Social media versus commercial media

I would like to use the term professional media to describe the main media but that would have given them far too much credit than they deserved. The only thing professional is probably its recognition as a profession. Today, many professional journalists or even academics are far from neutral, objective, and many try to pursue their private agenda for personal or financial gains. This is particularly widespread among the much hyped and considered respectable big names in the western media. Many have proven to be writing fictions created to suit their personal motive.

Cherian George wrote a hefty piece of material in his article, ‘Press Controls and the Myth of Online Bypass’ in Journalism.sg. The title itself suggested where he is coming from and he did not hide much to be seen as being neutral. The main media or commercial media is the still the cornerstone in the collection and dissemination of news. This I cannot disagree as long as it keeps to these roles. Once it strays towards opinion and commentaries, to set an agenda, the horns are raised. The main media will play its part to serve its master’s interests and agenda. Period. How many professional journalists could touch their hearts and say, I am saying this, writing this, strictly from a neutral, professional and objective point of view? Not that bloggers and social media are clean and objective either. There is a contest, a war, by both sides trying to tell their truths or version of truths.

The intrinsic biases in Cherian George’s position to favour main media are understandable. This can be reflected in his comments here,

‘Professional journalism

There is, however, a third role that newspapers play that online media show no signs of taking on. As much as our blogs claim to be monitoring the powerful, the reality is that their capacity is extremely limited. One limitation is their lack of training and experience, in making ethical judgment calls and in separating reliable information from gossip. This gap may be overstated. Journalism is not rocket science and I think it is possible for bloggers to develop professional journalism skills.

However, there is a bigger – and so far unbridgeable – gap that we need to take far more seriously. This is the gap between what can be accomplished by large teams of professional, full-time journalists versus small collectives of part-time amateurs. No matter how intelligent, talented and sincere the latter are, there are simply practical limits to what they can accomplish without sufficient time and the organisational back-up.’

His assumption is that the main media and professionals would do the necessary, to accomplish that idealism, that aspirations, that the media as the Fourth Estate should do or expected to do. The expectation and hope by the public are very high, but often in vain when the professionals failed them. If bloggers are assumed to lack the skills and intellect to make ethical judgements, so professionals will have the skills and the will to do so? The assumption is too naïve and simplistic. How many professionals are strutting their stuff and bulldozing their ways under a power halo over their heads? And in so doing, totally ignore the ethical calling of their professions and their conscience?

Cherian assumed that by virtue of their training, their numbers and organization resources, the professionals will do good for the sake of good and ethics, to say the right stuff. Really?

How many would agree to this assertion?


Anonymous said...

Tai Loh, of course he talketh chicken shit lor.

Anonymous said...

The only thing professional is the ass licking good service rendered.

Matilah_Singapura said...

At the end of the day, regardless of one's theory/ opinion, it comes down to the personal choices of The Sovereign Users. i.e. Unless you're dealing with a bank, The Customer Is King. And these days, the customer is more empowered.

Most people have smart phones and tablet computers. Singapore has the world's highest proportion of tablet users.

Empowered individuals can do what the hell they like and usually get their news from A VARIETY OF SOURCES, increasingly online sources. For e.g. social media, citizen journalism blogs, old media, media aggregators like Drudge, forums, RSS feeds, podcasts, email news...

So MSM can wail, bitch and kick.. the fact is, online users are disloyal and impatient. The attention span is less than 30 secs, and one click of the mouse and your fucked up boring old style news website with govt propaganda disguised as "editorial" or worse: "news" (cheeky cunts) is instantly relegated to brower history.

In our dad's and grandad's days, most people trusted and revered the government. Nowadays if you tell SMART people you trust the government, they'll laugh at your stupidity/ gullibility. Same thing for the old media. In the old days, the newspaper and radio were depended upon and trusted.

Nowadays the voices on the radio belong to annoying presumptuous LOSERS, and the newspaper is full of nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Cherian George.
James Gomez.
Give me chicken shit.
And me will say it still
better than those above.

Anonymous said...

Take the woffles wu case for instance. State high priest justified wu's sentence as just( after a long deliberation) but the man in the street, untrained legally, thinks he got away unpunished. What do you think? The professionals are right or the toilet cleaner is right?

Matilah_Singapura said...

Wu posed no threat to the "authority".

The cleaner did.

Therefore the result is: (you fill in your own version)

Anonymous said...

The professionals are right. They are well trained and paid to do the job professionally and perfectly, just like the lawyer budging into court. Damn professional.

Anonymous said...

Cherian George's wife is working for MSM,I think.
I think he is praising his wife.

Anonymous said...

This guy forgot the Wikileaks about ST editors and reporters.

Anonymous said...

Chin Leng,

Cherian George has been pushing this idea of citizen journalism for as long as I can remember.

The main problem with this conceptual model is NOT that it is a crazy proposition. The idea of staffing an internet press outfit with professionals is really quite sensible. And not new or novel. This model has been successfully undertaken in virtually country that has an internet service, including Myammar and Syria.

Even in Malaysia there is Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider.

This should prompt us to ask, why doesn't this idea seem to be able to take off in Singapore?

One reason that is seldom discussed is the steadfast opposition by the custodians of power to this idea.

What you must understand is this Chin Leng - for a "nation building" press to command readership authority, ALL competiting voices must be silenced.

Those are really the operating conditions that is required, just as inorder to run an internal combustion engine. You need nitrogen and oxygen from the atmosphere. You can't operate it for instance at the bottom of the Straits of Malacca.

These are the optimal operating conditions in which ANY apparatus of mass assimilation can only work in. Doesn't matter whether it is Pravda, The Pyongyang Morning Star or even the Strait Times.

What you need to understand Chin Leng is ONLY this: to successfully sell to the masses the idea that the nation building press is the bell weather of the truth and nothing but the truth - all competing voices need to be obliterated.

That is the primary reason why an independent internet press service can never BE allowed to take off in Singapore.

But having said that, that doesn't perclude anyone from starting a private chat room and talking about their objects of interest plainly. Only don't expect to do this in a free internet. As that idea will never once existed in Singapore. Never.

They will crush it. As the very idea, notion represents a clear and present threat to the ruling hegemony and status quo ante.

Darkness 2012

Anonymous said...

Ironically this is the real conversation that we should all be having whenever we talk about the national conversation. And certainly not tea and curry puffs tete a tete variety with Dr JiaJia et al.

But Chin Leng do you really believe that sort of no holds bar call a spade a spade conversation can really take place?

Tell me what do you think the serious men would say if the PM asked them,

"Should we register all bloggers? As online anonymous comments are getting to be a big problem?"

Trust me Chin Leng, I really don't think that the PM will be a very happy man after tea.

Darkness 2012

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Darkness,

The official main media cannot do the job or would not be allowed to do the job as the ombudsman of transparent and newsworthy news. A professional group from outside the establishment is even more unlikely.

Today everyone suddenly wakes up and call a spade a spade, that no media is truly objective and neutral. Every media and everyone is doing selective reporting. Any media claiming otherwise is talking through its asshole.

I think at best it is for social media to develop its strength and voice with more serious and experienced individuals stepping out to say their piece. At least they can be assured that they can say and be printed and be heard. The alternative of going through the main media would mean crossing several markers and guard dogs.

Such a discussion is at best academic.

Anonymous said...

Chin Leng,

The main media in Singapore is a nation building press (period). This hardly requires any further elaboration.

To me their sole mission is to keep the ruling party political hegemony in power.

Anyone who thinks otherwise simply wouldn't be able to defend his position publicly without coming across as a delusional idiot.

" think at best it is for social media to develop its strength and voice with more serious and experienced individuals stepping out to say their piece. At least they can be assured that they can say and be printed and be heard."

Where have you been Chin Leng? The serious voices have been here for the last ten years. However, I am not so sure they even want their material to be printed. From what I am able to make out. They prefer to speak in a private room, 3 or 4 people at most. Trust me the conversation has always been there.

Don't worry about the being heard part. Nothing ever dies in the internet. Never. I still get hits from my essays as far back as ten years ago. Besides there is only so much mileage that the MSM can get out of promoting happy perfidious faced Potemkin sites. After a while, if there is no substance. Everyone just tunes out. Even their strategist know that. It has already been factored into their calculations for e-engagements.

What the government doesn't seem to realize is there is only so much that can be achieved with hype and spin.

Ultimately, if they really want some semblance of resolution with stakeholders in the Internet.

They need a coherent policy that is able to palliate many of the pressing concerns and anxieties that Singaporeans and residents face daily - instead of just going through the motions without really embodying the form.

This is unfortunately something that is not easy to pull off Chin Leng. As that is how serious people go about the business of having a conversation on a national scale.

You see Chin Leng, it is really very simple, not everyone can be seduced by trinkets. Not everyone worships their stat counters either. They also know that. Not everyone can be scared off with zip your mouth lawsuits. They also know that. And not everyone is going to just let them rail road the whole conversation so that it goes their way. This they may not know.

That simply means these "serious and experienced" voices will always exist in the reverse side of the new edition of the Singapore story.

Chin Leng did you know that carpet merchants in bazaars in Tehran always look at the reverse side of carpets to asses their quality? I wonder why?

As for claims that their voices will languish in the profundis of obscurity. Think about it, the Samzidat movement didn't just die under Stalin. It thrived even in the crushing iron girdle of sovietization.

How is it possible to kill an idea in a man's head?

The story will go on Chin Leng.

Good Day

Darkness 2012

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Darkness, or would prefer to be addressed as dotseng?

Agree that the conversation has always been there within small circles and behind closed doors. We are still not seeing a hundred flowers bloom, where there is a flourishing of ideas, an openness, a renaissance of sort.

The gap is opening up a little but not many believe in it yet. There are many talents and better talents available in the island with different ideas and different values. What we have is perhaps the best from the average and it is sliding down the scale.

How can there be a conversation between the creme ala creme and the kiddies when one already assumed to be the best? And it will turn the pyramid upside down if the kiddies have to tell the best what to do or engage in a serious discussion on life and country.

The starting premises are already on the wrong footings. Who is better than the supertalents we have at the moment to impress on them that there could be better ideas: )

Gintai_昇泰 said...

Someone said if there are as many liberal press as in ROC or Hong Kong, do you think our local new social media will thrive? The latter won't be necessary. The fact the we got only one main press feeding propaganda day in and day despite the fact that they are professionals will entice more readership? Many have given up reading the load of rubbish printed on the main media, preferring to read online sites instead. That is fact which they are worried about.

Anonymous said...

Tai Loh, kong wei mai so insult aiy sai buay? What kiddies what pyramid upside down? Lee see Sai...wah jiu meh lee see sai. Buay sai meh?

Anonymous said...

You think seng seng got solution? You wait long long ah

Anonymous said...

"i am inclined – too much, perhaps – to dismiss such people as crackpots. stupid crackpots. the sadder class … we are a tyranny of the capable and the clever, and the only other class is the complement … if you’re not good enough, life will kick you in the balls … my future isn’t certain but i guess right now it’s a lot brighter than most people’s. derek will read this and brand me as an 18-year old elite, one of the sinners who will inherit the country and run his stock to the gutter. go ahead. the world is about winners and losers … dear derek is one of many wretched, undermotivated, overassuming leeches in our country, and in this world. one of those who would prefer to be unemployed and wax lyrical about how his myriad talents are being abandoned for the foreigner’s… please, get out of my elite uncaring face."

This is the reason why your laws suck and your community leaders are fucking hypocrites

Anonymous said...

cherian george's wife is zuraidah ibrahim, deputy editor of the straits times. she is also, hello hello *wink* wink*, the sister of yacob ibrahim, the minister for communications, information & the farts.

Anonymous said...

Darkness will do very nicely Chin Leng.

"We are still not seeing a hundred flowers bloom, where there is a flourishing of ideas, an openness, a renaissance of sort."

You know Chin Leng, this metaphor of an awakening public consciousness has always been a red herring. To me at least. As I don't believe we will ever see a critical mass of readers who would really be that interested in the social political scene in Singapore. For the vast majority of humans,false eye lashes, silver hair brushes and silicone implants will ALWAYS garner a significantly higher share of dedicated readers.

This is not an indictment of readership in Singapore. As it remains a factual reality. That is very difficult for any man to decamp from. Otherwise how can one even account for the mass appeal of Xiaxue and Stomp and my badly written love stories complete with bad spelling, grammar etc.

This I have known as far back as 2005.

I realize most bloggers may disagree with me. As they probably feel there is already an eclectic class of readers online who are genuinely interested in the social political scene. But this cachet of readers doesn't exist Chin Leng. Not in sufficient numbers at least to create the right conditions for a thousand flowers to bloom.

Do you realize that I can write really sappy love stories and with one eye closed can easily manage 70,000 hits. But a social political piece cannot even get 2% of that figure.

So that says alot about the sad state of affairs in Singapore.It also reflects a reality that may even be unpalatable to most in the blogging community, that the sum of total of our efforts really dont amount to very much.

Before we can even make any progress. We would do well to first recognize this operating assumption. Instead of running with the wolves by allowing our imagination to run wild by believing that the power to blog is some wonder weapon that can somehow bring govt to the negotiating table - it cannot.

And that could very well explain why as you put it,

"How can there be a conversation between the creme ala creme and the kiddies when one already assumed to be the best?"

There has to be another way Chin Leng. A reliable. Intelligent and peaceful way.

There has to be.

Darkness 2012

Anonymous said...

Of course there is lah. You just need to reach intelligent people with kiddy talks LOL

The majority participate or not, at this point, is not important laaaaaah

Anonymous said...

Got to have more Matilah Singapura to liven up the New Media lah.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Darkness, I must say your writing is fine and your novel very fine.

There is still this overcast that has yet to be lifted and many from the intelligentsia are just huddling themselves in their little corners sharing their little gossips. There are plenty out there if one is to understand the number of very good students being churned out yearly by the top schools. The RI mafia is definitely around.

The fact that these are intelligent people means that they are thinking and capable of thinking. Many will enjoy the company of equally intellectual and wise people to bounce off their thoughts.

The Xiaxue and Stomp groups are the younger stuff and have very different interests. You can safely count on the 40s to 70s and some outside this bracket to have views of their own.

The arts scene is stirring, not so much of the theatre yet. Many are still passive participants. But with wealth and more liberalisation, the pursuit of the minds and spirits would come naturally.

Today Tharman found his enlightenment. I am so happy that he finally arrived. I am writing a piece on this enlightenment of our political elite.

Anonymous said...

Some people are meek and adaptable, whose style I am sure, is appreciated. These are the people who stand in the gap or bridge the great divide ... the true peacemaker

Come down from your high places, the world does not belong to you only.

Anonymous said...

"Today Tharman found his enlightenment. I am so happy that he finally arrived. I am writing a piece on this enlightenment of our political elite."

Enlightenment with the blessing of LKY or with buddha ? This clown has been wayanging for decades, and now you have this national CONservation scam going on, and suddenly so many PAP clowns get enlightened with no consequence and no sacred cow ? Are we so easily fooled ? Tell me something we don't know.

If he really get enlightened, may I know why he think he still worth millions for the problems he and his clowns created ?

patriot said...

Bloggers just do not geddit; the New Media does have some very intelligent people. BUT, that's about all.
Many, if not all these intelligent and intellectual people are talking to themselves. Some are keeping diaries of their political thoughts, inclinations and wishes. Have they been seen interacting with each other? Have they ever get together to co-ordinate and work towards a collective front to work for the political ideals in their hearts?

It is not wrong to say that the social/political bloggers in Sin are mostly public shy, individualistic, introvert and some are even plainly narcisistic, conceited. Some prefer solitary or lonely indulgence.

It is fair to say that the Community in the New Media is no different from that of the Alternative Political Parties; they are not capable of concerted effort, either bcos they are individualistic or they are fragmented.


Gintai_昇泰 said...

I quite agree with your observations. Just look at those opposition. Are they united? They can't even agree amongst themselves. When the GE is around the corner all the wayang and posturing will start to surface. Even within their own party, there is conflict. One even got sacked from the party when he suka suka acted on his own during the recent BE. What a disgrace and it clearly shows their unity.
Same with bloggers also. Some thought they are super smart head and shoulder above the rest. Just becuz you don't see eye to eye with each other, you think it's beneath your dignity to engage with fellow bloggers. In short, as in everything else there is disparity and diversity in all. Hopefully out of this will have some semblance of unity or camaderie. Look into the root cause not the symptoms !

Anonymous said...

This comment from Gintai is very telling.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

The opposition parties are operating in a very hostile environment and have to watch every step they take. They do not really know who is friend or foe, not even within their parties.

They thus have to look at everyone and every party with great caution and under the microscope. They need to detox before engaging and giving full confidence to welcome and share their position with another party or member.

We need to treat them kinder and not to dismiss them so quickly.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Gintai,

You sounded like you need a bit of sayang sayang: )

Gintai_昇泰 said...

Lol! On 20/10/2012 will the first anniversary of Gintai. I shall stop. I'm retiring from blogoland. Whichever way I langgar - right or left also kena! There are scumbags hiding behind anonymity calling me PAP dog, lackey, bootlicker etc. If only they read my posts, they will know that I'm just commoner struggling in this tiny dot trying to make a decent living. So much insults and disparaging remarks are made against me even though I openly declare that I voted against this govt over the past 3 GEs! Those idiots must be blind to accuse me on other forums as PAP dog etc. KNN! Really langgar tiang. So I better shut up and drive my trains enjoying my life by minding my own business! Let those idiots contd to rant and condemn against the govt - unlike me bringing real cases and living examples when I criticize this govt with facts and logic!

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Hi Gintai,
Don't take it too hard by all the comments in the blog. I also kenna many times by the trolls. Their intention is to make it uncomfortable to bloggers by attacking them so that they stop blogging.
If you quit, they won.
You must develop a cow hide and ignore. Let them langgar lah.

Anonymous said...


If Gintai quits, it shows the divide and conquer approach of PAP is working, isn't it ?

So let me guess what's next.
Okay, one down, a few more to go.

19 bloggers fool by the ruling party to create the perception that they are happy with the govt by their smiling face in shitty media, hence let the blogosphere target these 19 bloggers ...

so who is next...
molly meek,
lucky tan,
online citizen,
last but not least Redbean,...

Guess who has the last laugh ?

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Yep. You guys need to sayang sayang Gintai and tell him not to quit for the wrong reasons.

Gintai_昇泰 said...

Molly Meek will never turn color no matter what happens! She is one of the best besides RB, Tatler, Fish etc

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Agree with you Gintai. Molly is good and so are you. I have read Tatler now and then but have not visited his blog. What is his erl, I want to include into my list.

Gintai_昇泰 said...


Singapore Notes

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Thanks Gintai,

I forgot Singapore Notes is
Tatler's. Already in my list.

Anonymous said...

Err..you guys are sanitary padding each other ah? What's the occasion ah?

Anonymous said...

We know you are here and the pads are reserved just for you.

Anonymous said...

Anyone wishing to do good for the people and country got to be cool like Rb, L Tan, Tatler, M Meek, Bear, Y Bread, Mr Brown, Singapore surf and many others.

Keep blogging, You guys and gals are helping the Leaders to do their duties pro-bono.

Anonymous said...

"Err..you guys are sanitary padding each other ah? What's the occasion ah? "

Because our period of discontent has arrived and it is time for us to menstruate using sanitary pad. Do we always need to say it so clearly everytime ? So embarrassing ...

Gintai_昇泰 said...


The "pads" actually meant for me cuz I'm "tainted!" I've committed an ignominious sin in the eyes of those retards hiding behind anonymity. If I jump into the yellow river also can't wash away my sin! "跳进黄河洗不清" Luckily, I didn't join the 19 of them in Istana or will be much worst. That's why I better retire from blogoland and let those faceless, nameless retards rant and cow peh cow bu all they want until the cows come home! KNN!
Really langgar trus!

Anonymous said...

Among your bloggers, they are better at dissing ppl than are people of substance. Good for a laff or two like feeling the shiokness of clearing your bowel.

Anonymous said...

If blogging cannot remake a better tomorrow for Singaporeans and residents.

Then what is it lacking? Could it be that it's lacking the idea of the community?

If that is the case then this community must be built up.

What would this new community of bloggers who can really remake Singapore look like?

I need to think hard, long and deep about these questions.

Darkness 2012

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Many things take a long time to happen. Ideas and thinking take a long time to germinate and need a long and tedious period to fertilise and grow. Look at the thinking of the English educated here and in the ex British colonies. There still see the colonial masters as good and China as bad. West is good and East is bad.

The ideas are planted over decades and centuries. The impact of internet and blogging will grow and change the way people think, communicate and their values about things, about life and about govt.

It would not happen overnight.

Wrightspuu said...

Some people are meek and adaptable, whose style I am sure, is appreciated. These are the people who stand in the gap or bridge the great divide ... the true peacemaker Come down from your high places, the world does not belong to you only.

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