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Why I hate the media - Elizabeth Unexplained
Lots of data but no answers
greyautumnrain
greyautumnrain
Why I hate the media
So I made the collosal mistake of trying to listen to a bit of news in the car on the way to work. Sure, it sounds like a good idea, but in practice its just hastening the day when I will need to take blood pressure medication.

As you may know, there was a coup in Thailand this week. A general came in with military vechicles and took over the country while the prime minister was abroad. It's reported that no shots were fired. Its also reported that many Thais seem to welcome the coup.

So there I was in my car, having turned on the radio and I hear a reporter asking some Thai guy (I missed the introduction part) about the transitional period. From the interview it sounds like the person being interviewed is Thai military and the plan is to turn over rule to an interum civilian authority and hold elections in one year's time. The reporter then asks "Why wait? Why not just hold elections tomorrow and return to democracy right away?" This is the point at which I am overcome with the urge to shoot the reporter for asking such a stupid question.

The guy being interviewed gave the sort of answer vague answer about needing to get some sort of national unity and reconcilliation before holding elections that you might expect from a guy who is trying not to make things worse with a hostile reporter. In his place I would have been sorely tempted to answer, "Because, you stupid twit, no one can conjure any sort of satisfactory election overnight." To me, a year sounds like a perfectly reasonable time frame to hold elections if that's what you want to do. I did a little interenet poking, and one political party leader in Thailand wanted elections in six months; that was the most aggresive time frame I could find from anyone in Thailand. Said politician also stated that he was not disturbed by the current situation, so it sounds like he doesn't think a year before elections is outrageous.

I think part of what bothered me was the reporter seemed to be making a number of assumptions that I don't agree with, hence the questions that I take as stupid. One of the assumptions she seemed to have is that all military coups are by definition bad. I don't agree with that. I would agree that its not an ideal way to handle things, but I'm not going to just assume that if a general rolls in with tanks and takes over that he's some sort of evil, power-hungry dictator in the making. Sure, that happens a fair amount, but given that this coup happened without a shot being fired and without any sign that the Thai people are perturbed and upset, and with credible charges of corruption in the existing government I'm inclined to not leap to any assumptions. It irritates me that the people who are supposed to be keeping us informed and who are supposed to be professionally unbiased are less reserved.

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Current Mood: grumpy grumpy

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Comments
kirisutogomen From: kirisutogomen Date: September 21st, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't suppose the report mentioned that the last elections in Thailand were so screwed up that the constitutional court declared them invalid, and rescheduled a new election for six months later? Or that the prime minister had unilaterally delayed them another month? Or that the reason the elections back in April were so hosed was because the main opposition parties boycotted them?

I'm guessing none of that was mentioned. A little context might make it obvious even to a journalist that it's silly to expect Thailand to hold a fair election tomorrow.
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: September 21st, 2006 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, the report failed to mention those little details, though I had read them elsewhere.
twe From: twe Date: September 21st, 2006 04:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I heard that interview too. That was on the BBC Newshour show:

Thais under the army
Thailand's army has banned political meetings, and now called in media bosses to tell them what can and can't be said. Newshour speaks to Bangkok journalist Tep Chaiyong and Thai Army Commander Surafant.

I was surprised by that question too. I really used to enjoy their interviews, but lately, they've not been impressing me as much. (Last week or so, I remember being disappointed to hear them asking some equally stupid pointed question, that was actually the exact opposite of a question I've heard them put to interviewees before. Very disappointing. I wish I could remember the exact question now, drat it.)

I agree though, it seems silly to expect any sort of well thought out decision to come out of a snap election.
greyautumnrain From: greyautumnrain Date: September 21st, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, standards have really gone down at the BBC. I'm very disappointed with them. They used to be one of the very few news sources that didn't ask blatently stupid questions.
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