The ease of Internet access empowers news portals with the opportunity to present what they feel are important issues for their audience.
Hence, while politically conscious Malaysians may feel the wind of change is against Barisan Nasional, many remain unaware that their political beliefs or perspectives have been largely shaped by agenda setting
Research has shown how some news commentaries as portrayed by news media do not reflect reality – MSM filter what they want their audience to know and shape perspectives via their selective content.
Other times, deliberate media focus on a few issues or subjects can mislead the public to place greater emphasis on those â€˜selectedâ€™ issues.
Undoubtedly, the media has a very pervasive role, especially on political communication.
Bernard Cohen (1963) noted, â€œThe press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about.â€
The situation is worsened if certain portals, local and foreign are owned by the same person/group as in the case of reporting on Anwar Ibrahim by The Malaysian Insider and The Edge Review.
Owned by Tong Kooi Ong, a long-time Anwar crony, The Edge Reviewâ€™s recent “Hounding of Anwar Ibrahim takes a toll on Malaysia” which was heavily quoted by The Malaysian Insider (also owned by Tong Kooi Ong) in Jailing Anwar could hurt Najib more than it did Dr M.
Note that thirty TMI staff resigned following increasing differences between the TMI editorial team and its financiers on its editorial direction, especially during the run up to the May 5 General Election. (Read more HERE)
Using their platforms of media ownership, those sites took advantage of the aggregate impact of their pro-Anwar articles to offset a powerful impact on what readers thought of what other people are thinking by cleverly packaging 13 fibs in an anti-BN, anti- Najib tone. These (in italics) include:
1. Jailing Anwar could cost the BN more votes as Malaysians grow tired of the government’s treatment of the opposition leader after 16 years.
Objective reporting by responsible journalists would realize the final verdict has a disconnect with BN votes as GE 14 is many years away. Yet, the editor could not resist reinforcing the stereotype that BN is losing ground. In addition, the dailies refused to acknowledge the fair treatment the courts and government have given to Anwar but chose to make innuendoes about this.
Deliberately, they failed to disclose Anwar requested for almost 70 postponements of his trial. In
addition, the dailies have not acknowledged how the government did not zero in on Anwar concerning his many negative comments about the government, with full realization of the delicate condition of political ambiance. The final sedition charge was presumably a decision made quite hesitatingly in a scenario of â€œDamn if we do, damn if we donâ€™tâ€ as DSAI had been such a loose cannon unleashing a torrent of damaging and negative statements and allegations.
2. His latest sodomy appeal taking place against the backdrop of an on-going blitz against opposition politicians and others critical of the establishment by using the colonial-era Sedition Act.
The above statement makes a weak and irrelevant connect between the trial and the other irresponsible statements of opposition politicians without acknowledging that if the ISA was not been repealed, things might have been better contained with fewer loose cannons in the country. The dailies refused to acknowledge how there is so much media freedom in this country as many go on a rampage in social media with comments and even art work without being hauled up to face the music of their irresponsible acts.
3. “In the immediate term:
a. a guilty verdict against Anwar will turn the opposition leader into a political martyr on the international stage and
The above is a warped statement as the dailies blatantly ignored the fact that Anwar is facing waning support internationally to the extent that he had even slammed the Australian media and government for their silence since John Howard spoke up for him in 1998. How can he be a political martyr if he publicly acknowledges weak support for his case?
b. ..further dent Malaysia’s image abroad, which has suffered in recent months over attacks on the government for using draconian laws to cow opposition politicians,” The Edge Review said in an article, “Hounding of Anwar Ibrahim takes a toll on Malaysia”.
The above allegation cannot be more inaccurate. So many world leaders have lauded our Prime Minister and our countryâ€™s progress â€“ the latest being Japanâ€™s PM Abe who praised Malaysia for implementing various economic policies to transform the country into a high-income nation under Najibâ€™s leadershipâ€.
Last month, the World Bank Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency report announced that Malaysia is ranked 18th out of 189 economies, an improvement of five places. Instead of reporting positives, those dailies persist in spreading negative images of Malaysia because of their ties with DSAI. You can read and download The World Bank report HERE.
4. The weekly digital magazine said it appeared “likely” that Anwar would be jailed, and said that this might boost Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s support from within Umno, the party he leads.
Equating the final verdict with an effect on the PMâ€™s popularity is ludicrous. Speculating on the verdict is even more irresponsible as the dailies should leave the courts to announce the verdict and respect it.
5. It would also cause new problems for the Pakatan Rakyat, which the Edge Review said, had been struggling to maintain a united front over religious and racial issues.
The impact of the verdict on Anwarâ€™s case should have no bearing on PR because the trial has nothing to do with the coalition. To try to connect it is quite a joke because with or without the sodomy trial, the fact remains cracks appeared in PR long ago and it is a matter of time before it implodes.
6. However, citing analysts, it said that having Anwar in jail “would do nothing for Najib’s tattered political prestige among ordinary Malaysians and could even hurt him more than it did Dr Mahathir”.
Why compare and contrast the impact of jailing Anwar even before the verdict is announced?
Why compare and contrast the impact (if any) on Najib with that on Dr M?
Why not compare and contrast the impact ON PKR before sodomy, after sodomy and highlight how Anwar never prepared the next echelon of leadership apart from his wife, his daughter, and Azmin?
7. This was because Najib was also dealing with withering internal support from Umno, which meets for its annual general assembly later this month.
The above is a classic case of bias in reporting as there is absolutely no supporting evidence. It is merely a mischievous statement to reinforce anti-PM feelings.
8. Najib has come under attack from party veterans, most visibly by Dr Mahathir and former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, both of whom have blamed him for Umno’s decline. Dr Mahathir has also become increasingly vocal about some of the government’s policies under Najib.
Any responsible editor would backlink to previous reports or cite dates but this media group owned by an Anwar crony went on a trigger-happy mode to shoot PM Najib.
9. The Edge Review said that Umno was now in a fight for its survival, having hit its lowest point in electoral support ever in the 13th general election last year. Though it maintained a parliamentary majority, it lost the popular vote to Pakatan.
To equate the GE 13 results with a survival mode in UMNO is as far as the west is from the east. Why did the editor/writer insidiously include Anwarâ€™s favourite phrase â€œit lost the popular vote to Pakatanâ€ which was the glorious hymn sung for months? That itself is a Freudian slip that shows the pro-Anwar slant of the media group owned by Tong Kooi Ong.
10. Malays first began abandoning Umno from 1998 onwards, when Dr Mahathir sacked Anwar as deputy prime minister and finance minister, and slapped him with the first sodomy charge.
The above statement is just positioned midway as a subtle reminder of what happened to Anwar. To equate that with Malays abandoning UMNO from 1998 onwards is another fallacious overgeneralization unbacked by statistics or evidence.
11. Since then â€“ almost two decades later â€“ analysts have looked back on Anwar’s persecution as a “serious and costly misadventure” for Malaysia, the Edge Review said.
If the writer had been responsible, he would have read the 85-page judgement and realized how that phrase “serious and costly misadventure” applies to the political future of Anwar and his family.
12. “Too much damage has been inflicted on the system because of this campaign,” it quoted commentator and political researcher Bridget Welsh as saying.
What sort of damage in tangible and measurable terms?
Which part of the system?
Surely a person like Bridget Welsh is capable of qualifying her statement and even if she did not, why is it reported? Why the editor refused to request for clarification as should be the case according the code of ethics is testimony of the mischievous agenda behind the two reports.
13. Even as the Umno-led BN lashes out at its critics using the Sedition Act, its focal point remains Anwar because Umno feared him as “the biggest threat to their hold on power”, it added.
The above statement is so warped, untrue and malicious. The use of Sedition Act was only to prevent things from going out of hand. Nowhere in this world do Chief Ministers and politicians attack Home Ministers or Prime Ministers – only in Malaysia.
If indeed the government feared Anwar, they would have arrested him long ago. No. A report was made and because of investigations, the trial was held, judgement given and we await the verdict of the appeal. It is not as though the whole scene was a script written by UMNO.
Still, the media has gone to town with misperceptions, disinformation and all kinds of innuendoes and yet remain scot-free because we have freedom of speech.
Tragically, while the opposition deride that â€˜freedomâ€™ which they deliberately and outrageously abuse, the masses continue to be persuaded by all kinds of messages hurled at them â€“ fibs and not
facts, thanks to Anwar-owned media groups. Think and judge for yourselves â€“ without all these fibs and fallacies spun from pro-Anwar portals owned by a long-time crony â€“ Tong Kooi Ong.-The Unspoken Truth