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Sakmongkol ak 47

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Rise of Mediacracy- answer to Uppercaise's High and Mighty

I know that all of you here instinctively understand the responsibility to report what you see accurately, and to inform your audience without prejudice.       Kim Il Najib.

When Mas and Air Asia were about to get into bed together, the boss of Khazanah and the short-tenured deputy CEO of MAS called up a few bloggers for a briefing. The meeting was held at a suite in KL Hilton. There was only one objective: to enlighten a group of supposedly overly critical bloggers to see it their way- that the marriage of convenience between MAS and Air Asia then was good. We all know what eventually happened.
After the meeting, for a brief time the bloggers and practitioners of the new media  sung praises about the short-lived one night stand between the two airlines. Bloggers who would otherwise be scathing about what Azman Mokhtar and his boys in Khazanah are doing were suddenly appreciative about what the Collaboration meant and wrote of the unholy union between the two as being the best thing to happen in the aviation industry. The engagement and disengagement made some people behind the scenes very rich.  Not bad for people who say, they do not know anything about the airline industry and served merely as a matchmaker.
When Felda wanted to list its FGV, it also enlisted the help of some bloggers and paid them handsomely to sing praises and lullabies to the gullible Malaysian public.  They were of course joined by the  the mainstream media with their tentacled grip on the Malaysian psyche.
I was reading the piece written by Uppercaise in his blog about the sordid affairs that are taking place within mediadom. I withdrew from the reading, unsurprised.
It has come to this. Our world is subjected to a one of the most dangerous threat to our democracy. It’s called mediacracy. A world controlled and shaped by 'respectable journalist'- those self-appointed crusaders of truth and fighters of the cause to create an informed public.   
That’s the idea speechified by the parroting PM in the opening remarks to this article.  This was what Uppercase wrote about what Kim Il Najib did.

Najib Tun Razak made his fourth annual insulting appearance before the establishment media last Wednesday at the NPC press awards night, the second of two annual festivals of self-congratulation. Keeping up his administration’s style, there was more bombast from the prime minister to provide a fine hand-polished gloss over the mean and vicious vindictiveness in his party and in the nomenclatura of his shambolic government and the party’s loyal cadre of right-wing attack dogs. For the fourth year running, his speech at a press awards night dealt with the noblest principles and aims of journalism and free media — most of which, in practice, the establishment media either willfully ignore or subvert, either on instruction or out of self-preservation.

Perhaps Uppercase meant nomenclitura ( clit replaces the clat) which should be a more fitting description of what Najib is doing.

Just what is mediacracy is all about?  It refers to the tangled webs of back-channel contacts and hidden power relations connecting senior politicians and the so called top journalists, helped along by public relations agencies, lobbyists and other figures of public contrivance. Suddenly we have full advertisements of “we choose Malaysia displaying photographs of journalistic quacks of the old and new media”.
What have these people done? One is more famously known for his cock teasing or clit teasing few lines of barren writings and others more known for the evangelizing diatribes and vitriolic attacks on those who refused to be cowed by their version of events. Mediacracy has been gaining ground for some time in virtually all democracies. They have only one aim. To hoodwink citizens.
How did mediacracy happen?
The government of Kim Il Najib as with many popularly elected governments are today proactively engaged in clever, cunning struggles to kidnap their clients and citizens mentally through the manipulation of appearances, with the help of accredited journalists and other public relations curators. The age of organized political contrivance is upon us.
If you were to give Najib a written assignment he will piously write these lines on journalists:- Journalists are vital translators and communicators of their words and deeds to audiences of citizens. They attract and hold the attention of busy people, helping them to understand what politicians are saying and doing. They can of course do politicians a big favor by helping convince citizens that their representatives are doing an excellent job, sometimes by singing lullabies to citizens who, for a time, politically sleepwalk their way through daily life. Or journalists can function as early warning detectors, even as triggers of political scandals with the power to unseat individual representatives, or to bring whole governments crashing to the ground.
That’s the theory of journalism and democracy, seen from a functionalist perspective and liked by Najib.
In practice, the dalliance of journalists and high-level politics is always contingent. Journalists and politicians drink and dine together. They bump into each other at gatherings, in shopping malls, airports and school grounds, and at formal functions. They frisk and frolic and keep in touch; sometimes they share beds. Their working habits coincide. They think about similar things and talk to the same people, often in tight circles of friends, sources, advisors, colleagues and former colleagues. They do as people say, inside baseball (as Americans say) with an often bizarre assortment of inside players. This is simply a metaphor describing how politicians and journalists herding together, pakkuat together, hoodwink the public.
Sometimes the dalliance results in iron-clad oligarchy, where members of their exclusive clubs enjoy privileged access not just to politicians but also to government ministries, political parties, businesses, even the Palaces.  Nevermind our security is threatened- the military sees nothing wrong to invite apparatchiks to board our submarines and make avalilable to them military information.
How do we explain, how mediacracy has become successful and flourishing?  The answer lies mainly in that its beneficiaries quickly sense that they have an interest in preserving their own privileges, hence they do everything to hang on to their power, even if that means sacrificing personal integrity, investigative reporting and other conventional standards of high-quality journalism. What happens then? When that dynamic sets in, journalists undermine their own authority. The public  disbelieve them because at the end of the day, journalists are judged to be dissemblers, careless confabulators and liars.
This is where Kim Il Najib comes in. he justifies all the hypocrisy of mediacracy  as an instrument to create the “informed citizen” and calls for a new politics and journalism based on “reality” and “facts”. Such as the hollow sincerity displayed in his opening remarks above. So we say to Najib, If only things were so simple.

As the poet Kafka says, “truth” has many faces.

Here is the problem and our distrust. The problem with mediacracy is not that it suppresses “true” pictures of “reality” that should otherwise be plain for all to see; it is that mediacracy hinders the circulation of other, different, equally plausible pictures of reality that are so vital for making meaningful judgments about the great complexity of the world around us.
In the age of monitory democracy, appeals to “reality journalism” and the “informed citizen” are both outdated and too timid. What’s needed, for the sake of democracy against mediacracy, are new arguments for open systems of communication and the free flow of different points of view.
So the reason why mediacracy is bad for democracy is that it stifles bold, courageous speech aimed at the powerful. We need countervailing and opposite forces that don’t shy away from indulging in fearless “wild thinking” and untamed conjectures that are unwedded to slavish talk of “reality” and “truth”.
In matters of public life and politics, fearless sense-making reports about the world are the best weapon we have for countering the risks and dangers of folly and arrogance, bossing and bullying.
From the point of view of courageous journalism, mediacracy is meekness and mediocrity. In matters of government, it is malfeasance and malefaction.
Our objective is to make citizens into wise citizens. This is essential and vital for democracy. Democracy is an unending experiment in taming hazardous concentrations of power. It needs wise citizens who know they don’t know everything, but who suspect those who think they do, especially when they try to camouflage their arrogant will to power over others.
We have to be weary of these journalists because these know-alls who share beds with politicians who wield power normally protect their flanks by means of deception.
That’s why their humbling through continuous public scrutiny is imperative. And why, where it exists, mediacracy must be broken up, through enquiries unafraid of tackling tough questions and challenging every proposition they make. By enabling the production of communication with spine, democracy is a way of humbling the powerful, rendering them publicly accountable to citizens and their representatives, sometimes by forcing them to own up, or even to step down.


Sabah Sifu 18 September 2012 at 09:55  

I beg to differ Dato', we in Sabah still maintain our integrity to comment on anything or anyone. Perhaps we are so far off on this side of the world that we are often overlook. This is a sample of our piece on the Kuching Declaration.

Anonymous,  18 September 2012 at 10:01  

Just the first line by that blogger rocky bru and others pro umno worms tells you what they is up too!
Thats the trouble this smart alexs thinks they can manipulate our thoughts could smell their hogwash miles away...There is awlawys an angle and it falls flat ....
Do we need this trash from them?

Anonymous,  18 September 2012 at 10:43  

let all malaysians arise n unite to stop the destruction n corruption in our land.. we must restored HOPE n future for all.. unite n vote for change.. the season is ripe now>> 55 years n 50 yrs for sabah n sarawak-- poverty n sufferings are all over for us to see>> why?? arich land plundered n stolen by the CRONIES

Anonymous,  18 September 2012 at 11:02  

Thank you Epf and co,i just collected sumbangan deepavali from fgv.Pity the thousands of felda settlers.
Yes ! The mangy cyberprostitutes like pk,atan,pariah dog,falling wall,hewhoknowsnothisname,etc are trying to screw the people not knowing the people are just too smart to believe the mangy namecallers .
Dropouts and copouts are now cashing in by prostituting themselves.I hear they are collecting big money .
Whatever they spin ,noting works anymore for them.End of the road for bn.
Come ge13, one could see them at the gates of PR.

Patrick 18 September 2012 at 11:09  

The best media in the world is still found in the USA. They are fiercely independant and they hold no loyalty to any party nor individual. They are only answerable to the public, their readers, subscribers AND the bottom line. Its media industry is so rich and vibrant, people around the world can easily articulate American media better than their own contry's offerings. However, like everything else in the US, it is all entrenched in their CONSTITUTION. With the separation of powers, such 'freedom of speech' in any form or manner is very well guarded. This is the basis for a successful nation's media model.

However, we rarely find this neat combination in many countries around the world. Its a fact that govts of the day will want to control their nation's media mouthpiece to further their own agenda. In Malaysia, media profitability takes a back seat to govt propaganda. Even if PR takes over the govt, it will do the same, albeit with more press freedom. Hopefully.

As the govt educates more citizens and empowers them with tools such as the internet, it only serves to diminish the power of the general media. With higher and more pervasive education comes more rational thinking and ability to search for truth. With the internet penetration, hardwired and mobile, the tools become cheaply and widely available. Alternative media news outlets, blogs, Youtube, etc are countervailing technology to the govt's mediacracy. If only the opposition deploys them more effectively.

It is up to the opposition to recognise and seize upon these trends to mitigate the govts grip on free media. That is why Najib and the opposition knows full well that the urban and suburban demographics are a foregone conclusion. Both are after the rural, women demographics, for they are the main target audience of the govts free media and have little or no education and access to the internet or mobile gadgets with mobile broadband. Sadly,even most illegals, instant citizens and migrants have a better grasps on newer mobile technology and mobile internet as it is their only tool to access real time information and communication about their home environment. Just take a short survey around your neighbourhood's Burmese, Pakis, Indons, Filipino, China CHinese mobile phone and usage and it will enlighten. Whereas our rural people just use a mobile phone to call, text, listen to music, play games and take dirty pictures and videos. Najib's mediacracy works best on this audience; uneducated and purely emotional driven.

Pok Li,  18 September 2012 at 11:44  

It is no secret that most political and corporate leaders pay PR consultants to boost up their image. And these PR consultants would spend most of their efforts working with various media channels to cook up stories about how good their clients are, sometimes totally contradict to the clients real personality.

This is how UMNO/BN project their image the past 50 over years using the tightly controlled media. What most people see/read are what their perception is towards the government.

Nevertheless the alternative media is now fast changing the scenario with people searching for the truth based on facts and figures. Hopefully this change is fast enough to influence the results of the forthcoming GE13.

bruno,  18 September 2012 at 12:26  

Dato,on Monday soybeans open gap down and got it on the chin.That is the reason CPO is down over hundred ringgit.Soon CPO will be trading under 2,500 ringgit,and FGV under RM4.00.The Felda settlers will soon be storming Putrajaya.Maybe Umno will be getting the three seats from Felda afterall.

Anonymous,  18 September 2012 at 12:36  

Dato' and fellow bloggers

Does "Wag the Dog", a Hollywood production, sound familiar?

bruno,  18 September 2012 at 12:39  

Bloomberg business news says orang putih analysts saw soy beans and CPO prices falling and they have reccomended FGV as a sell.Umnoputras must be having sleepless nights from now till the GE.

Anonymous,  18 September 2012 at 13:33  

Dear Dato Sak

Just prior to the French Revolution of 1789, the mainstream mass media controlled by the Ancien Regime was so full of lies, spins, etc that members of the ruling aristocracy themselves were turning to the alternative media for reliable news.

I won't be surprised if the same is happening here in Malaysia.
Malaysia Kini, Malaysian Insider and FMT (and blogs such as yours) publish the most reliable news. The Malaysian mainstream media "newspapers" are simply poor imitations of the Soviet-era Pravda and Izvestiya (and Utusex Malaysia is a poor imitation of the Nazi-era Volkischer Beobachter).

Phua Kai Lit

Anonymous,  18 September 2012 at 13:54  

Dear Dato Sak


Phua Kai Lit

Anonymous,  18 September 2012 at 14:26  

Dear Dato Sak and blog readers

One more post:

How to recognise and defend ourselves against manipulation through govt or corporate propaganda


Phua KL

Quiet Despair,  18 September 2012 at 15:31  


You are living in a dream world. The American press is no diffent from our MSM.
I am a subscriber of the NYTimes, Wapo, Chicago Tribune etc and a host of other magazines.
Most of them have a slant towards Obama. Infact they played out Romney's mistake and portrayed him as a not reliable president.
Only the commentators are seem to reflect the voices of the Americans.
Infact, this is the most divisive elections ever with people either fervently for or against Romney or Obama.
I also read Rocket and Harakah. In Rocket, especially if you turn to every pages, it's all about LGE. 90 percent are his photographs.
And just look at the bloggers. There are more pro-Pakatan blogs and opinions deemed unfavorable and unbeneficial to the party are all deleted.
If it is censored in some parts like the MSM, it's quite okay. But it's full censorship where your comments are never published.
This does not happen in pro-UMNO blogs. All comments even offensive ones by Anwar lovers are given space.
If Pakatan is in power, the media will be controlled tight with only one-sided news.
Anu-War will be re-enacting his previous role of always being in the lead story or page one when he was in the government.
You come back to me if Pakatan rules, okay.

P.S. Tuan Aspan, please please let me have a say in your blog. Why are you shutting me out?

walla 18 September 2012 at 16:02  

A government which is truly and honestly concerned about the rakyat would not practice mediacrassy (sic).

It would want truths to be said so that lessons can be learned for real improvements to be made not just outwardly but also inwardly.

A puppet press glossing over bad things is like publicly broadcasting implicit proxy approval to the perpetrators to repeat them. Over time, stakes will be raised so that a small mistake will soon become a big bad deliberate deed.

We all know the quintessential question: if a government governs the people, who governs the government?

It must be universal principles implemented without fear or favour by institutions of integrity.

But what happens when the institutions themselves are run by people appointed to high office by the perpetrating government concerned?

Then it becomes abang-adik bertolong-menolong to subvert principles and fair-play on the excuse of political expediency as slogan to protect stability for development.

Integrity is then sacrificed and the sky becomes the only limit to abuse power, victimize the righteous, practice double standards and cheat the rakyat although the requisite rules of law may already be in place.

In some instances, the rules of law are themselves not updated for new situations in order to crimp such universal rights as the authorities in power may think will generate threats to their own way of life prioritized over their long-forgotten oath of duty to rakyat and nation.

In other cases, the rules of law are used selectively, for instance to bar activists from entering a state on political grounds as pointed out recently by Lord Pannick in his closing sentence.

The only antidote against all this is a proactive media to open more minds and help create a climate of critical thinking that will rationalize towards the right thing to do over the wrong thing to use just to satisfy the political ambitions of those in power.

An enlightened and pro-citizen media will demolish the devilish turfdom of bad government.

It can even lift the rakyat out of the darkness of the devil into the light of the angel.

It can add momentum to the wave-change in mindset already started by the rakyat themselves.

Such a media can use its array of expertise and tools to spark real open improvement in government instead of conscribing minds to the status quo of past comfort no longer sustainable under present circumstances.

A free press today will show that the only problem in this country is Umno. Not MCA nor MIC nor Gerakan for their epitaphs have already been written on the berlin wall of Putrajaya that is crumbling even as the remnant ranks of Umno are trying to erect a new west-bank wall in a final us-versus-them posturing against the majority of the voting rakyat.

So Barisan today is for all intents and purposes only Umno. But the Umno today has to be without Umno Wanita and Umno Youth. Going into GE13, Umno Wanita IS Shahrizat's cowgate. Going into GE13, Umno Youth IS that Penang celup.

And going into GE13, Umno is Mahathir, the only man no subpoena can touch so that he is now reduced to talking about bulldozers, perhaps in recollection of his own draconian methods against the lives of so many that have only succeeded in leaving behind a trail of corruption and racism, financial destruction, mental chauvinism, forfeiture of principles and personal vendettas.

It is also Najib, the new sheriff of Nottingham who would strike fear about Malay rights even on Malaysia Day while con-fabulously spending today YOUR money of YOUR future generations in a vain effort to create HIS own personal, superficial, flip-flopping and self-contradicting brand.

It is also Muhyiddin, the 1Malay brutus who has already as an oversight omitted in his new education blueprint the living skill of golf-playing, so necessary these days to win seratus billion ringgit contracts, no?

walla 18 September 2012 at 16:03  


But let us be fair and not forget the others.

Umno must also include Rastam who would have opined his piece about PR enriching itself at precisely the fateful moment when he was applying shaving lotion while staring at his own face in the mirror. Will the simple-minded, self-syioking people of Melaka wake up anytime soon?

How about Hishammudin and Nazri who expel intestinal air when they open their mouths, or the two Ali's, men of Umno's principle of no-principles, or Nong Chik, businessman-minister now framed in psychedelic LED display panels along the main road before you enter Bangsar. Or the two Aman's namely Musa and Anifah of UBS infamy. Or Shafie Apdal, Noh Omar, Zahid Hamidi, Zamry Kadir, Mustapa Mohamed, Mukhriz Apanama. Or Syed Albukhary and his monopolies. Or Rozali Ismail with his kensington-styled twin and back-to-back TTDI bungalows. Or the AG, KSN, IGP, MACCC, ECC, BNMG. Or the Umno grand viziers advising the royal houses.

A free press would have done a good editorial on these men whose only distinction is in the black arts of spin and twist, power control and self-reward. Exactly what else are they good for, pray tell.

In the interest of their readers, even WCW of Star, Awang Selamat of Urusan, Farid Ridzuan of TV3, or perhaps Rocky Balboa himself will have to admit something is not right somewhere.

After all, how can Malaysia make finite and honest progress with this bunch? They're asking you for another five-year mandate to rule you and your children in the way Umno has run this country to the ground with overpriced development layered over stability branded in its own name. Unless you are saying the groundswell that had caused Barisan to lose five states the last general elections was just a mirage and the hundreds of thousands who had walked for clean government are just a figment of lordey-blimey's and kampong-originated, UK-trained, engineer's febrile imaginations.

And yet the same bunch wants to rule again over our Malays in Umno who number no more than sixteen percent of all our Malays who in turn number sixty percent of the population.

It is inconceivable that fraction of our Malays who are still in Umno are so blind in denial that they have closed their eyes and ears completely to what Urusan has already publicly admitted, namely it only spews pro-Umno propaganda.

A deed if done good needs neither introduction nor publicity. You only make propaganda when cause and effect are disjointed which more often than not happen when real intentions have been masked.

The masking tape of lies and spins are telling of a bad government run by a worse political party ruled by the worst culprits in the land.

Anonymous,  18 September 2012 at 16:53  

Phua Kai Lit
What would have been the 'alternative media' in the 18th century?

OneMalaysian,  18 September 2012 at 22:51  

Dear Sakmongkol

I don’t know if you visited the Suarasabah blog as invited by Sabah Sifu on the Kuching Declaration comments by Zainnal of GANAS. I did.

I was a bit saddened to read Zainnal’s point by point bone-picking with that declaration, for example quarreling with the use of the word “will” when he thought it should have been “shall”, which he said would have made that declaration a legally binding contract on which PR could be sued if they reneged on those promises when in power.

I have every sympathy for Sabahans and Sarawakian Malaysians because they were short-changed by this BN government since 1963. They are clearly unhappy. The only recourse then is to throw out BN. Yet when PR makes these political promises of a better deal they poke holes in them and sneer at the deal.

The Kuching Declaration is not a contract. There are no contracting parties. It is nothing more than political promises. If they reneged on them then PR has only 5 years and no more. This can’t be worse than 49 years under BN.

bruno,  19 September 2012 at 21:29  

Quiet Despair,

hi buddy,how are you doing.You seem a rarity on Sak's blog nowadays.Anyway there is a point for argument in your reference to Patrick's comments.Being from the land of the free,you beg to have a lapse of poor memory.Maybe you are among the many who subcribed to the prescription of the Dr's Malays tend to have poor memory syndrome.

In your birthright place,the ol USA surely you know that there is a such thing as press freedom.Media companies are allowed to flourished and write and published whatever they want to,as long as they do not break the publishing laws.There are more battalions of trial lawyers than sharks on Wall Street,to make sure they do comply.

The main big difference is that Uncle Sam does not control or intend to control the media outlets.If he tries to,his ass will be more purple and reddish than those naked butt dancers of Umno.

In the US,the mainstream medias are allowed to adopt their pets from any political parties they like.Most if not all are backers of the Dem's donkey mascot.Fox News organisation and their affiliates are the only very conservative major media of the conservatives.They are the backers of the Republicans.So are many small news and radio stations in the midwest.

But one thing very clear is any news media can publicly back their favourite horses publicly without fear or favor.And Uncle Sam does not closed any news outlets or send their editors or reporters to Gitmo,for not backing or saying bad things about him.Or baton charged or tear gas peaceful protestors and demonstrators.That is the diffrence between the US and Malaysia.

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