By Frank-this blog political journalist
Terry, this blog’s editor and former Bangkok Post journalist, tells me:
- “It is Ok to be an ivory tower, but hit the news stand now and then to get the bottom-up view.” And Terry will now and then always give journalist who makes up this blog, news clippings from the likes of Thai Rath and Matichon.
So today I went walking along Sukhumvit at about 7.00am to check out the news stand, for a bottom-up view. And I was shocked for the first time in a long time.
- “I can’t keep enough Thai Rath and Matichon on the shelf because they sell out right away,” said one seller.
- “Post Today is gone in 60 seconds,” said another seller.
- “What you see is all I have left,” said another seller.
What is amazing, is that latest reports say that this year, newspapers sales are down some 30-40%. But now, judging by what I just saw an hour ago before of this writing, newspapers are selling like hot cakes again.
Well, Thai Rath is considered the only neutral newspaper in Thailand that calls it as they see it, with no impartiality. Then Matichon is also well written with logic, facts and reason, when ever Thailand gets confused and needs hard-core facts, Matichon sells like crazy. Then Post Today, part of the smart right wing Bangkok Post group, is just so well diversified with interesting story, when ever Thais gets curious about things, they just can’t help but to pick it up.
- What is not selling, as I saw with my own eyes, are anything from the Nation Multimedia Group. Nation is so hyped up about kissing Abhisit and the right wing butts, I suspect it sickens many Thais-even if they are pro-Abhisit.
- Manager has a cult following and the news stand sellers tells me that regulars picks it up.
- Then you can forget about the crazies like Thai Post, Naew Nar and a bunch of other freako extremist, because they don’t sell at all.
- Tharn and Prachachart also sells really well, especially when they run major corruption scandals.
The sad fact is that Daily News is also selling very badly. While Daily News is part of the right wing gang, they have some of the best writers around who writes in very clear and crisp fashion. Literally speaking, it clears up lots of muddy feelings in people.
Terry tells me he is a great fan of Mark Twain, who says: “Newspapers are full of lies.” But Terry also tells me that lie or no-lie, newspapers have a great impact, especially in a country like Thailand and it is important to keeps tabs on them “To see what information the Thais are actually paying for.”
- My bottom-line conclusion, after this morning visit to several news stand, is that the Thais are paying for critical news.
I suspect it is because the government is just pumping so much propaganda and positive hype into the economy, Thais just are sick of it and they do not believe much in the government anymore.
However, Terry cautious me not to let my guard down against the “Nation Factor.” Many say the Nation does not really care how well its print sells because of lucrative TV and radio business with the government.
“The Strong Thailand government thing comes with it massive advertisement and in these hard economic times, some may sell out their independence for money-so be careful what you trust and the message you are studying,” says Terry.