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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Opposition coverage in the Straits Times

A: The extent of Sumiko Tan's political analysis for why people vote for particular opposition candidates appears to be that they are "generally described as credible" and she "suppose[s] they must have done a good job" to be re-elected. Apart from the remote possibility that people are "disaffected with the ruling party's policies," said policies and said reasons for disaffection being entirely unspecified and indeed almost, it would seem, inconceivable, the main reason for voting opposition is "for opposition's sake."

Aren't journalists supposed to be not completely ignorant about what they write about? If she has no idea why people voted for the opposition, might it not be a good idea - indeed, might it not actually be her job description - to ASK THEM? I guess fact-finding and actual investigation have no part to play in a responsible, nation-building press.

B: If Mediacorp and SPH were still together, I'd advise Channel 5 to put together a S'pore version of The Daily Show. Not only would ST journalists be excellent replacements for Ed Helms and Stephen Colbert (who after all uttered the famous line 'I know some of you fact-checkers out there in the fact-o-sphere may point out that I'm just making this up, but I know in my gut that capital punishment is the number one reason why I haven't murdered anyone yet'), ST circulation might increase once people realise the immense comedy value of its columns.

C: Consider:

There are actually many bright and lucid people we know who are actually working in the national papers.

However insightful journalism continues to not be in sight.

Therefore, one is led to provisionally suspect that the less one actually thinks in the editorial room, the better the chance one gets of getting promoted.

D: Wouldn't an easier analysis come from looking at the newspapers which win awards for journalism i.e. actual writing than for those 'gorgeous' newspaper designs? If so, then I submit that the reason why BT actually has stuff and editorials worth reading is because it has competition from FT and ASWJ


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