Updated: Bangkok Post exonerates Democrat Party thugs

3 06 2012

PPT is rarely surprised by the failures of the mainstream media and most especially by the two English-language dailies. The Nation and the Bangkok Post, while maintaining the odd critical journalist and having a story or two that is outside their norm, the two papers have pretty consistently supported royalists and the Democrat Party.

Occasionally the Post sometimes tries to be more  “liberal” when there is political conflict, but when the going gets tough, it generally sticks with its conservatism and royalism, while unleashing its more yellow journalists.

So while we should not be surprised, we found this particular Bangkok Post editorial, reflecting on the  parliamentary thuggishness of the Democrat Party, lamentable. It does nothing for truth or for the dignity of the media in a democratic society.

In comparing parliamentary chaos with Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit, the Post states that “the Thai parliament descended into yet another display of extreme partisan and at times juvenile behaviour.”

The editorial then proceeds to lay blame:

rather than put the interests of the Thai people first, both major parties furthered their stalemate. First the ruling Pheu Thai Party advanced a reconciliation agenda that critics say is primarily intended to benefit the party’s de facto leader Thaksin Shinawatra. Pheu Thai says it was merely playing by the rules….

Indeed, the government was playing by parliamentary rules. The claim by the Post is that the Puea Thai government deserves blame for following the rules. That claim is especially clear when the Post adds:

The Democrat … [Party] responded by refusing to take part in the political process, withdrawing from the chamber after some [Democrat Party] MPs threw stacks of paper at the Pheu Thai speaker of the House. Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva says Pheu Thai left his party no choice but to withdraw as it denied Democrat [Party] MPs the right to speak on the House floor.

The Post tells readers that the Democrat Party “withdrew” from parliament after throwing paper at the Speaker, and then repeats Abhisit’s deliberate misrepresentation.

The Post says nothing of physical attacks by Democrat Party MPs, of “stealing” the Speaker’s chair, or of the thuggish actions of Abhisit’s colleagues. It whitewashes their unacceptable and violent behavior. It seems the Post’s political bias makes it impossible for unacceptable behavior to be criticized.

The Post’s willingness to accept acts that denigrate parliament is a part of a broader attack on parliamentary democracy. The royalist elite and its handmaidens are engaged in a process that makes parliament (again) irrelevant. Quite simply, they do not consider parliamentary democracy and its elections relevant to their political agenda for royalist Thailand.

And, as a footnote, we read this with interest:

Mrs Suu Kyi’s appearance earlier in the week before a crowd of thousands of migrant Myanmar workers in Mahachai, Samut Sakhon, where around 400,000 migrants live and work, was a thing of beauty which transcended politics. Local and international news broadcasts showed the spontaneous celebration and the enraptured looks on the faces of the most marginalised in Thai society as they listened to words of hope from their champion.

The Post editorial writer has not taken much notice of red shirt rallies. That the Post hates Thaksin blinds them to the possibility that the antics of the royalists – repression, murder, coup, judicial shenanigans – makes Thaksin a symbol of opposition. We aren’t comparing Thaksin with Suu Kyi, but the hopes of the unrepresented are evident in both cases.

The other all too obvious point is that denigrating and repeatedly crushing a political system that offers limited hope for the “marginalized” and repressed creates a search for symbols and saviors.

Update: A reader points out that the editorial PPT discusses above was from 3 June. The reader writes of an earlier editorial on 2 June, where “the Bangkok Post manages to write of the chaos in parliament with out once mentioning the Democrat Party. It is as if the Democrat Party wasn’t even there!” The picture seems pretty clear: the Post exonerates the Democrat Party because it is (again) supportive of anti-democratic elements wanting to destabilize and elected government.



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