we file a lese majeste case against Thanong and The Nation for suggesting that two per cent of Thais disapprove of the King?

Unknown said...

be careful of a stray bullet flying into your head. go suck your mommy's nippy and put your head in thaksin's asssss-hole

Unknown said...

Fonzi, well-said. I can't agree more that you call this piece a 'ridiculous propaganda' and even more surprising to see it published in a leading English newspaper in Bangkok. YOu know it takes a fool like you to do this kind of silly work for thaksin. you don't know that earning a living this way is worse than a dog running after a bone. you think by deconstructing others, you are safe from it. what I'm afraid is that they will do deconstruct you physically not literally. Freedom of speech is good but propaganda without the real identity revealed like you, fonzi, it is a pity that you are born with a brain. good luck for the rest of your life. wish you die in pieces.

Red and White said...

Do you have pictures of TN journalists on your wall with crosses drawn over them? Voodoo dolls of them? Etc.

However, your piece is very valid. The only point I disagree on is the war on drugs. It was started by Thaksin after a long speech he made. That was the catalyst.

Anonymous said...

Fonzi I note that a retard named 'stray' had threatened you with a bullet. Ignore these morons Fonzi and keep up your commentary.

We may not agree on most points but you raise serious issues about what are wrong in Thailand.

Anonymous said...

Well said Vichai N. The Economist made some important points which are better out in the open than left to furtive whispers, but it misses the main point as do most other Op-Ed pieces in respected international journals too.

A real democracy requires solid institutions, such as an effective and credible judiciary, an honest and principled executive, a free press, and a legislature that passes well-considered and coherently drafted laws. The absence of any of these and other vital institutions upon which democracy is built exposes a system that is undemocratic in the extreme.

To lay blame at the feet of HMK for these failings is to miss the point entirely.

I dare say that HK is more of a democracy than Thailand, and they don't have universal suffrage yet!

Siam English said...

Excellent post. It seems that the only source where you can get a balanced analysis of the situation in Thailand right now is foreign publications like the Economist, IHT and blog posts.

In Thailand, the newspapers, just like the military, like to take sides and are prepared to say anything to push their agenda.

Unknown said...

Leosia, the aim of Fonzi is to introduce a case studies based on changes in foreign newspapers while the Thai media are still taking side. obviously, thanong has been doing what he believes is right in the situation.

However,his article may not be good enough as you have pointed out which I can't agree more. The judges like Fonzi and BP are very tough and willnot easily give any credit to the writer from independent newspaper.

In doing all this, you've to be very careful not to run into a stray bullet or loose bomb. Please don't let they know your idenitity. The stake is high as you, Fonzi and BP, might have known from the rising figure in your bank account. You have no shame in doing this, fonzi, because youre such a low-life animal that sucks thaksin's blood and licks his arsh without feeling shame. go drink squad toilet water and clean your soul with it. The study gives some support to the thought that ruinous competition could be as bad for democracy as monopoly media.
Keep up your work, fonzi.

Anonymous said...

Thaksin got his clones. But Fonzi it's a surprise that Vichai N has his clone too 'straying' at TJTS.

I'll leave it to you Fonzi to guess who's naughty and who's not.

Matthew Hunt said...

This is an excellent post! The Nation really is pathetic, and gets worse every day.

Unknown said...

I dont understand why Vichai you say this blogger is getting money from Thaksin or his corporations? OR Bangkokpundit for that matter? Most of their stuff is either barking at The Nation, which you must realise 100% deserved. This blog, I don't see it showing some sort of support for Thaksin. Many times he mentions that Thaksin was definetly crooked, and that he says was mentioned both in foreign AND Thai media...Why do you bother saying such silly things like "bank account growing"?

For Fonzi, I have question, you need to back this claim up, I did not remember any such investigation:

"After the coup, the military convened a committee made up of Thaksin haters to go after those responsible for the killings during the drug war, and the Thaksin haters exonerated Thaksin.

Thaksin was exonerated? What? Isnt the case that still no one has been put to "electric chair" for the two famous cases of deaths in the hands of officials: the drug war and the mosque incindent? And I could bet that you have also said that it wont happen either because the road to put the responsibility ultimately to Thaksins head, would mean going through the police and military officers, and that cannot happen as police and military is protecting themselves more so than Thaksin at the top???

Hope you can get to this point. :)