My third letter in a series comparing dirty Malaysian and American political/media smears.
First letter: Sarah Palin, Anwar Ibrahim and the Politics of Alinsky
Second letter: Proven – the BN/MSMS Complex is Using Alinskyite Tactics
The smear job image as mentioned, via Malaysia Chronicle:
Text of my original letter, with extra embedded links:
Lim Guan Eng’s Family, Latest Target of the Wholly Unoriginal BN/MSM Complex
Rule 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.) – ‘Rules for Radicals’ by Saul Alinsky
And I also warned that once they confirm its effectiveness, the BN/MSM complex would extend their Alinskyite tactics past Anwar Ibrahim to anyone who begins to rise as a credible Opposition figurehead. I specifically mentioned Nik Aziz, Hadi Awang, Lim Guan Eng and Wan Azizah as their potential targets.
And I’ll say it again now, because it seems clearer than ever that our local political hacks are using the American below-the-belt example as their guide – not just in general, but also in the specifics. They have already moved beyond mere personal attacks on public figures into the sordid sewers of attacking innocent family members.
Now as we all know, Penang has been prospering under Pakatan Rakyat’s governance over the past few years. This is a fact that Penang’s ineffectual former taskmasters Barisan Nasional and their crony Mainstream Media (i.e. the BN/MSM complex) cannot dispute. So instead, they turn to personal attacks against Lim Guan Eng, Pakatan’s current Chief Minister of Penang.
First they dredged up remarks he made regarding his personal opinion on the (again, indisputable) high rate of violent crime in Johor. And now the latest hit job by the BN/MSM complex is the (actually rather amateurish and half-baked) attempt to slander Lim Guan Eng’s 16-year-old son with sex allegations.
Basically some self-smug Netizen took a photo of a young woman – whom we now know to be 21-year-old chess Grandmaster Anya Sun Corke – and cut out the surrounding innocent context before sticking it next to a photo of Lim Guan Eng’s son. This is dishonest hackery by itself, as the two have never met. However, the perpetrator also added crude text to suggest sexual impropriety involving the lady’s chestal region.
Of course, since Anya Sun Corke is a relatively famous person (she has her own long-existing Wikipedia entry), it didn’t take long for truthseekers to find the original photo and unravel the deception. Honestly, couldn’t the slanderer have used the photo of some anonymous model, instead of an internationally renowned chess Grandmaster? Hence, amateurish and half-baked.
Those who followed the 2008 US Election should find the above ‘anatomy of a smear job’ familiar.
Shortly after Sarah Palin was announced as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, a scandalous photo began circulating the Internet. There she was, posing in a skimpy stars-and-stripes American flag bikini, toting a large rifle, still wearing her ‘sexy-librarian’ glasses and retro hairdo. It fit the critics’ stereotype of her perfectly – patriotic, gun-loving, attractive… And nothing more than a bimbo ‘trophy VP’. “Do you voters really want this redneck former beauty queen running the country? Isn’t Barack Obama a much better choice – handsome, sexy AND smart?”
Only, it wasn’t actually a photo of Sarah Palin. Just as with the case of Lim Guan Eng’s son, the original photo was eventually found. Some hacks – who had much better imagination and graphics-editing skills than in our present case – took a photo of some bikini-clad woman off the Internet and superimposed Sarah Palin’s head onto it.
But that was just the beginning. As Lim Guan Eng is discovering, hyper-partisan attacks will not be limited to the target’s professional or even personal life. No, the hyenas will next ruthlessly and unethically go after family members and acquaintances. No slander, smear or lie will be too dirty to fling.
Sarah Palin is the textbook case that the BN/MSM complex is studying up on. To date, US media and entertainment personalities who are pro-Obama have: Repeatedly alleged that her husband is having an affair and will soon divorce her; cruelly mocked her Down Syndrome toddler as brutally retarded and begging for a quick death; publicly fantasized about raping her and her young daughters, including the pre-teen; actually threatened rape which led to arrests; and so much more. (Try imagining the tsunami of outrage if someone discussed Barack Obama’s daughters the same way.)
Only everyone’s favourite heartless warmonger and imperialist crusader, George W. Bush has had this much hatred directed his way. And Sarah Palin had not actually done anything other than accept the VP nomination! Which of course was itself the reason, because she posed a threat – no matter how distant – to their precious Barack Obama’s ascension. (Yes, yes, I admit I’m a Sarah Palin Facebook follower – haters gonna hate.)
As I mentioned in my previous pieces, it’s all about distracting the target from his/her professional pursuits, while simultaneously making the public so sick of the constant ‘scandals’ that they tune him/her out of their minds. Best case scenario for the attackers, their victim decides to quit the political arena if they will JUST LEAVE MY FAMILY ALONE!!!
And just to rub in my point, US/Malaysian politics and media parallels are not limited to ad hominem attacks on individuals. Compare these scenes from America with our own Malaysian experience, and see if you can spot the similarities:
Most of the American news networks and other media lean heavily towards the Democrats (just check their political donation amounts), yet whine that FOX News is biased towards the Republicans. Meanwhile, the Malaysian MSM is in the pocket of BN – literally, BN component parties are the legal owners of these companies! – yet have the gall to label independent media as pro-Opposition.
The American media tried to ignore, then viciously slandered peaceful rallies they oppose (the Tea Parties) while gushing and glossing over unruly mobs they support (Occupy Wall Street and its childish ilk) – the latter of which clogged up the Brooklyn Bridge for hours and made commuters fume with frustration. Hmm, is it just me, or didn’t we just see something similar back home with Bersih 2.0 and anti-Bersih – the latter of which intentionally clogged up the Penang Bridge at rush hour?
And Americans are renowned for strongly supporting the ideals of democracy. They are such staunch proponents of free elections, that even death will not stop them from carrying out their duty! 2,812 officially deceased individuals voted in the 2008 Minnesota general elections. This is just like our Election Commission of Malaysia.
…Just kidding! We don’t have such outright scams as Zombie Voters From the Grave. This is because our eligible voters can reach the age of 128 years without dying. Meanwhile, 9,000+ other slightly less sprightly registered voters are merely above 100 years old. (Dead or alive, Malaysia voters among oldest)
But if you point out a mistake in the electoral roll, be prepared to pay for the costs of re-checking out of your own pocket (Stupid law, stupid results). Or better yet, get accused of being a traitor to the nation for your efforts! (Loyalty to the King and Country)
So what the BN/MSM complex is doing is really all old hat. Our local crony media is just playing catch-up with the American trailblazers. (This is in contrast to propping up failed govt-linked companies using taxpayer funds, where a certain visionary Malaysian leader did it long before the Western leaders ‘discovered’ bailouts. And then he scolded the West for rescuing their insolvent institutions. Must be some sort of copyright infringement?)
This means that we have the advantage of knowing in advance what their unoriginal playbook is going to be like, because let’s face it – it’s not like they are genuinely innovative, creative or anything like that.
So now we know what stale ploys the BN/MSM complex is up to. What do we do about it? In five succinct points:
1) Don’t let their sideshows and hit-jobs distract us from the real issues of ethics and good governance! Whom a politician screws in bed is not as important, that the politician is screwing over the country is! (If all else fails, we can always nominate the sex scandal participants to the MCA Presidency… Because apparently that is the only necessary criteria these days. Zing!)
2) Support their targets not to throw in the towel! Anwar Ibrahim, Lim Kit Siang, RPK and Elizabeth Wong are just some examples of their favourite punching bags who refused to leave the arena even after constant harassment and prison/ISA detention.
3) Expose and publicize their deceptions and hypocrisy. The BN/MSM complex has already lost a powerful tool – absolute control of the dissemination of information – to the rise of alternative media, Facebook and Twitter.
4) Join the movements. Are the Bersih 2.0 supporters liars, who make up fairytales about race-blind solidarity and police over-reaction, and spread these pernicious myths via Twitter? The best response is, WE KNOW BETTER BECAUSE WE WERE THERE!
5) Vote! Vote! Vote! Tens of thousands of Tea Partiers across America were pointedly excluded from media coverage, but their real achievement was to turn up en-masse on voting day to r.com/2010/11/learninom_the_landslide.html”>elect representatives who respect the will of the people, resulting in the 2010 political sea change.
Seriously, if you can’t be bothered to cross the minor hurdles of registering to vote and checking for errors (CHECKING ELECTORAL ROLL) and finally actually going to the polling station come election day, you are close to being an accomplice to the slow murder of Malaysia: ‘When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.’ (Often misquoted as ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing’.)
BN has been running our country for so long that sometimes the status quo seems immortal and immutable. We always talk about finally voting them out, but that it might actually happen – maybe this very year! – sometimes seems almost unreal.
And it really will be an unreality if we just sit back and let them have their way.
SCOTT THONG, ‘LEADING MALAYSIAN NEOCON’