SHE was a new face representing the People's Action Party, but when Ms Denise Phua surfed the Internet during the recent General Election, the tone of the postings stunned her.
They were overwhelmingly slanted against the ruling party.
"I know that something has gone wrong when more than 85 per cent (of the traffic) writes negatively about the PAP," she said at a post-mortem of the GE organised last night by the National University of Singapore Society.
Hallelujah! Someone finally realises something is wrong!
"This is something that the PAP would do well to take into account ... and to manage this channel of communication," she added.
Oh wait... what is wrong isn't the PAP's policies, but us. And the solution to this isn't changing their policies and mindset, but "managing us"
Ms Phua stressed that she was not dismissing the views posted on the Internet nor even disagreeing with them. Her concern was more that the coverage was not balanced.
1. The bloggosphere has absolutely no obligation to be balanced, because we are not some amorphous body, but made up of individual bloggers voicing their opinion. And if that opinion happens to be skewed... don't blame us, but yourself.
2. What about our austere media? How balanced were they?
Nowhere, for example, was it mentioned that this particular GE was not a snap poll or that the Opposition had the freedom to hold rallies of its own. But given the fact that cyber-traffic goes out to the world, Ms Phua felt that a foreigner reading about elections in Singapore would only have a chance to hear one side of the story — that too, a somewhat skewed one.
Er.... it was definitely mentioned that opposition parties are free to hold their rallies... because the bloggosphere is flooded with videos and photos of the rallies. It was the mainstream media which consistently failed to provide coverage of the opposition.
Again, she mentioned that her party would do well to think about this medium.Is that a way of warning us to shut up?
One member of the audience pointed out that if the Internet was skewed in one direction then, surely, the local media had gone in the other direction, giving far more coverage to the ruling party
Finally, a voice of reason!
Perhaps, rebutted Ms Phua, this was on account of the fact that the PAP had fielded far more candidates in the GE than the Opposition — and the coverage was a reflection of that.
Rule number one of singapore media: For every reasonable statement, a stupid statement always has to follow, preferably from a politican. Oh please.... the opposition fielded candidates in more than half of the constituencies! You are telling me that one tiny paragraph for them, compared to pages and pages devoted to the life histories of PAP candidates, is fair coverage?
Dr Chee Soon Juan, secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party, objected not merely to the extent of coverage that his party had received in the media, but also to the tone of it. He said that even the photographs of his party's candidates used in local newspapers were "not flattering". Someone from the audience mentioned that Dr Chee sounded more "reasonable" than the image he had formed of him. "That is because what you read about me is a relentless campaign of character assassination," said Dr Chee.
To be fair, I am surprised this comment made it to print... I have to give the Today reporter/editor credit for this.
A member of the audience observed that the local media, during the recent GE, had been more balanced than in the past.
Oh yeah... nowadays, they don't report statements calling candidates racists. They call them liars. And they publish photos of rallies five days after everyone else has seen them on the bloggosphere.
Another issue that cropped up related to voting secrecy. Mr Perry Tong from the Workers' Party acknowledged that he had no doubt whatsoever that the vote was secret and it was "as good as impossible" for someone to find out how an individual had voted.Although I have practically demolished the article, I have this to say about Today. This is about as balanced an article you are going to get from SPH, and all they have done is report utter rubbish from Denise Phua, not endorse it. They have added quite contrasting statements from CSJ, and I'll give them points for that.
Political scientist Dr Ho Khai Leong then said he was surprised that the Opposition had not used this fact to their advantage to persuade more people to vote for them.
But Dr Chee said the fears did exist.
"And even if people's fears are irrational, you still have to address them," he added. — Derrick A Paulo
In conclusion: don't flame the article. Flame the statements made in it by our dear Denise Phua, which is what I've done, mostly.
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