As Chair of BUM2008 yesterday's Evening Session titled "The Fifth Estate/Bloggers -- As Agency of Change", I took the opportunity to add my one sen's worth -- call it weighing in as I hold passion for both estates! -- in between the dialogue beween the Speakers and Audience.
The discourse was of special interest as I had served some 15 years in the mainstream media also sometimes referred to with some disdain as "the MSM", to earn bread&butter, and later graduated to Blogging to earn some pocket money plus at the same time, eran some dime writing occasinally for some MSM, and hence I have strong interest plus vested interests in the two Estates.
Starting point of an interesting exchange, extracting from Sdr Ahirudin Attan aka Rockybru's Post earlier to day:
The 4th estate has failed us? Politically-appointed editors to blame?
The role of the mainstream media (MSM) came under heavy scrutiny at the Bloggers' Universe Malaysia 2008 held for the second year in a row at the Lake View Club, Subang.
Haris Ibrahim of People's Parliament says the 4th Estate has failed the people and called on Malaysians to reclaim the integrity of the profession.
Citizen Nades defended journalists and blamed politically-appointed Editors and draconian Press laws for the failure of a big chunk of the MSM in serving the people.
Zorro, Kee Tuan Chye, Jeyapelan Mahesan, and Desiderata, among others, spoke on the the issue. "
To be continued as the dead-tiredness which followed after Desi was sied running around like a cockerel wit'blue-arsed eyes?-- as described by mindful mariner residing at promptus.blogspot.com when he bumped into the confused Chair as we headed into the Washroom -- still lingers. (*BTW2OU which is my definition of "between the two of us", K!) ) Sdr Stu, did we go into different ones, matey? **LOL! This * and **LOL! is for the benefit of one chedet should he peep into Desi's after I left a knotty comment at his virginal Post, coincident with BUMmers celebrating Labour Day. An ex-PM has now joined the Blogswagon to perhaps earn sedikit duit poket, ia?:) ~~ Desi, knottyaSsusual
Okay, belatedly back to the BUM2008 story, after some diversion into BUKIT Aman, the hill knot so peaceful when they had to deal with the King of Bloggers, Raja Petra Kamarudin -- you read awe about him in today's (Yes, it's now Saturday!:) -- mostly in frontpage, and yes, I see him wearing Yellow, and I have been described as 1/2-a-banana chinoserie before, so it's again claiming greAtness by a(R)s(E)sociation, milking the limelight as much as I can again before I join the late SA of Ijok -- a sales pitch I used to con a few "blocked"mates in parting with RM12 for my Anthology called Midnight Voices or somethin', of which a few autographed copies are still available, and if you buy me tehtarik and the bestA kambing at LINGAM's wit' mateys Ancient and Mindfool mariners, you get the kopi flee. (Read my post of SE7ENth day of the SE7ENth Month of the Year 2-zelo-zelo-SE7EN-lah for d'tale. :)
As I did say if you folks were listening, get on board the Blogswagon to abuse one chief privilege -- YOU can digress as mush as "AS YOU LIKE (IT" (I often quote the Bard at my CONvenience2!:) as long as you don't drive those buggers I humbly call my ER! up, up and away!:(
The panellist who was seated on my left, human rights advocate Haris Ibrahim, had been flaming the Fourth Estate members like Hell ( a four-letter word which passed muster as a civilly accepted term by RPK, so I follow!) for having "sold out" the cause of the 4th Estate as promoted as Journalism Ethics 101. Citing as a well-known ground, the BERSIH rally last November 14 (Some1 pls check date later) attracted only 400 people, according to all MSM reports, based mainly on the national news agency Bernama report (IMHO-lah). More independent sources cited figures from 20,000 (several foreign news wires') to 50,000 (many bloggers') while I estimated at 30,000. On the other estream, some politicians claimed 100, 000 to 150, 000; so the Intelligent Reader must be able to know that it would be beneficial to read widely and come to your own conclusion.
As well quoted in the press line, A PICTURE IS WORTH 1,000 WORDS, so the MSM was indeed shown to be like the Emperor Wearing New (Desi spells it nu'e) Clothes! But other parties are equally seen to be guilty of embellishment -- exaggerating a byte, no? What excited many was Haris' remark that reporters and editors "involved" in such disfigurement of "facts" had soul'd out, and if they had any conscience to their profession, they should resign pronto on principle! (My paraphrase okay, as I was too busy keeping time, and multi-tasking at my youthfool age is proving quite a challenge!:(
In fact, and here I did mention in my "interjection" (which normally a forum Chairman does not do, but Bloggers are a different cup of tea -- yes, we don't believe much in protocol as long as we remain civil to each other. Even my Co-chair Zorro did snatch the mike away from me, the F***! Spell it out for Thee, not the usual vocab of RPK's hear -- it's Fake!) that the MSM reporters worked very hard, doing 10-12 hours, and mostly were attracted to the profession driven by a love for writing and endowed with idealism, at least in the early days until reality shows set in.
I think an audience member, Sdr Jeyapelan Mahesan, said that it was mainly the Editors, and the newspapers' owners, who should be held accountable, as based on his own experience -- havng relatives and friends working in the MSM -- the journalists were generally trying their best to report as best as they could. He proposed that the repeal of the Printing Presses and Publications Act could help the Fourth Estate function better and more freely.
Citizen-Nades in a follow-up too shared that a reporter's copy could be "changed" by the higher-ranked news editor or EIC at the midnight hour when the reporters have all gone home, to rest or to roost, and it was a situation beyond the reach of power/influence of ordinary reporters to ovecome if certain facts were distorted, like a figure at the Bersih rally being much higher in the reporter's original copy being cut down to 400!
Haris, in his usual activist idealism, also had called for a boycott of the MSM as the way to go. He led a group of Bloggers in a complete boycott, but some rational discusssion followed with dissenting Bloggers -- including Desi and matey Ancient Mariner -- with the contrarion view that we need to face up to reality, and compromise with a limited "boycott on principle", and the happy result was, still is, PAPERLESS TUESDAYS! I said I don't mind, 'cos I still have Morrie!
To be continued ... Stay turned, or turned on, or over, whatever!:)
Another MSM Journalist-cum-playright Sdr Kee Thuan Chye who had/has risen to Editor iat two MSM also spoke of some Editors he knew who let the Fourth Estate down. So there was ground for Haris to hold the view that the Fourth Estate sold out, but ... Journalists like Kee and Citizen-Nades proved/still prove there are still editors who try their best to write with a conscience. But as Kee found to his dismay -- a price to pay as I hinted! -- a column he plgged in the vein of some feisty Bloggers do, just lasted two weekly appearances. "Sorry matey, don't be too hard on thyself -- you did try your best!" They are a rare species in the MSM, I hold these newshounds in high esteem.
At one uncertain stage, I believe Nades was at some critical crossroads pre-March 8, 2008. I sighted All-Blogs president Rockybru's write that there was a rumour, well grounded at that time of writing I believe, that Nades could be moving back to the "new" Malay Mail! I bumped into the goode citizen and another news topdog roaming about in Ipoh during the GE2008 campaign period, and we now have some fun-D in hindsight laughing at some MICkey bigwig's expense that the over-staying his vvellakum Prez had slumbered under the delusion from 2004-2008 that he was among the "Invincibles". Now some of us wish he would just help the cause of Malaysia Going Forward by dropping the letter following the second "I"!
To be continued... adjourning for tehtari':). (I'm not sure if the duo mariners had arrived at Lingam's CH wit'out my Invite!:(
Back late Sunday evening:(
As I was saying, Haris' challenge to idealistic minded journalists' to "resign on principle" if their Editors were to "amend or disfiigure" their original copies if accepted by the majority would result in a barren Fourth Estate. Then, who will provide the "raw copies" for Bloggers as Fifth Estaters as starting point discussionsor analysis or commentary?
I always believe we must not throw the baby out with the bath water.
As I have writ recently, "Even the MSM is Capable of Change!". As I have said before,and I think one Panel speaker did too, if the MSM do not change with the changed and changing landscape, they will become irrelevant, then fade away. As the Dodo, de bird, not Cheng!
So I guess there is a sound case for the Fourth and Fifth Estaters to engage each other. I believe there are more common grounds than differences among the two classes of residents which are not exclusive of each other. Some Bloggers also file reports -- mostly on a parttime basis -- for the MSM, for at the end of the day, Blogging as an activity of passion does not earn enough bread and butter. Even Socialist writers like Desi sometimes need to partake in Capitalist sojourns occasionally; otherwise, they also fade away. Ditto the dodo.
Lastly, and lustily, I reprise here the tale I ended the BUM2008 evening forum before the stampede to Warren Buffet's table could start, sharp before 8.30pm because I had a word to honour, anticipating Big Dog would be present,but never ind, many like-minded hounds were around...
"A tycoon at his deathbed summoned his lawyer, instructed him to get him a law degree pronto!
The smiling lawyer took the RM10mil cheque with glee, pocketed it, replaced with a personal cheque for RM7mil, and hurried to a degree-churning firm, law-abiding one, and in double quick time returned to the tycoon's side.
Curio cat that he was, the lawyer --Methinks he's a Limpgum, sounds somethin' like that-lah --asked: "Master, while do you want to spend RM10mil for a law degree when in a few days, you gonna leave us?"
"Ah, mister lawyer-- give me back the RM3mil! -- the joy and ecstasy I get when I leave mother Earth is to know that there will be one less lawyer in this world!" the sick man could still grin from ear to hear.
Limpgum lingered, and the master spied a frown on the limp, perspiring forehead.
"You still have another question?"
"Yes, master, why do you teat thy son so cruel? Last minute sttriking him off thy will, and donating that RM20mil to ...er, ***NAB or something?"
"Ah, this son of a gun -- I send him to College to study law, and what does he do? Every day he goes to the National Press Club, er, along Jalan Tang Sei, and join the ilks of Lockyblew, Jeff agent zelo-zelo wan, and Zollo the Solo, downing birs.
And what did my son learn from them?
Those buggers taught him how to start a SoPo blog!"
***NK: The Master thought NAB was a charity set up to catch those morons they call Blockers or somethin', hence the donation is serving a good civil society cause.
PS: This ***notakaki I left out because I did not wish to educate the SpecialBrunch peeps around at Lake View.:( ~~Methinks they followed RPK hear! God save their souls.