Wednesday, September 23, 2009

SingaNews: Divine intervention or distraction?

I was reading a Kent Ridge Common feature article on the controversy surrounding the new news website and could not help but feel disturbed at the direction the debate has taken.

The article’s title, “Why a pro-family program should rise above sexual issues”, immediately made my hair stand as it set the article up to miss the point entirely.

Firstly, it is not just a simple polemic battle between pro-homosexual and pro-heterosexual camps. To paint it as such is to ignore the real bone of contention; the very real possibility of a hidden agenda.

We have all been distracted with this mainstream family values debate, that everyone seems to have forgotten to ask this question: “What business is it of a news portal to have a pro-family/procreation agenda?”. And to use Kent Ridge Common’s words, “why is a news portal having a pro-family program anyway?”.

If the people behind SingaNews were really interested in promoting the “heterosexuality of a couple with a view to procreate”, shouldn’t they start an outreach program or a pro-family council that counsels and assists families in all areas that affect family planning? How would having a news portal help with this?

Well, since no one wants to say it, I will. They need SingaNews as a propaganda tool for a whole load of agendas, pro-family included. While I agree with Sam that there is nothing inherently wrong with having an agenda and that SingaNews will add to discourse variety, I get rather annoyed with double speak, orchestrated misdirection and hypocrisy.

It is plainly obvious that there is a Christian agenda that has been purposefully watered down and made more palatable with the “mainstream values” tagline. Lets not forget that SingaNews CEO Mathew Yap introduced the site in a soft launch in church on 9 Sep 2009. The event was organized by ATRIA (Apologetics Through Rich Internet Applications), a New Media Group (NMG) project that focuses on empowering Christian bloggers and New Media publishers in various forms of “e-vangelism”. He also shared the stage with Thio Li-ann, vocal critic agains the repeal of section 337A and daughter of Thio Su-Mien, self-styled Feminist Mentor that orchestrated the hostile takeover of Aware not too long ago. The site is also funded by Christian donors.

Yet with all the writing on the wall, Mathew Yap maintains that SingaNews has no Christian agenda. And in an effort to drill home this point, we have some netters trying to paint the debate as pro-family vs gays when it is more than that.

In itself, I fully support pro-family values, but that doesn’t mean I want a news portal to craft stories with a focus on promoting it. That said, there seems to be an orchestrated effort to make it seem that if you are pro-family, you are in turn pro-SingaNews; a direction the Kent Ridge Commons is trying to take.

The power of propaganda is the persistent drilling of a desired message through both subtle and not so stubtle message delivery. The Chrisitan evangelical community have power and influence within their own circles, but have realised they are losing the propaganda battle over both the MSM and new media channels. The formations of ATRIA and SingaNews are testiment to this and their renewed desired to expand their clout. It also seems that they are roping in bloggers to help distract the netter community as well.

While they have every right to push an agenda, their actions thus far have won them few friends, and i suspect will eventually prove to be their downfall. Which is too bad really, considering that an alternative news site with a who's who of ex-journalists would have dramtically expanded the local discourse.

~~ The road to hell is paved with good intentions ~~

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Wel,l said and very perceptive. Now is only the powers that be could be so well attuned to these hidden agendas....