Journalism: “Propaganda to the Death” How time is running out for Suthichai Yoon’s Nation Group

  • By Tammy and Pooky, Thai Intel’s humanity and economics journalist

Every morning, I wake up early and go down to the reception counter of the Condo I live at, and scope the newspapers.

I have been doing that for about 5 years since I have lived here, and five years ago, there were one Bangkok Post and one Nation. Then after the election, I noticed that Bangkok Post went very much neutral, perhaps accepting the election result after years of Far Right leaning.

And now Bangkok Post subscription, is close to ten. Nation, today is still at one copy, and if anything, have reacted to the election result, with even more Far Right leaning, verging on being an Extreme Far Right, Fascist.

Thai newspaper wise, from three Manager, today, there is none. Matichon group, from nothing, now there is a copy of Khao Sod. Nation’s Group’s Bangkok Biz news is still at two copies for five years. Surprisingly, International Herald Tribune subscription occurred and it is at two copies.

Off course, Thai Intel readers get the drift, but there is a flaw in my analysis, in that my condo, may not be what is going on in Bangkok in general, and specific to my condo. But I know of my analysis weakness, and hit the news stand and book store also.

Apart from the anti-Thaksin traditionalist Thai Rath selling the most, followed by Khao Sod and a Thai Rath knockoff daily news, it is the same as the condo, in that Bangkok Post sells and Nation does not. Then a string of proud, Fascist newspapers, gets so few sales, if not because of wealthy people backing them for prestige, all of them would go belly up in a week.

Then off course, the Manager Group is stopping many of their print publication, saying, off course, the global trend is to digital.

But back to Yoon‘s Nation Group.

Off course, it is currently, buoyant by getting massive amount of advertising for nearly three years from Abhisit government, that is on record for having broke all historical records in Thailand’s government public relations campaign on advertisement. Then Nation Group is also buoyant from getting massive amount of TV and Radio air time from Abhisit.

But the future bodes ill for Nation Group, if Abhisit and his Democrat Party does not come back into power.

Already, Yoon have sold a great deal of Nation group assets and have already taken his non print business to the stock market, as a separate company. The offering was not a huge success, but it was another great injection of fund into Yoon’s multi-media empire.

The bottom line here, however, is the future and perhaps, Yoon’s Nation Group have seen the best of days, during the Abhisit government.

What Yoon’s multi-media is heading into, is an environment that every major news organization, is heading into multi-media, catching up with Nation Group. From Bangkok Post to Matichon, they are all going multi-media, and that will eat into Yoon’s TV, Internet and Radio business. Then specialist political cable TV, is taking away Yoon’s market share, like Blue Sky of the Democrat Party, eating away’s Yoon’s pro-Abhisit content.

And what Yoon has, as far as public TV and Radio air time, much of it, continues to be held by Yoon, only because the Yingluck government does not want to be criticized for against freedom of expression activity.

But much of Yoon’s public air time TV and Radio have proved lack-luster financially and popularity wise. The simple fact is, Yoon’s editorial content, is not very popular and without Abhisit supplying advertisement, the units running the hard infrastructure, are looking for ways to kick Yoon’s programing out.

However, while the future looks bleak for Yoon, Yoon did not get here by way of stupidity and luck. Everyone says, the future belongs to the internet.

One of the strongest point of Yoon’s Nation Group, is building off Thailand’s tradition in the “Cult of personalities” in that many Nation Group journalist, have reach celebrity journalist status.

And if you have been following Thai News and Media House internet operations, there is no doubt, Nation Group is the only Thai media house, that is pushing the envelope in using the internet, for example, massive numbers of nation journalist doing massive numbers of Facebook and twitter activity. Celebrity status is easy with the internet.

No other media comes close, Yoon is taking Nation Group on a major internet offense. However, the problem is, there is no secret in what Yoon is doing on the internet. Again, like it having gone multi-media first, others, could easily enter the internet in a big way, in a hard infrastructure internet industry, that has very little barrier of entry.

Can Yoon, re-engineer his content to be neutral, non Far Right Extremist? Like can Yoon take the Nation Group to be more neutral like the Bangkok Post tries at time?

The problem is that Nation Group has institutionalized its Far Right position, even when it has a few liberal journalist there. But the Bangkok Post, today is mostly neutral, even with a few Far Extreme Right there.

In answering this question, one must ask some key philosophical leaders of Nation Group. The sad fact is, key Editors of the Nation Group, like Thanong and Tulsathit, are nothing but “Hardcore Fascist” using Thaksin and Yingluck, to justify, that Fascist philosophy.

Yoon’s Nation Group, is so locked into that “self-fulfilling prophecies” that apart from everything else, have let that “Hatred of Thaksin and Yingluck” eat into its professionalism. Incorrect data and information, perhaps know but twisted for propaganda, is a major problems that erodes everyday, into Yoon’s Nation Group’s credibility.

It is only a matter of time, if the Thai establishment does not regain power in Thailand, before the Nation Group goes belly-up.

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