20 May 2006

Did CNA act unprofessionally?

A blogger noticed that when Channel News Asia showed his site on TV, some important words were invisible. CNA denied that the journalist doctored the images. So where lies the truth? Full essay.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

IMHO, the arguments you raise here go against the case you put up for Gomez. Truth is - improbable does not equal impossible. In reality, simply because someone's actions seem illogical and foolish does not mean he would not have done it. We have the benefit of hindsight.

In the Gomez case, while the reasons put forth by the PAP seem implausible, i can at the same time see no believable alternative. His own explanation of having forgotten seem even more unbelievable because the video clearly shows that he was alone during that period and he was doing nothing other than filling up the form. To fill up the form then put it in his bag rather than hand it in hardly seems like forgetfulness.

I think it would be interesting if someone would dare to publicly do a "I say you are liar, and if you are not, sue me" to CNA. Unfortunately, i doubt anyone will.

Anonymous said...

Someone in Singapore election blog mentioned about checking Google cache, which is available when you search "singapore election shady glc" as keywords. Click on the cache version. You can see that Google has taken a snapshot on 13th May 2006 and it has the title in the cache. Unfortunately, you will have to check it quickly as I am not sure when they will refresh their cache.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the text as published in the blog itself is inconclusive as in fact Singapore Election Watch (S.E.W.) might have (unintentionally) screwed up their Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) so that the text was the same colour as the background.
This kind of things is pretty common, and I would think quite difficult to verify unless Google can restore the CSS that was used that day (which I doubt, the CSS itself having very low value).

If it is the case S.E.W. might be interlocked with CNA (don't want to lose face). So even though I don't like CNA, I would trust them on this.

Anonymous said...

With respect to the phrase "But on no account did she [reporter, Farah Abdul Rahim] doctor the pictures" in the email that is purportedly from CNA, my immediate reaction was that this was a non-categorical denial. While the email denies that Ms Rahim might have doctored the pictures, it does not categorically deny that the pictures were not doctored. The above statement could still be completely true if the pictures were doctored by a CNA editor or a third party - thus misdirection achieved through being economic with the truth.

This might seem trivial but word games are important in the media. This is also why reporters in the West often try to reduce wiggle room by trying to force their interviewees to answer Yes/No to very tightly phrased questions e.g. Does CNA categorically deny that the images of the blog used in the report were not changed in any way?

It will be interesting if the blog owner can definitively prove his or her claim e.g. requesting server logs from and authenticated by the provider.

Anonymous said...

I've searched for google's caching for that page, and upon entering the cached site, the title did not show up in my IE. It's only after scrolling down the page and back up the title appeared. Perhaps we wronged CNA on this one...

If you search for "lee hsien loong's territory up for grabs" in google, and click on the "Cached" for the first entry, you should be brought to the following link.

See if the title show up at your page too.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Indeed I replicated what you saw. The title appeared briefly, then disappeared. However the date stamp didn't disappear. After scrolling down and up again, the title re-appeared. There does seem to be something strange about the interface between Google Search and the blog software. However, I doubt if CNA got to the Singapore Election Watch site via a Google search. They'd have to key in a specific set of search terms; there are easier ways of bringing up a page for filming. But what you have demonstrated is the possibility that no one may be at fault -- it could be due to some technical glitch

Anonymous said...

Just thought I'd email to confirm that the headlines on the blog in question WERE indeed there (and I was reading that blog throughout the entire election).
As brought up by a reader of yours, the headlines didn't show the ruling PAP in good light, and the CNA editors probably removed them because of that.

And as someone who works in the internet publishing line (and some experience in the media industry), let me add that it's not hard at all to modify a webpage: all you need is do a screen capture, cover up the offending text using an image editing software like Photoshop, save it as an image, and then open it in the browser. All this can be done in less than five minutes. Of course, they could also have removed it digitally from the news footage - quite easy too given today's video editing software. :)

lzydata said...

If the problem really is with the browser - that the first title is at first invisible - maybe someone with a Blogger account could create a blog using the same CSS template, and then put it through this scrolling test in IE. That might be more reliable than using Google's cached version. We could investigate this before going to the even more remote possibilities suggested, like SEW tweaking that CSS or its blog post headings, and then accusing CNA of wrongdoing. Eh...

Anyway as YB said it seems incredible that CNA would do such a thing on purpose when it would be so much easier to not feature SEW at all, for instance. But as the first commenter said, improbable doesn't equal impossible. At this point, I don't know who to believe.