For the case of To-bed (东躲）, enough have been said about how the editor/boss abuse the MSM to suit his own prejudice or agenda, or simply to reflect the partial point of view he sees, in which he either abandoned the ethic or was just unprofessional. So I thought I should look at other topics/geographies, to see if the same phenomenon is observed, without the noise of racism, or anti-China agenda. So I browsed MSM coverage on an adjacent country, by a much more respected media, the Economist. The Economist is reputed for its quality and 'neutrality'. So the shortfall in the Economist will probably mean there is similar flaw across the whole of MSM. (The reverse may not necessarily be true)
This is from the April 10th issue: titled "Mountains to climb"
More worrying, most of the pre-election violence was carried out by one of the main contestants: the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which in 2006 ended a decade-long armed struggle. Its 23,000-strong rebel army is corralled under UN eyes, but intact. On the stump, Maoist leaders argued that anything less than a sweeping victory for their party would be evidence of massive rigging.
That was ominous: the Maoists are believed, in the absence of any reliable opinion poll, to be widely detested. But that they took part in the election—twice postponed, once on their account—was worth celebrating. Nepal, a country of 28m people, is a poor, lawless and fractious place. It faces worsening ethnic, caste-based and regional conflicts. The hoarding of power and riches in the capital, Kathmandu, causes huge resentment, which fed the Maoist insurgency. Indeed, under the terms of a shambling peace process, the basic shape of the Nepali state is an open question. The election has improved the odds the answer will be found peacefully.
- Assuming, that is, the Maoists accept the results. Winning at least 80 seats—out of a possible 601—is rumoured to be the bottom line for their continued commitment to democracy. But a convoluted electoral system, voter intimidation and the passage of time since Nepal's last serious election, in 1999, make the outcome hard to predict. The aggrieved southerners should also win at least 80 seats, though split between different parties. They are one of several marginalised ethnic or caste groups for whom a block of seats has been reserved. The Terai lot successfully agitated for improved terms in February through a two-week blockade of Kathmandu.
- The former rebels surprise everyone with a stunning electoral success. That may prove to have been the easy part
- Defying every prediction but its own, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), until two years ago a feared rebel army, won handsomely.
- A complicated electoral system, in which around 40% of seats are directly elected and 60% through proportional representation, has held up final results. But the Maoists, proscribed by America as terrorists, were on course for a clear majority in the first tranche, with 119 seats out of 224. And they had 33% of the vote in the second. They will certainly be the biggest party, but without a majority, in a 601-seat assembly, which will have a 30-month term limit and will be charged with drafting a new constitution.
- The Maoists ended a decade-long armed struggle in 2006, after Nepal's King Gyanendra, who the previous year had seized absolute power, was compelled by street protests to hand it back. Entering a coalition government with six political parties, the scrubbed-up insurgents committed themselves to the democratic process. To many, this looked like either a tactical ploy or noble folly. Led by a charismatic guerrilla, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, or Prachanda (“awesome”, pictured above), the Maoists held sway in much of Nepal. But they were thought to be loathed for their part in a nasty war that left more than 10,000 dead. Most pundits expected them to be trounced at the polls.
- They reckoned without three factors. First was the Maoists' manipulation of the result. Thugs from several parties terrorised voters. European Union observers of the election concluded it was held in a “general atmosphere of fear and intimidation”. But the Maoists' thugs were chiefly to blame. The party's candidates also hinted that if it lost, they might resume the war. And no doubt, in the country's many remote and lawless places, some voters wanted the Maoists in faraway Kathmandu—not their forests, stealing their food and pressganging their children.
Fortunately, the Economist is still good when facts are so obvious that manipulation (or misconception) is not easy. It only try to sway you the less than obvious. Further down the article, we see the real truth
- Yet even near Kathmandu, where some 2,000 foreign election observers were clustered and there were few reports of malpractice, the Maoists won seven of 15 directly elected seats. In the eastern Terai area, next to India, the Maoists had been supplanted by local nationalist groups, both armed and democratic. Yet they have so far won ten out of 27 seats there.
- A second explanation for the results is more convincing: that Nepalis were sick of the alternatives. These were chiefly the Nepali Congress (NC) party, which dominates the ruling coalition, and its traditional rival, a mainstream leftist party known as the UML (for “Unified Marxist-Leninist”). Both were tarnished by spells of corrupt and ineffective rule during the 1990s. As for King Gyanendra, he can also take his cue from the electorate. At the Maoists' insistence, the 240-year-old monarchy was provisionally abolished in December—a sentence that the next assembly is due to confirm. This seemed undemocratic at the time; it doesn't now. Nepal's three small royalist parties won no directly elected seat: ie, one fewer than the tiny Nepal Workers' and Peasants' Party, which supports North Korea's Kim Jong Il.
- ..As the biggest party of government, the Maoists may now be in a position to insist. However, their deputy leader, Baburam Bhattarai, implies that they will test their new strength carefully. “Before, we were in a stage of making demands; now we are in a stage of implementation,” he said, seated beneath a poster exhorting workers everywhere to unite behind “Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, Prachandaism!!” This last “ism”, which describes the Maoists' struggle as a “bourgeois peasant revolution”, is tricky to pin down. Their economic policies, which include seeking foreign investment for Nepal's hydropower industry, seem quite liberal. Many of their social policies, which the Maoists describe as a war against “feudalism”, are also laudable. Besides scrapping a discredited monarchy, they would fight caste-based discrimination, the deprivation of tribal groups and the exploitation of landless labourers. For poor Nepalis, all this makes a popular message. That is the third—weirdly overlooked—reason for the peasant revolutionaries' great victory. Of course, making big promises is easier than keeping them, and the Maoists will disappoint. The question is: how badly?
Now let's go back to Tobed, and the Olympic, and see how it was reported by the Economist --not sure if James Miles wrote it, or a heavy-handed editor chipped in and secretly loaded the language
- The torch's bad week started in London on April 6th, where hundreds of protesters dogged it, as it was passed from famous hand to hand. At one point, protesters were blocked as it was whisked to Chinatown to give China's ambassador the chance to clasp it for a while. China's flag had an outing too. Hundreds of Chinese students were bused in. Some protesters were unruly, and 37 arrested.
- The torch was guarded not just by the police but by a phalanx of Chinese men in blue-and-white tracksuits. Their jurisdiction was hazy, but their demeanour unmistakable. As Lord Coe, chairman of the committee organising the 2012 London Olympics, was heard to say, they were “thugs”. Their presence outraged even those who could not find Tibet on a map.
- ...The Chinese press have called the thugs in blue and white “valiant and heroic”. It has reported that the squad is made up of officers from the paramilitary People's Armed Police, who have been training for this role since last August, including learning to give orders in five languages.
Tobed and China is not small country like Nepal. I am also pretty sure the Economist knows the complexity of the Tobed issue (many smaller media could pass as an honest mistake or being ignorance. But I have too much respect for the Economist for such a simple explanation). Yet for Nepal it reckoned its mistake and tried hard to find an explanation, perhaps successfully, while in the case of Tobed it continues to plunge and self-indulge.
The lesson of the comparison of the 2 Nepal reports:
- The press has its prejudice, due to lack of information, laziness or lack of resources, which is the same in either the case of Nepal or Tobet. In these two cases the link to communist or mao puts one in innate disadvantage. Perhaps our friend 88s has correctly put it, had the C-cp changed its name and claim to be no longer communist, as it really is not, the whole situation may be different
- The Economist (or MSM, or Western in general), respect democracy. i.e., had the Chinese government gone through the test of democracy, like the Maoist in Nepal did, the MSM might eventually have to go through a soul-searching process (like the Economist in its second article). Perhaps until that day, the MSM is still against China, consciously or subconsciouly?