Is SPH biased? Reporting half truths?

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WP Hougang SMC MP-elect’s statement.

In the year 1982, I was a participant of a Pre-U seminar held at NTU where Pre U students discussed social issues of the day. In those days during my time, those presenters had to camp in the hostel for few days. It’s usually held during the school holidays.

Recently, a 17 year old Pre U student made waves when he rebuked our leader who had attended the seminar. Prominent public figures from the public and private sectors are usually invited as guest speakers to address the participants.

I remember vividly how our late Mr S Rajaratnam, DPM and foreign minister who was one of the VIP speakers addressing the participants then. He was talking about the free press.

Mr S Rajaratnam started his speech by relating a story to us. He said that an eminent archbishop was found in a hotel room with a half naked woman. It was headline news. It was a fact and the truth. But when the reader read further, the woman was actually his legally wedded-wife.

Mr Rajaratnam said that if the media had reported the news as the archbishop was with his wife in a hotel, no one would be interested to read. But when it was reported that the respectable archbishop was found with a woman in Hotel 81, circulation figures soar. People just love to read juicy scandals especially if it involves an archbishop with a woman in a hotel!

In both instances, the media was reporting the truth but only half truth with a mischievous slant in the second scenario! In this case, to boost up readership figures.

Former DPM and foreign minister S Rajaratnam was an accomplished journalist himself before he became a politician. He knew what he was talking about. The power of the media and the printed word can make or break a man’s integrity and reputation indeed. In those days, there was no Internet or New Social Media. The main stream media was king.

Today, it’s different. There are many other sources of news besides the traditional main media. For more than thirty years, it’s my normal routine to religiously read ST without fail. Not anymore. Of course, the two mosquito tabloids are no go due to their penchant for sensational reporting. I have also removed all the related iPhone apps. I now depend on online yahoo news which is more reliable. I also read BBC or Guardian and many others which are more balanced and professional in their reporting.

By now, we have read about the on going spat between WP and the main media on the Hougang By- election coverage. Is the main media biased or not, the readers ought to know very well. If it’s a spade, it’s a spade. Nobody can fool everybody all the time.

Look at the latest statement from our newly minted Hougang MP Ah Huat. He claims that the media has misled readers by half truths. Of the eight companies he closed down within twelve years, only three were directly related to him. The fourth was a dormant company. The other four were all under the NTUC umbrella of companies. He just made a statement of facts without much fuss or accusations except to say “The Pen is mightier than the sword and the media has a duty to wield the pen responsibly and not present untruths or half-truths.”

I forgot to mention that Mr Rajaratnam asked the Pre U seminar participants back in 1982 – about 30 yrs ago, why when you go to court to give evidence, you will have to swear or take the oath of “telling the truth, the whole truth nothing but the truth?”. He remarked why not just swear to tell the truth but why the need to emphasize “the whole truth, nothing but the truth?”. That’s because the court doesn’t want half truths or heresay from witnesses. The court wants the whole truth nothing but the whole truth. As simple as that.

Is our local media practicing precisely that? Do they have a moral conscience and social responsiblity? The readers know best. In today’s instant Internet information, the mainstream media risks getting irrelevant if it continues with its half truth and mischievous slant reporting ethics.

The main stream media can talk or deny until the cows come home. It’s the readers that matter. They will know what’s happening. Why then an ex SPH editor of 30 yrs experience set up a FB to rally all to boycot the SPH? Its obvious that they didn’t fulfill their role well.

Do we need to say more? Let the readers be the ultimate arbitrators.

Retired SPH editor’s FB.

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My previous article on free press.

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About Gintai_昇泰

I'm a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I write for pleasure. I also write mainly for my family and friends.
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8 Responses to Is SPH biased? Reporting half truths?

  1. WL says:

    Come on guys, ditch the Shits Times already! It is getting from bad to worse! Why do you want to pay money to read propaganda and be brainwashed? Unsubscribe, stop buying it and see how good it feels to be rid of rubbish like this!

  2. Joey Foo says:

    The problem is that if it’s just “propaganda”, I’m OK with it. The problem here is that the Straits Times doesn’t even know what, and how, to report!

    When it comes to Chinese from China, the headlines goes “Chinese National involved in…”, but when it comes to a Malaysian, or an American, or anyone else? “Man involved in…” Discrimination? Whether you agree or disagree with the immigration policy is your business, but a newspaper’s supposed to be “fair”, isn’t it? Why a different treatment?

    Now, go look at STOMP. That thing is literally turning Singaporeans into a third-world country again. I can’t even put a leg on a chair without being STOMPed! A puddle of water in a train? STOMP! Don’t even notify station staff to clean it up, just STOMP it!

    And then again, I remember SPH suing the Yahoo Newsroom for copyright infringement. Now go have a look at STOMP. Look how much stolen copyrighted material is there!

    “Fair”, you said?

  3. dotseng says:

    The ST seems causing pain to thinking folk of late. If this continues for any longer the chief editor should go. As this does not serve the interest of either the PAP or even the idea of sustaining a national newspaper. All they are doing is supplying the opposition ammunition to do the things they do. I do not think the leaders of our country really know how serious the lost of confidence in the ST is especially amongst the ranks of the thinking classes. Or even how fast this process of lost of confidence is proceeding – first we had the sordid affair of questionable reportage in Hougang, then the self serving WV charity drive, after that, ST mishandled the Marxist conspiracy reportage by being openly biase once again then they tried to sell us the impossible in the form of writing about the one who got away and now everyday they seem to be running soviet styled interviews to showcase what terrible suffering and personal sacrifices our politicians are paying out just to serve the nation. No mention of their sky high salary and creamy bonuses. ST cannot continue this opium laced dance, it needs to be relevant if it is to stay in business. Even Pravda was useful in many respects, it may well have been one of the world’s most surreal and controlled presses as they had a habit of writing mind boggling articles how the soviets were happiest even when everyone in Moscow was talking about hot air balooning and tunneling all the time. But it also proved useful and was still well loved by millions of Soviets as they used super cellulose to cure their newspapers, so this proved very kind on the bum as the communist got most of their toilet paper from Poland from Gdansk and it was really like using sand paper to wipe your ass. But with Pravda it just came off clean and smooth. And since super cellulose is mildly flammable when added to vinegar it was a very effective as fire starters for Soviet gas cookers that had a habit of exploding for no apparent reason. In the summer they could even use Pravda as effective fly traps as super cellulose is a natural adhesive. There were even rumors during the first few days of the Chernobyl fall out Pravda save millions of Russians. As since super cellulose is very high in Phosporous, it reacted with the chemical agent of radium 31 and this turned the paper sepia and served as an early warning of dangerous radioactive contamination. Pravda was well loved all it seems. I feel sorry for ST as these days environment concerns have banned the used of this chemical for curing paper, so it seems even if ST wants to go towards that general direction, they cannot.

    Darkness 2012

    • johntan@hotmail.com says:

      “The editor should go”??
      Who owns the paper? who heads the paper? It’s because of his steadfast apple polishing of his politcal masters that maybe he is appointed to his post in the first place.
      Barely getting his seat warm up and he came up with that biased front page misrepresented headline on the WP followed by that lame reply to them.
      It doesn’t take a genius to know this bias from his past articles t as a feature writer with the ST

  4. Pingback: Daily SG: 5 June 2012 « The Singapore Daily

  5. triad members in white says:

    If LHL can make WongKS, MahBT, RaymondLim, LimBH take a hike, then there is no reason why he cannot do the same with S.T. chief editor.
    But sadly for LHL, the replacements for the above are nothing to crow about.
    So far I don’t see Khaw solving the problems in HDB, neither do I see LuiTY doing so with the MRT and the overall transport system. As for Union leadership, I see a clown cum nitwit replacing LimBH, while Wong’s replacement can sleep well for now because I never believe MasSelamat’s toilet breakout was a stroke of genius on his part.

    Perhaps dotseng can offer their services to LHL, starting with replacement of the chief editor and of course he takes along with him the Chua sisters, Rachel, etc and to add more buzz to S.T., replace WeiLing with a hotbabe to spin more interesting tales of the familee…..LOL

  6. Great blog and thanks for sharing useful information….

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