SCMP ‘distorts reality’ shock amazement horror

Inanity of the Week Award goes to the South China Morning Post for the editorial headline ‘Let’s have rational debate, not chaos’. It’s so trite it verges on wacky – too obvious to think up. You might as well say ‘Let’s eat ice cream, not dog droppings’. Coming soon, the boldly provocative opinion piece ‘Nepal would be better if it didn’t have earthquakes’, to pad out the op-ed page’s daily fix of hand-wringing columnists insisting how nice everything would be if only everything was nicer.

The editorial itself criticizes Hong Kong pro-democracy activists for mob-like protests, though it allows that government officials’ open-top bus ride to promote the political reform package ‘did little to facilitate dialogue and exchange’. The problem is that there is nothing much to debate. A Leninist-style one-party dictatorship has declared that we can have SCMP-LetsHaveelections by universal suffrage provided it chooses all the candidates. That is the end of it. There is no-one to discuss, argue or reason with. The Communist Party doesn’t do debates.

A better headline would be ‘It’s a pity we can’t have rational (or any) debate, and it’s also a pity we have the odd bit of chaos on the streets. Oh well.’

This is, of course, not ignorance on the newspaper’s part, but mischievous, or malicious, mendacity. By criticizing protesters for eschewing a rational debate that’s not even on offer, the paper makes them rather than the aforementioned Leninist regime look unreasonable.

Flick back a few pages to the My Take column and you get the same thing. We are invited to believe that ‘Taiwan’ (actually President Ma Ying-jeou) is reasonable and responsible and a good example for our own local young hotheads who ‘thumb their noses’ at Beijing. I don’t have a problem with leaning towards the realist approach to international or other relations. But in order to be a realist you have to grasp the basics of what’s going on. Hong Kong and Taiwan are both free societies trying to protect their freedoms from a big and serious threat posed by the Communist totalitarian regime that controls China. To blame the people trying to protect their freedoms for being The Problem, for being troublemakers, is a travesty. (Independent but officially non-existent Taiwan has an especially hard time in this regard – see an excellent piece on this here.)

The danger is that after a while people start to believe untruths. I have lost count in the last two weeks alone of the number of stories in international media reporting as if the 1,200 members of Hong Kong’s Election/Nomination Committee exercise some sort of free vote, when, beneath its convoluted structure and composition, it is simply a rubber stamp. This is important because ‘chosen by a 1,200-strong Beijing-friendly body’ and ‘chosen in advance by the Communist Party’ suggest different things. Use the former phrase (a la NY Times, BBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, etc), and you prevent people from understanding what is really happening. And today’s FT


Are all these correspondents reading the SCMP too much? That might be the problem.

I declare the longish weekend open with a shot of an MTR Incessant Helpful Advice Screen especially for everyone reading this on their phone while walking, as they probably missed it…


Might be more effective if they added ‘you idiot’. (Wow. Just noticed something about the two photos: the closer you get to the screen/turnstiles, the further away the 7-Eleven appears. Cosmic…)

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14 Responses to SCMP ‘distorts reality’ shock amazement horror

  1. Cassowary says:

    Saying “democrats should stop beating their heads against a brick wall” would at least be honest. But of course they have to keep up the pretense that reasonable compromise consists of non-assholes letting assholes walk all over them.

    A close relative is the faux “fair and balanced” reporting you find in the US media. E.g.
    “Scientists, creationists spar over high school curriculum evolution controversy”

  2. Chris Maden says:

    Talking of lies becoming accepted truths, the government did a most excellent job during the latter months of Occupy Central of making it seem as if the students were responsible for the closed roads when in fact, many more roads and lanes of roads could have been re-opened had the government chosen to re-open them.

    All of which pales in the larger scheme of things compared to the lies the fossil fuel industry has been entrenching in the public consciousness for at least the whole of my life time…

  3. Stephen says:

    Or is it that we just have shite journalists here? Is there still the Asian fear of confrontation or are they just under orders? Case in point Mike Chugani. He gets Carrie Lam on his show to talk about constitutional reform. I think many of us could think of enough pointed questions and retorts, to her bureaucratic blather, to make the ‘Grinning Head Prefect’ very uncomfortable. But instead he choose to lick her for 23 minutes. Why ?

  4. Big Al says:

    Re. MTR’s helpful advice, this really should read “Look where you’re going, not at this screen”.

  5. reductio says:

    Ref. MTR announcements, is anyone else irritated by the classic “When using the escalator, hold the hand rail, stand form and DON”T WALK!” spoken with a very officious, scolding tone. Most HK people have the common sense to disregard it, i.e stand on the right and leave the left open.

  6. Old Git says:

    A medal manufacturer in Mumbai makes gongs for Hong Kong and must be expecting a 1,200 piece commemorative order, with matching lapel badges for accompanying persons.

  7. PD says:

    Thanks, Hemlock, for the trenchant common sense.

    And have a nice weekend.

  8. KwunTongBypass says:

    It’s all part of the Singapurification of Hong Kong.

    We now also have started practicing the new HK style democracy in my family: Kids are allowed to elect what they want to eat: The choice is: 1) Spinach; 2) Mushrooms; and maybe 3) Broccoli

  9. dimuendo says:

    The SCMP wants nothing save the “party” line.

    It solicits ideas or articles for its oped pages. I duly submitted one, basically trying to tell people about a very important decison of the UK Supreme Court that if followed in HK would make it potentially easier for patients to bring claims against doctors or hospitals, and certainly in some circumsntances not to be detirmined by medical views. It was about as none political as you can get but of potential interest to everybody who has dealing with the medical profession, because it actually says patients have to be listened to and their views taken into account.

    The editor acknowledged but said his Insight pages had no space. Why not? For how long no space? They are full of the same anodyne idiots, or bought in and at best vaguely relevant “international commentators”. If he is of the view not up to his standard, okay say so. Fact is, it was actaully trying to tell people of a change (in the UK) as to their rights, and in so demonstrating a reduction in power of of one of the oft overlooked power brokers in HK, namely the medical profession and to a lesser extent the Hospital Authority.

  10. Joe Blow says:

    To all the f*ckers who are part of the government system, who are sucking up to Beijing no matter what, who think they are save in their little establishment clique, who hope to sponge off their fake ‘serve society’ ethos forever, here is a message: it is going to be a long, long hot summer. And watch your back !

  11. NIMBY says:

    Which of Lufsig’s friends got the monopoly on selling idiot signs to the MTR?

  12. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Joe Blow: If only your dire prediction/threat could come to fruition. If only.

  13. stinkyfoot says:

    I give you the following quote from Ren Zhongping 20/04/ 2015 from Peoples’ Daily on the Central Gov.’s rollout of ‘socialist Core Values’. Seems our boot-lickers don’t know how to snatch victory from defeat. Hoisting petards will do.

    “We advocate democracy is real democracy, there is no threshold, without possessions, status, ethnicity, gender, religion and other factors limit so that everyone will have equal political rights; democracy is widespread, not at the expense of the majority interest the cost to protect the interests of minorities, while respecting and caring for minorities, and to coordinate fully reflect the wishes and interests of all parties; efficient democracy, both fully reflect the real will of the people, but also efforts to forge a unity of will as soon as possible, unity action to solve practical problems; a vibrant democracy, not only electoral democracy, as well as deliberative democracy, grassroots democracy, ensure that the people according to the law of democratic election, democratic decision making, democratic management and democratic supervision”

  14. Joe Blow says:

    I am organizing a whip-around so that Rimsky Yuen can have his teeth fixed. Send cash in an envelope to: Hemlock, Attn: Joe. Thanks.

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