Ok to print half truth?

An article in the ST yesterday by its editor Yap Koon Hong more or less says this is excusable given certain conditions when factual reporting is difficult. The article is in response to the criticism across the world, in the main media and social media, on Ching Cheong’s infamous report on the 120 hounds used to devour Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of Kim Jong Un and the second in Command.

What Ching Cheong set out to do, by quoting the report from a China source, Wen Weipo, to infer that China was showing its disapproval of the young Kim is understandable and acceptable. Many analysts adopt this methodology to understand the nuances in the news coming out from China to get a feel of the thinking in Zhongnanhai. What is unacceptable is to convey the false information as truth. Did Ching Cheong’s article did that or did he in some way conveyed that message or simply did not dispute or qualify the authenticity of the news?

The negative reactions to Ching Cheong’s article by so many sources, including reputable western media, say it all, that he did wrote in such a way that the misinformation could be construed as the truth by many readers and thus the rebuke.
But why is Yap Koon Hong trying to justify that a fifty fifty case is acceptable? His reasoning, it is difficult to get news or the truth out from North Korea. So half truth or misinformation can be published or else there will be no news to report. His second reason, unbelieveable, is that many truths would also be questioned or be reputed by the readers and not believed. Does this mean that since truth is not well received, what’s wrong with printing half truth, or to stretch the reasoning further, untruth?

There is a world of difference between printing half truths without qualification and can be read by the unsuspecting readers as truths, and printing them with qualifications that their authenticity is unclear or unsubstantiated. The readers demand a very exacting standard from the main media to print the truth and nothing but the truth. Half truths or rumours must be stated clearly as such.

Would the readers be willing to compromise the quality of news on the excuse that unverified news can be passed on as truth without qualifications? If this is the standard for news reporting in the main media, you can expect fictions to be all over the pages to sell papers for sure.

There cannot be compromise on truthful reporting. Even then, selective reporting is already the norm. When would the main media lower its credibility to report on questionable truths and facts and claim it is alright to do so? What is the meaning of integrity of news and professionalism of the reporters and agencies? Where is the point of morality if main media are allowed to report half truths as news and truths?

Shifting morality and integrity to fit the circumstances cannot be reasons to compromise on the responsibility of main media to report the truth for sure.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Doesn't matter can or cannot print half truths, but smart Sinkies should be able to differentiate between truths, half truths and lies lah.

In fact, smart Sinkies may not even want to read the mainstream media, for that matter.

Smart Sinkies only want to make money, lots of it, whether PAP or WP govt, in Sinkieland or Timbuktu. And they will.

Anonymous said...

...smart Sinkies should be able to differentiate between truths, half truths and lies lah.
Anon 8:43 am

Tiok. And that's how they can make lots of money. And not get cheated as well.

Anonymous said...

And maybe smart Sinkies know it will be easier to make money under PAP govt than WP govt?

No wonder they did not join WP or any other opposition.

PAP is best. Or best available, rather. That's the truth.

Anonymous said...

What you people saying are half truths. Why don't you tell the truths, that the smart Sinkies are not joining the PAP and you end up with tin cans and more tin cans?

Look at what kind of policies and the mess being created and you will know the calibre that have joined.

oldhorse42 said...

Full truth or half truth or blatant lie, does it really matter?
As long it is entertaining and cause me no harm lah.

Anonymous said...

too bad smart sinkies only 40% of the population. the other 60% is sheep.

patriot said...

Sinkies are indeed smart.

They know that there are so much half truth that they now treat all truth as half truth.
Problem solved, so who needs to speak the truth anymore?


Anonymous said...


daft can differentiate?

if msm claimed kuan yew droppings can cure cancer and will be auction off for some charity?

many will bid for this shit

if offered free on a specific date.... daft will start queueing 49 days before that date

knnccb .... papigs return our cpf@55 ...

Anonymous said...

msm is as creditable as the epouch time published n distributed by the falungong

like those tabloids, free for all

daft love free gifts, will swallow everthing wholesale

what more .... even some highly educated believe kong hee claim; god said SORRY to him

i believe him too ... used to have people calling me god when i was young and hot bloodied

knnccb ...... papigs, i will cursed u until m deathbed; akan datang

b said...

The world is full of bullshits and the press is one of the tools used to spread those bullshits.

Anonymous said...

If the Shit Times reporter Cheong had written that Jang was literally fed to the dogs, that itself is an opinion. But to specially report that Jang was fed to 120 hounds witnessed by 200 people, that is no longer an opinion.

When so smelly with shit, still want to argue some more. So lack of professionalism, really shame on these reporters ?