Foreign Media Lesson 101; Look Before You Leap!


One would almost expect a semblance of being biased from various local news portals.   There are those which lean toward to the government and those that lean in the opposite direction.

This creates sort of a Yin and Yang effect that brings balance to the lives of everyday citizens.  If nothing else; people can read the various publications and try to piece together a mosaic of life that justifies their political belief system.

When these divergent opinions or stories are published, it can sometimes bring about stimulating discourse much like what takes place in a family squabble.

There can be feelings hurt, bruised egos and sometimes ruined reputations, but through it all the local journalist who contribute to the aftermath are part of the Malaysian family giving them a license in which to operate!

However, there is a serious problem with journalism when the foreign media chooses a political side to support, perpetuate fabricated stories and lies as if they are true!

And it is not the foreign media’s place to back a political ideology in order to assist in the overthrow of a sovereign government.  Doing so makes them hired (foreign media) mercenaries.  The only difference with them and other mercenaries is that foreign media mercenaries use computers, cameras and microphones instead of guns, grenade launchers and landmines; yet the damage they do is just as real!

One has to wonder why the foreign media would risk their journalistic integrity and side with one political party over another.  Is it just to foster regime change for the sake of change or is there more to it?

If these foreign media outlets published or broadcasted similar types of unfounded (1MDB) stories in their own countries in order to push the agenda of one political party over another; there would be a public backlash! And rightly so as there is a trust that citizens place on journalists to give only the untainted facts!

However, risking backlash when it comes to their own nation is their right, but Malaysia is not under the care of a foreign government or foreign media.  As such, foreign media should remain neutral and report without being biased.

At the very least, there should be a journalistic investigative process that takes place to ensure that the information they have been given to publish or broadcast is in fact factual.

The foreign media should adapt the attitude of, if in doubt; check it out!

Doing this would help maintain journalistic neutrality and integrity!  A rush to publish an unfounded story is reckless, irresponsible and amateurish more akin to what one would expect from tabloid journalism!

For many years, readers held the WSJ (perhaps mistakenly) to a high standard than the tabloids; those papers that have a lead story which reads; ‘I married a man a Martian’!

Since the WSJ did not have a tabloid reputation; no one imagined that they would side with one foreign (Malaysia) political party over the other.

There have been False stories the WSJ published about the Malaysia’s Prime Minister being involved with wrong doings involving 1MDB which has subsequently been found to be false.

If the intent was to damage the Prime Minister’s reputation, it backfired as the WSJ has come out of the 1MDB saga with the tarnished reputation!

The growing damage to the WSJ reputation should serve as a lesson for other foreign media outlets when it comes to publishing unsubstantiated stories.  That lesson is; look before you leap!

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