Knowledge is supposed to be power in one-party states and the internet gives people access to knowledge. But the internet has not done much to change S’poreans’ views of the PAP and its manifold, snarky machinations.
It was thought that the PAP administration’s control of the mainstream media was an important element in preventing S’poreans from understanding the reality of PAP rule here. The constructive, nation-building media helped shape the perception of reality by, among other things, filtering out inconvenient facts and framing the issues in a way that put the best spin on PAP policies.
Why PAP keeps a tight grip on the MSM
only suggestive, the study is cause for concern. The media can set the agenda, but also distort it. There is some countervailing evidence, that relative rankings of corruption do have some validity: diplomats from countries where corruption is seen as more pervasive are less likely to pay parking fines, for example. But if perceptions are heavily influenced by the media buzz, then levels of corruption might be exaggerated. In other words, measures of corruption could themselves be corrupted.
Also read this article about how media owners in Eastern Europe’s use the media they own to manipulate public opinion and to help friendly politicians and u can understand why the PAP controls the MSM the way it does here. http://www.economist.com/…/21707125-politics-central-and-ea…
So those opposed to the PAP’s hegemony (self included) had thought that the internet (in particular social media and new or alternative media) would make it easier for S’poreans to be aware of or learn of or ferret out inconvenient facts, learn the truth, and draw the “right” conclusions.
It’s now easier to be aware of or learn of or ferret out inconvenient facts, and learn the truth, but sadly many S’poreans still are incapable of or resist drawing the “right” conclusions.
Partly this is the fault of alternative media outlets like The Idiots — S’pore (Or TISG as it prefers to be known which at times seems to be trying to imitate fake news websites ), the antics of the anti-PAP cynernut rats, and pro -PAP outlets like Mothership and FATPAP. Their disinformation and loudhailing services for the PAP causes problems when trying to establish the facts or the truth. (In fact TISG is proud that it is a “useful loudhailer” for the govt and its agencies.)
But a lot has to do with human nature (emphasis mine):
[H]umans do not naturally seek truth. In fact, as plenty of research shows, they tend to avoid it. People instinctively accept information to which they are exposed and must work actively to resist believing falsehoods; they tend to think that familiar information is true; and they cherry-pick data to support their existing views. At the root of all these biases seems to be what Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-prizewinning psychologist and author of a bestselling book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow”, calls “cognitive ease”: humans have a tendency to steer clear of facts that would force their brains to work harder.
In some cases confronting people with correcting facts even strengthens their beliefs, a phenomenon Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler, now of Dartmouth College and the University of Exeter, respectively, call the “backfire effect”. In a study in 2010 they randomly presented participants either with newspaper articles which supported widespread misconceptions about certain issues, such as the “fact” that America had found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or articles including a correction. Subjects in both groups were then asked how strongly they agreed with the misperception that Saddam Hussein had such weapons immediately before the war, but was able to hide or destroy them before American forces arrived.
As might be expected, liberals who had seen the correction were more likely to disagree than liberals who had not seen the correction. But conservatives who had seen the correction were even more convinced that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Further studies are needed, Mr Nyhan and Mr Reifler say, to see whether conservatives are indeed more prone to the backfire effect.
The good news is that so long as there are sites like TOC (Its 10th anniversary fell in August this year), TMG and SgDaily (I got posting rights on its FB page); bloggers and commenters like Alex Au, Chris K, Wandering Vagabond, P Ravi, Uncle Leong, Donald Low and Yeoh Lum Keong; and cyber Jedis like Terry Xu and Andrew of TRE, inconvenient facts and inconvenient truths cannot be kept out of the public domain.
So I’m optimistic. Slowly but surely more S’poreans will draw the “right” conclusions after learning the “right” facts. And with a bit of luck by 2033 or 2055, at the latest, Harry will only be a bad dream.
But as S’poreans are exposed to more info, we (including the PAP) face a problem in this brave new world
Given such biases, it is somewhat surprising that people can ever agree on facts, particularly in politics. But many societies have developed institutions which allow some level of consensus over what is true: schools, science, the legal system, the media. This truth-producing infrastructure, though, is never close to perfect: it can establish as truth things for which there is little or no evidence; it is constantly prey to abuse by those to whom it grants privileges; and, crucially, it is slow to build but may be quick to break.
Remember that given the dominance of the PAP, we don’t have the institutions which allow some level of consensus, absent the hegemony of the PAP. It’s going to be an anarchic jungle when S’poreans break the mind fetters.
But not to worry, the ang mohs who S’poreans (including the PAP) use to validate their actions will still be pontificating and BSing, and sometimes getting the facts and truth right. And S’poreans will listen to them, as they always have. Ang mohs will take the place of local institutions in the building of consensus of what are the facts and the truth.
Still better than consensus based on the PAP’s hegemony. At least liberal, socialistic and conservative ang mohs hold different views.