Why it matters that ST & Today got the facts wrong on Ng’s IOC bid

In Media on 16/09/2013 at 5:16 am

Readers cannot have missed that ST and Today were trumpeting for weeks, that S’pore’s Ng Ser Miang had a good chance to be in the International Olympic Committee (IOC). president. He was not only a contender but one of the two favourites. As the volume got shriller and the headlines more bombastic and bigger fonts were used, I turned to the int’l media like the BBC and the Guardian. They said that the German, Bach, was the favourite. If he didn’t get the job, it would be an upset.

I didn’t get upset at our papers’ “kampung” boy stance: to be expected from “provincial” papers. Ever read the Cardiff or Belfast Times? Or even the NY or London papers on city matters? Besides ang mohs are always dismissive of Asians.

What has got me writing this diatribe is that it is now beyond reasonable doubt that the papers must have been wrong to label Ng a favourite. Ng tied in the first round with the Taiwanese guy our papers called a long shot. Ng squeaked thru on a re-vote. Then “Mr Ng received six votes and came in a distant third, behind German former Olympian Thomas Bach, who won the elections with 49 votes, and Puerto Rican banker Richard Carrion who received 29 votes …”.

Come on, if he was a “hot” favourite, how come so bad a result? He should have come in a decent second, or a close third. Our papers didn’t think much of the banker’s chances, rating him below Ng. He got thru the first round easily, unlike Ng, and came in a credible, if distant, second.

Both papers moved on to whisper about conspiracy theories. Today muttered including a belief making the rounds that Tokyo’s successful bid to stage the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games was a factor.

With next year’s Youth Olympics in Nanjing, the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, there is a perception that the IOC was reluctant to give too much power to Asia. This doesn’t wash because Ng didn’t get many Asian votes, did he? One reporter also said that Asians don’t support Asians.

Gee so how come we weren’t told these facts earlier? ST and Today only found these up after Ng lost? Whatever it is, they must have got the facts wrong to come up with the assertion that Ng was a favourite.

Clearly, the voting showed that Ng was no favourite: in fact going by the numbers, he along with the Taiwanese guy were long shots. And that he never had a base of Asian supporters, let alone supporters. As WSJ wrote: Ng appeared to struggle to find company. On Sunday night, as Bach was finishing dinner with International Skating Union president Ottavio Cinquanta of Italy and their spouses, Ng was sharing a drink with reporters. The next day Bach had lunch with IOC member Ung Chang.

The two papers got it wrong: Ng was not a favourite, as claimed; and should admit to their getting their facts wrong, rather than throw smoke in order to cover-up the mistake of getting the wrong facts, leading to the wrong conclusion.

I once suggested that P Ravi and PM use this method (used successfully by a secret police force) to evaluate the quality of the data they get from their sources. Maybe ST and Today should use the method for their sports news coverage.
Let me be very clear, I’m not saying anything derogatory about Ng. But I’m saying that our papers, based on the evidence of the votes cast, did not get their facts “right” about Ng being a favourite alongside Bach. Were they beating the DRUMS rather than reporting the “right” facts?
This leads me to a most serious issue.
Recently, a retired Imperial Stormtrooper general (Keyboard corps) criticised the role of the local mainstream media in the loss of trust between the people and the govt. Wow! Bit like a few German generals and soldiers trying to assassinate Hitler, when the Germans were losing the war that they started? OK maybe she had a Paul-like conversion after she got retired?

Well, if we can’t even rely on the media to get the facts “right” on a simple sports story involving a S’porean, how can we trust the media when it reports on news that touches on the govt: remember the local media prides itself on being “constructive” and “nation-building”, and I have yet to hear of a senior editor being less than 150% pro-govt. Example, the media only waited for the govt’s response to Dinesh family’s legal suit before reporting the case. TOC and Bertha Henson (aforesaid keyboard general) had, to their credit, already reported the details of the family’s suit days earlier.

Yaacob and the MDA should ponder the implications of this failure of  the govt’s poodle “constructive”, “nation-building” media to get the facts right on a simple sports story, rather than beat on the skin of P Ravi, the DRUMS to the tune of RAVII to discredit the new media.

  1. Sad that PAP’s cronies would not change! Shed no tears until seeing the coffin. (Chinese original: 不见棺材不落泪 Chinese Pinyin: Audio Bù jiàn guāncái bù luò lèi.)

  2. Excellent analysis but you seem to worry (as all of us do) that you might receive that dreaded letter for a lawyers’ firm making those famous demands from you, Well, you can and should have lokked at the real reasons for this media orgy. Ng was clearly being supported by the powers that be in seeking the presidency of the IOC. The down payment was the nearly $400 million YOG, the brainchild of Rogge, who is influential and could help Ng secure support. Thus you see the consolation messages Ng received from the PM and DPM Teo. If Ng had won no prizes for guessing who will be trumpeting it into the sunset. Good politics.

    • Nah. I don’t think govt into this kind of int’l crap. For one govt knows that other Asian countries won’t support a S’porean bid. Think any other Asean delegate would vote for S’pore? ST, Today were being provincial papers and got caught with the dicks in the grinder publicly.

    • The difference between WP Mr Low and SDP Dr Chee,Mr Low knows Lao Tzu very well.
      Lao Tzu Quotes

      • Hello Dr Chee is ACS boy, where ang moh tua kee, Asians are barbarians. ))))

      • Great pity indeed,all our English/Malay/Tamil educated citizens should try to understand who is Lao Tzu – from Almighty God Allah Jehovah

        “I ever edified the wisdom of Dao epoch to Laozi. But you can not understand Dao that Laozi told about; that is the movement of Cosmos, and cometic movement is its model. “Grasp the present rules of Dao, then be able to rein the status nowadays, thus knowing original Dao. That is Dao epoch”. Each Dao epoch is 76 years, and you should keep this number firmly in mind; the Beginning Day comes while the Dao star returns.”

        God bless all our citizens.

  3. If you want to be cynical about it, with their stranglehold on the various media avenues and a lack of genuine competition for related revenues, it is clear the people who can flourish at SPH + Mediacorp are realists who know who is responsible for buttering their bread. A suitable analogy would be the Chinese dynastic dramas where the eunuchs, officials, women of the harems re-arrange their worldviews to ensure it is always compatible with the Emperor’s.

  4. […] ‘It’s harder on the spouse of a woman MP’ – Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Why it matters that ST & Today got the facts wrong on Ng’s IOC bid – Diary of a Singaporean Cabby: A Singaporean Millionaire with a Heart of Gold – Part […]

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