Saturday, April 04, 2020

Hypocrisy, immigration bans, and editing

Aug 29. 2017
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Re: “Best antidote to fiery venom is cool reason”, Have Your Say, August 29.

As a master of explosive purple-faced hypocrisy, Dr Frankfurt-School is unbeatable. He refers to “hard-right venom splattered all over this column”, then argues that the use of “inflammatory rhetoric” is a “problem”! But in the very next sentence he reverses tack again to refer to the “mentally pre-pubescent prattling” of those with alternative views. How non-inflammatory is that?

However, I have to give him credit, and Eric Bahrt earlier, for raising the topic of editing at The Nation. The lively debates and banter – Facebook and ThaiVisa blogs as well as the letters – simply do not take place in the “other” English-language paper, where anything that runs counter to the liberal socialist agenda gets spiked.  I think I speak for others on this page when I say that my hit-rate in the other paper fell to less than 1 in 10, and I objected to the “Edward Scissorhands” approach to editing that altered the sentiment of anything that managed to get through. In contrast, the editors of Have Your Say are to be commended for their light touch.

Dr Frank has previously noted the bias towards foreign topics by the Have Your Say chatterati. When a Thai can be imprisoned for over-enjoying a report on the BBC, a measure of caution with local topics is sensible, particularly for the permanent expat. I have encountered two expats who upset “important” persons and found themselves on the dreaded Immigration Dept blacklist. The only way out is to leave Thailand forever, or go through the fraught process of finding an Even More Important Person to try and reverse the ban.  Not easy.

If The Nation’s editors are helping to defend us from such a fate by rejecting “inflammatory rhetoric” aimed in a dangerous direction, we must be eternally grateful.

Nigel Pike

Phang Nga

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