28 September 2005

Another Annoying Article By The Straits Times

As my regular readers know, I have a rather poor opinion of the local press. In particular, the Straits Times regularly annoys me for a wide variety of reasons. If you simply go through my blog, you'll see many past instances where I have patiently exposed their errors, shallow thinking and poor judgment.

Today, your Straits Times Annoying Article of the Day is an article by Carl Skadian, who is so senior a journalist that he really ought to know better. Carl is unhappy with the three seditious bloggers, and so is Mr Wang (see my earlier posts), but here Carl has commited the gross error of massive over-generalisation. He writes as if the vast majority of bloggers are also wildly racist, and anti-this-religion and anti-that-religion.

Of course, this is simply untrue, and if Carl had done just a little more homework for his article, he would have known better. This is rather ironic, because Carl writes in his article today that:
    "... checking facts seems to be the last thing on bloggers' minds unlike, say, mainstream publications which, for the most part, do their darnedest to make sure what they publish is accurate.
Well, I don't think that Carl has done his darnednest to make sure that his own article is accurate, and if he HAS done his darnednest, well, it then goes to show that he does not really know how to use the Internet. For he had simply surfed around a little in the Singapore blogosphere, he would have found that while huge crowds of bloggers are discussing the sedition cases with great interest, not a single soul is saying that what those three individuals wrote was right. All the discussion merely centres around HOW those three individuals ought to be dealt with.

Let's take a look at Car's article in greater detail:

    Porn? No, blogs bug me more
    With inaccurate and inflammatory postings on the Internet, how do we keep kids from believing everything they read?
    ST Life!, By Carl Skadian

    THE past few weeks have thrown up another worry about children and the Internet, as if parents don't have enough on their hands.

    I'm talking about blogs.

    As a journalist, I'm naturally wary of blogs already, mainly because bloggers are wont to throw accuracy out the window.

    That's because checking facts seems to be the last thing on bloggers' minds unlike, say, mainstream publications which, for the most part, do their darnedest to make sure what they publish is accurate.

    For bloggers, saying what they feel like saying seems to be de rigueur, consequences be damned.
So there's his broadbrush. Instantly all bloggers are transformed into little monsters preying on the vulnerable minds of your helpless children. Monsters, monsters everywhere, and it seems that according to Carl Skadian that means all bloggers. In one fell swoop, he tars all bloggers with the same brush, including:

    Dr Randy Kluver, Postmodern Areopagus, a blogger and the Executive Director of the Singapore Internet Research Centre, and an Associate Professor in the School of Communication and Information at Nanyang Technological University.

    Cherian George, Singapore: New Media Politics & The Law, and Air-Conditioned Nation, a blogger and assistant professor at the School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University; adjunct senior research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies; and ex-Straits Times journalist for 10 years.

    Tan Kin Lian, Tan Kin Lian's Blog, a blogger and CEO of NTUC Income, Singapore's largest local insurance company.

    Penny Low, My NDP, a blogger, and Member of Parliament, People's Action Party.

    Gilbert Koh, Reader's Eye, a blogger, ex-Deputy Public Prosecutor, a well-known local poet and the winner of the National Arts Council-Singapore Press Holdings Golden Point Award 2005.

    Alfian Saat, Alfian's Secret, a blogger and an award-winning poet, short-story writer and playwright, and Singapore's Young Artist of the Year in 2001.

    Loy Hui Chieh, Singapore Angle, a blogger and a National University of Singapore senior tutor with the Arts & Social Sciences Faculty.

    Thum Ping Tjin, Channel Fred, ex-national swimmer, Olympian, Harvard alumni and the first Singaporean to swim across the English Channel.

    Lee Kin Mun and Benjamin Lee, very well-known bloggers and also newspaper columnists for the SPH-owned TODAY newspaper. Better known as Mr Brown and Mr Miyagi respectively.

... among many others. Congratulations, all of you are now more disreputable than porn stars.

Okay, fine, Mr Carl Skadian. If you want to believe that professors, ex-ST journalists, PAP MPs, award-winning poets and playwrights and artists, Deputy Public Prosecutors, Chief Executive Officers, philosophy academics, Singapore's sports heroes and SPH newspaper columnists can all infect and pollute and destroy your children's minds, go ahead. You know your own children best. Perhaps there is really something very .... UNUSUAL ... about them.
    As I said, blogging, to me, is the biggest danger out there. It's also given me more work to do when it comes to my children.

    Now, I have to find a way to keep my kids from believing what they read when they come across such blogs.
Better warn them about newspapers too, Carl. Especially those right here in Singapore.

24 comments:

Beng said...

Why didn't he brand all movies as "dangerous" because of some bad production that might be too violent for the kids?

Why didn't he brand all newspapers and magazines as "bad influence" because some entertainment articles are instilling the kids to spend all their time chasing after the "stars"?

JR said...

Hi Mr Wang, we're a group of students currently doing a project on blogging and we would like to seek your views. Just want to check if a "sexual" blog is against the Singapore law? (an example would be http://sarongpartygirl.blogspot.com). Although she has since taken down her nude pictures, she still posts sexually offensive contents (comics). Would this be against the law? Thanks for your help.. Would appreciate it :D

tinkertailor said...

we should sue him. hurhurhur.

Anthony said...

Bah.

Just. Bah.

Do I really need to go into detail why I dislike the Straits Times and wax lyrical about how it's trying its darndest to prolong its monopoly over press?

Jasper Chen said...

Straight Times just wanted the monopoly oh please. Right now I don't even read them to believe every word they say.

I support blogging. It's how the people think, with some humour sometimes, but the most important of all is that they speak the truth, rather than some "monopoly" truth.

Urgh. *pukes in disgust*

With respect to jr's question. No. Internet's is all a grey area, and MDA is only monitoring websites with Racist content, or contents that can cause political unrest. Check out the MDA website for more information.

pleinelune said...

The ST consistently portrays blogging in the worst light possible, only to assert their supposed reliability. *rolls eyes* I agree, there are lot of personal blogs out there talking crap, but there is good as well, talking about things you'll never read on ST.

ringisei said...

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But vicious attacks ain't bad either. :P

xenoboysg said...

And so I will imitate Skadian for his own edification too.

We have to return the favour.

AG said...

hahahaha. it's so hilarious to see them scrambling around trying to save their own butts and ricebowl!

JR said...

thanks jasper! hmm i think that guy typed faster than he could think.. i mean.. bloggers dont report facts? I think it depends on what kind of blogs. if its a blog on daily events, then..?? everyone holds a biased view somehow but as journalists they should be as impartial as possible.. sighz.. i ponder about his fate..

Huichieh said...

Trackback

drunkenpanda said...

"consequences be damned" indeed. Excuse me while I go write inaccurate posts on my blog and wait patiently for innocent, impressionable children to chance upon them.

Look at his article! Wow! I should go invest in ST online so that next time, I can link their amazingly factually accurate and well proof-read articles in my blog instead. I'll no longer "say what I like", I'll say what they like! And that's great!

The Drunken Panda desperately needs to get drunk now.

Elia Diodati said...

AcidFlask would be rolling over in his grave now. Remember how ChannelNewsAsia once thought he was a master's student in some generic United States university?

It's almost all this brog stuff made the mainstream media feel like they were caught with their pants down.

Huichieh said...

I have an idea: how about starting a blog with the sole purpose of listing ST fact checking mistakes? Just a link dump with brief descriptions--the details may from various blogs or other sources--posted with the date of the ST article (in the manner of Blog Timeline.SG).

Elia Diodati said...

Perhaps Mr. Wang can advise on the legal implications of such actions, particularly of those involving copyrights.

- said...

Should be able to come under fair use bah - but no case law on "linking" in singapore yet bah

google news links, display of headlines, and the little short intro we see on news.google.com, so far kena sued by afp

but even if afp suceeds also not sure whether applicable in singapore bah

if afp do not suceed then most probably can - the truth i think is that the case law in this area is still probably iffy bah

but see what mr wang has to say...lor

Huichieh said...

I should be clearer on the idea. No linking directly to STI. No reproduction of substantial parts of ST articles. In fact, each entry should only consist of the date, title and journalist's name, a very brief (one sentence) description of the issue, and link(s) to more substantial discussions on a blog--e.g., any one of the examples provided by Mr. Wang from his own archives at the conclusion of this very post. The idea is to build up a database of the blogosphere's collective scrutiny of the media.

I may be wrong but I don't see any copy right issues involved. As far as I can tell, there's already a lot of material out there in the blogosphere to link to--Many of us have written "fact checking ST" type posts before. The database "adds value" by functioning as an one stop index. (Much like Diodati's wikis and my earlier "symposium" on the casino debate.)

OMFG!! said...

press and SPH want to make money.. So think again!!

If you want to make ton of money what will you do?

If you want to control the Singapore Press Market and capture the local readers, what will you do?

I usually read the channelnewsasia.com then i will flip to BBC.co.uk and other press which i keen on world news NOT local press...

singaporean said...

SPH may be more internet savvy than you think.

troll

An electronic mail message, Usenet posting or other (electronic) communication which is intentionally incorrect,
but not overtly controversial (compare flame bait), or the act of sending such a message. Trolling aims to elicit an
emotional reaction from those with a hair-trigger on the reply key. A really subtle troll makes some people lose their
minds.

(1994-10-17)

Source: The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © 1993-2005 Denis Howe

chrischoo said...

I think this is a simple case of the mainstream media's kneejerk reaction to competition. For instance, the establishment would always say how the ST did its duty to the public when it highlighted issues in the NKF scandal, but one key underlying reason that the ST did that was because they were brought to court.

Similarly with bloggers blazing trails all over the place and sometimes ripping mainstream media credibility to shreds, it's no wonder that a broadsheet would get all defensive isn't it?

The issue raised regarding blogger credibility is no different from what any seasoned Internet user is faced with - there is always a need to fact-check. Bloggers may be less credible individually, but as a community they are a force to be reckoned with.

It's not like everybody is a mindless drone bouncing lies off one another. It's about sharing ideas an opinions, and coming up with a more complete analysis that 1 or 2 reporters collaborating on a newspaper article would find pretty hard to beat.

The Lone Rangers said...

People (bloggers) other then the general "main stream" media are getting their local information out there first. That worries Carl so he has to bash the entire system.

pleinelune said...

Trackback

Btw Mr Wang, can I request you to add a RSS feed to your blog? www.feedburner.com. Thanks a million!

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