Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wayang Kulit

According to some, a key difference between mainstream media journalists and some – seemingly questionable – bloggers is that the former adhere to ethical standards.

How Ironic. Would you be surprised to know that I beg to differ with the above sentiment?

Here’s a news flash for some of you who subscribe to the mainstream media: For what it’s worth, there is actually an alarming, shocking, and chronic lack of ethical standards duly evident and transparent in the MSM.

Contrary to the professional ethos of journalism, our mainstream media journalists are like puppets in a wayang kulit performance. They can be elaborately dolled up and dressed up but are incapable of much independent thought – let alone investigative acumen. Like puppets in a play (albeit nothing of the sophistication, aura, or poetry of a traditional wayang kulit story), these puppets mimic, parrot, and even cheerlead for the regime. They jerk about, bend, twist, jump, and quiver at the behest of the tok dalang (puppeteer).

There is little, if anything, that resembles journalism anymore in the mainstream media. How difficult is it after all, one must ponder, for these puppets to do their job? At any given time and situation, they seem to be very adept at merely ensuring that the puppeteer looks good. Sadly, these puppets lack the most fundamental comprehension of the meaning of journalism.

I suppose there’s something ethical about such puppets. They help manufacture and profile some powerful stories for the puppeteers – that kind of blind loyalty – not journalism – I suppose does count for something; at least to the puppeteers and the puppets! And this kind of performance can also be very influential, domineering, and consequential for the unassuming.

But please – let’s get one thing straight: puppets are puppets, and journalists, well… journalist have to first – and at the very least - have the ability and conscience to exercise independent thought. And this latter quality, my friend, is dreadfully absent in the mainstream media.

So there is just no basis in fact for referring to those who partake as pieces of carved out kerbau hide, lifeless and mounted on sticks – and who only perform as and how the puppeteers warrant in a poorly orchestrated production of wayang kulit – as ‘journalists.’

Indeed, if you believe that the numerous things that have been published and presented in the MSM - just of late alone - are ethical, then maybe you’ll also believe that I am Michelle Yeoh.

But I suppose it doesn’t surprise many of us that the puppeteers would like as many of us as possible to believe that those puppets are journalists. Wouldn’t that make for an amazing tale?

And I like to also pretend that I’m Michelle Yeoh!

G. Krishnan