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Why Pay Journalists for Disinformation To Be Spread about Your Opponents When You Can Give Yourself Monopoly Control Over What They Write and Use Public Funds To Pay For It?

Today I read a news item on BBC about how an investigation by the newspaper Le Monde had uncovered how a senior French TV news journalist, Rachid M’Barki was paid by an outfit called Team Jorge, based in Tel Aviv and run by a former Israeli special forces officer called Tal Hanan, to spread disinformation on behalf of their clients. In a sting operation, in which Le Monde journalists posed as clients, Hanan claimed to have intervened in more than 30 elections. Central to the offer was a platform called Advanced Impact Media Solutions, which generated thousands of fake identities with accounts on Facebook and Telegram that then spread the content of a campaign. The investigators identified around 20 different international campaigns which Team Jorge was suspected to have organised. Rachid M’Barki was found to have run two items on late night French television connected with the campaign that did not receive editorial approval. He has now been suspended.

The PAP Government will no doubt spin this as illustrating the dangers of covert and malign foreign interference in Singapore’s internal affairs against which Singaporeans have to be forever vigilant. They will say this proves their wisdom in bringing in legislation ostensibly designed to combat the threat of foreign interference and disinformation, in the shape of the Foreign Interference Countermeasures Act (FICA) and the Protection from Online Manipulation and Falsehood Act (POFMA). Strangely though LHL and the PAP only view foreigners as interfering in Singapore’s politics if they criticise the PAP or run positive articles about the Opposition. If they praise the PAP and attack their domestic opponents, then their every utterance, no matter how asinine and demonstrably false, is instantly reprinted in the state media. Examples of foreigners interfering in Singapore’s politics on behalf of the PAP include the Polish blogger whose name escapes me, the Israeli Arab Nas Daily, and many Western news organisations and publications such as The Economist, Bloomberg, the Financial Times etc. etc. At bottom support for the PAP is probably a wise business decision as previously foreign publications like the Wall Street Journal that drew attention to the Lee dynasty or criticised LKY’s crushing of his opponents were sued. The Far Eastern Economic Review, which I remember as a trusted news source from the 1970s, was bankrupted and forced to close down. wrote about the one-sided use of FICA here and here.

But the lesson the PAP wants Singaporeans to learn is the wrong one. Buying journalists to plant fake news, what the investigators called the “Uberisation” of the fake news business, is expensive. Far better to do as LHL’s dad did and just take over the country’s media to use to promote yourself and vilify your opponents. LKY used the Newspapers and Printing Presses Act and the Broadcasting Act to ensure that he had editorial control over everything that was written about him and could use his control to plant fake stories about his opponents, like the infamous report before the 1972 election that my father’s Workers Party had received $600,000 from abroad. It also helped that LKY had control of the AG and judiciary also so that when JBJ tried to sue for defamation he automatically lost and the WP had to pay costs leading to it being put into receivership. Ultimately it led ten years or so later to JBJ being jailed on fake charges and losing his seat in Parliament. Control of the media also was invaluable in scaring the residents of Cheng San before the !997 election swinging an almost certain defeat into a narrow PAP victory.

LHL must applaud his dad’s foresight in seizing control of the country’s media and shutting down the few brave independent voices like the Singapore Herald. He has not had to spend any of his considerable fortune inherited from his parents and considerably augmented during his long rule. This is despite the fact that being free from scrutiny and accountability and being able to stay in office with the help of his media control has undoubtedly considerably enriched him and his wife and family. The second rank politicians and companies forced to pay out of their own pockets for covert influence and disinformation campaigns can only envy him. Under the rules his Government brought in, all journalists work for him and can be fired and prevented from working again if they display an iota of independence. Everything they write is checked by editors often appointed directly from the Internal Security Department. Singaporeans are fed LHL’s diet of disinformation, propaganda and gaslighting, while his opponents are subject to a systematic campaign of being made non-persons or objects of ridicule through the distortion of what they said and denied a right of reply,.

Until recently LHL was able to make Singaporeans (and advertisers who had no alternative) pay for the privilege of being misled through his dad’s creation of a media monopoly by force. But now that circulation has dwindled because Singaporeans have come to realise that state media is just LHL’s personal propaganda team, even the monopoly is no longer commercially viable because people cannot be forced to buy its product. Even the fake inflation of circulation numbers to try to convince advertisers to continue to pay has not worked. Fortunately LHL still does not have to dig into his own pocket because his control of Parliament has allowed him to brazenly spend $400 million of Singaporeans’ own money to enable him to continue to brainwash them. To use his media monopoly to help him stay in office and enrich his family is far more corrupt than secretly paying journalists When will Singaporeans wake up and realise that they have been cheated?

1 Comment »

  1. Kenneth,

    It’s expensive up front but once you’ve paid the mainstream media, they become effective conduits of government disinformation. Canada is a good example.tge federal government gave 600vmillion$ and the recent freedom convoy coverage by them proves they’re servile lapdogs. They probably helped preserve Trudeau political viability after the commissioner’s report came out exonerating him for invocation the Nstional emergency law when law enforcement under oath said it wasn’t


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