Truth was a casualty when Rocky of Rocky’s Bru resurrected a four-year-old rumour about Rais Yatim to hit back at the information minister.
To put it bluntly, Rocky lied, using his headline to ride on WikiLeaks’ name and reputation in order to grab new attention to an old story, as part of his campaign against Rais.
The original posting. He claimed it’s from WikiLeaks
But after naming Wikileaks in the headline he turns vague and wishy-washy:
I have not been able to lay my hands on a said Wikileaks series of diplomatic whisper in 2007
And in the second paragraph, he says again,
I can’t say for sure it existed in the first place. But there has been talk.
He doesn’t even know if it exists? Then why say so in the headline?
If Rocky was just another blogger it might not really matter. But Rocky (Datuk Ahiruddin Atan) is a former editor of the Malay Mail, president of the press club, past president of a bloggers’ alliance and committee member of a new bloggers’ alliance.
He’s also editorial adviser to Bernama TV, against which he ran a campaign in 2008. Bernama TV’s contract subsequently fell into the hands of Redberry, the communications group owned by a Najib Tun Razak ally which now also owns the Malay Mail and Malaysian Reserve. Rocky is also the editorial adviser there.
By profession he is a journalist. But the method he used is of double-speak, the method of the propagandist.
Declaring the source to be WikiLeaks made it look like a big scoop. (Three weeks later, no one has claimed to have seen any such WikiLeaks document.)
Others jumped on the WikiLeaks headline and followed up, essentially repeating the lie.
Asia Sentinel reported it as WikiLeaks on Jan 3. Later the Sentinel corrected their posting, with asterisks on the headline and subhead pointing to a paragraph buried at the end that explained that they had not found any WikiLeaks cable.
But the lie kept being repeated. On Jan 5, The Star, for example, blithely carried on, 12 days after Rocky’s headline, more than enough time to have checked the WikiLeaks web site.
The allegations … were contained in cables made public by whistle-blowing website Wikileaks
and then, in the same story
Following the revelation by Wikileaks, Migrant Care … lodged a police report
The next day, Jan 6, Malaysia Chronicle, noted for its over-the-top reporting and commentary, quotes Rocky as saying:
He added that his blog post was sourced from the ‘diplomatic whispers’ revealed by cables on Wikileaks
And on Jan 7, Free Malaysia Today’s commentary noted that:
scores of news reports and blog postings … since WikiLeaks revealed the rape
But WikiLeaks has not published any secret US diplomatic cables so far on this rape report. Only Rocky claimed so then twisted and turned to avoid taking responsibility.
When Mahfuz Omar challenged Rais to sue Rocky over his allegation, Harakah reported,
Nama Rocky’s Bru kembali diperkatakan di blog-blog sejak bulan lalu ekoran satu laporan di blognya yang menyiarkan pendedahan WikiLeaks bahawa
Again with the WikiLeaks.
On Tuesday, Jan 11, Rocky posted in his defence an extract from Detik.com
Detik goes to lengths to defend Rocky. But that image of his posting (above) shows Rocky did say so in his headline, then twisted to say he doesn’t even know if it exists. Rocky set out to mislead, using a lie. And other journalists jumped on the magic word Wikileaks to repeat a lie, without checking.
It’s propaganda. It’s smear tactics. It’s character assassination. But it’s not journalism.
And what about Rais? There is a report made about him. It was lodged with the embassies. People talked about it online in 2007 or 2008. Nothing came of it then. It’s never too late to begin criminal investigations, of Rais or his son’s purported billion-ringgit contract, if there’s any truth to the allegations.
The truth always matters. But will the truth prevail when you begin with a lie, and live with lies?
© 2011 uppercaise
Amended 16Jan2011TZ01:35. A few paragraphs immediately after the turn were rearranged for better flow and easier reading. Nothing was changed. The original version has been archived at uppercaise.blogspot.com