I saw a clip on CNA last night wherein one professor Ang lamented that the PAP did not get a level playing field, in his opinion, on the Internet (i.e., the new media)!
I thought he made a profound conclusion – a profoundly delusional and partisan conclusion, that is.
While it is an indisputable fact that the local govt-controlled MSM (print and broadcast), the only local media allowed here, are often clearly and baldly one-sided and partisan in favour of the ruling party to the point of being propagandist and sycophantic, the Internet is perhaps the ‘freest and levellest’ of any communication playing field around. Only two conditions apply – you must have the means, and the desire to switch it on. As the cliché goes, the rest is up to you.
In fact, the playing field afforded by the new media is so level that the local govt-controlled MSM risk failing in their ‘duty’ to reach out to the vast majority of Singaporeans in general, and voters in particular, with its ‘tainted’ messages – some of which, ironically, may well have a grain of truth in them. It is like the story of the shepard boy who shouted ‘wolf , wolf’ once too often that his cries were subsequently ignored by the people when the wolf actually came for his sheep. Govt messages by default became regarded as 耳边风 (ěr biān fēng) – mere wind that blew past one’s ear – when they were repeated once too often in spite of the ‘contraindications’ at ground zero.
In this morning’s press report even the PAP MP in charge of marshalling the new media for his party’s electioneering efforts had admitted the party’s failure to capitalize on it. That was as much an admission of defeat, as it was a realization that there was simply too much of the alternative and much more believable views circulating in cyberspace for the party to ably or effectively counter or engage. The PAP propaganda machinery was simply overwhelmed by the sheer weight and force of netizens’ righteous anger in cyberspace.
Coming back to the prof. at the beginning of this note, he made a Freudian slip that exposed his own partisanship which in turn is going to affect his future credibility (at least for me) in this area of comment.
Ultimately, the take away lesson for the govt-controlled MSM must be that when you choose to purvey a lope-sided view point, you run the risk of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. If the new media triumphed over you (level of subscription is in no way an accurate measure of your success in this respect notwithstanding that it justifies your commercial existence) it is because you have defaulted on your role to honestly reflect the true state of affairs in society. This is indeed a grave disservice to those on whom you depend on for a living and who in turn depend on you for accurate and factual reporting WITHOUT FEAR AND FAVOUR, on the state of the country and the govt.
N.B. The author has no affiliation with any political party. He was an admirer of the PAP until it became evident that it has changed beyond recognition and no longer bear any semblance to the party that he had originally once admired. He feels it his duty to point out that the country is going down the drain if current trends continue unarrested