TODAY: The ‘faceless’ up in arms

todayBloggers riled about assertions that they are ignorant and lack creativity

OVER the weekend, some local newspapers took to highlighting blogs and the elections.

The Weekend Today ran a front page story about bloggers and whether “they know the rules” regarding the elections — complete with a cover photograph depicting bloggers as faceless people with paper bags over their heads.

And The Straits Times declared last week that only 1 per cent of the population found blogs “credible”, as opposed to 60 per cent who found newspapers credible.

Read more at TODAYonline: [pdf][text]

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As you can imagine, this riled some bloggers. Blogger “Jeff Yen” (jeffyen.blogspot.com) pounced on this report, even suggesting his own headline.

“Even the survey commissioned by the newspaper found that 40 per cent of respondents don’t find newspapers to be credible … I mean, wow! The title of this article shouldn’t be about bloggers; it should really be: ‘Almost Half Of This Newspaper’s Readers Don’t Find It Credible!’,” he writes.

The blog “Brand New Malaysia” (brandmalaysia.com) commiserated with its Singaporean counterparts, disagreeing with the finding that people didn’t find blogs credible.

“In my trips to the city-state, I see people reading blogs in shopping complexes, on mobile phones and over food and drinks. As I pass people in offices, I see them taking ‘short-breaks’ by surfing popular blogs — both for entertainment and news.

“I know a whole set of people — professionals and highly-placed corporate citizens — who sneer at the newspapers, and instead rely on news source from BBC and other online news organisations,” writes its author, Mack Zuklifi.

He adds: “I know propaganda when I see it. Stay strong, Singapore bloggers. We know the truth of the matter.”

The Void Deck (www.thevoiddeck.org) comments: “The Today report also makes it seem that bloggers are out of sync with the legalities going on … ‘welcome to the real world, bloggers’ is a cold-water rude wake-up call for us to accept that we’d better shut up and fade away.”

Seksi Matashutyrmouf (sieteocho7-8.blogspot.com) says of traditional media: “They do not understand that the internet is like a city full of snipers, or an ant’s nest. They used to have it their way. They used to be the police state, and used to watch our every move. Now the tables are turned … It is our turn to be Big Brother now.

He adds: “We will continue to ask questions, disseminate ideas, raise issues. We will still be able to influence public opinion, and at the end of the day that is the only thing that matters.”

But to whether or not bloggers will actually get to do that, the Parliamentary Elections Act notwithstanding, this is something the pundits will be looking forward to observing come election time.

As Mr Wang Bakes Good Karma (commentarysingapore.blogspot.com) puts it, it isn’t a matter of how bloggers talk about the elections — it may be a case of whether bloggers bother to do it in the first place.

“It would surprise many of my regular readers, but frankly I am not particularly interested in the upcoming elections. As far as I’m concerned, it will be an event with lots of excitement and fanfare, but even before the dust settles we all know who will win and does it really make any difference whether they have 77, 79 or 81 seats in Parliament?” he wrote in response to an email from a newspaper journalist.

Mr Miyagi aka Benjamin Lee has been entertaining readers at miyagi.sg for over a year, and would like to remind fellow bloggers that putting paper bags over their heads does not make for a good look.

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