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Bruce Lee: A punch is a punch

I recently posted something about Donald Trump setting back the cause of White Supremacy because his mishandling of the Covid-19 outbreak in America showed people that White Males were not necessarily superior to women or people of colour. My post below:

What was interesting was that I got an angry response from a friend of mine, who said that it was enough of my “Fake CNN Opinions.” I was intrigued by this comment because this line summed up the crux of his argument, which was “my opinion was fake,” because he or his position said it was. I was a little taken back because this friend of mine is an exceedingly successful corporate high flyer in the technology sphere and given his corporate position, I did expect him to use a more intelligent line of attack.

However, in certain respects, this is part and parcel of living in a world that is highly polarized and thanks to the internet, people have so many sources of information to choose from that instead of looking towards the news agencies as a source of information, people look to the news as a source of confirmation of their own preexisting opinions.

Thanks to Trump, America is the most extreme example of this. To be fair to Donald Trump, he wasn’t the first politician to exploit this difference, he is merely the most successful. If I look at my Facebook feed about stories on the second impeachment trial, I’ve noticed that for every article stating why Trump should have been convicted, there are plenty of other articles from people who think the impeachment trial was a plot by the evil Democrats who chose to target a well-meaning former president.

America, is however, not the only example of this polarization of opinions and people who forget that disagreements are just that. Here in Singapore, one always needs to read a lot to find out the truth of any given event. As my former boss, PN Balji, former editor of the Today newspaper used to say, “According to the mainstream, government can do no wrong and according to the online media, the government can do no right – so the truth is probably somewhere in between.”

Everyone is so busy fighting for their opinion to be regarded as the right one and thanks to the invention of the term “fake news,” it becomes very easy to label anything that you disagree with as “fake.” As my mother pointed out, most us gravitate to the news sources that we agree with. I am guilty of this in many respects. My views on the Middle East for example, are shaped by Haaretz, the Israeli paper which does not follow the Zionist view on things. I also check out Al Jazeera English’s website. For local Singapore news, I’m little bit limited, so I check out the Straits Times Forum, Today and TRemeritus. I avoid reading say, the Jerusalem Post, which an Israeli Diplomat I know, said was what the dumb people read.

In our effort to get confirmation from the press, we forget that there are two sections of the news media. One is the “Opinion” section and then there’s the “News” section. We need to remember that there is a difference between opinions and news.

Let’s start with the obvious. News is supposed to be report on what happened. For if there’ a flash flood, the fact remains that every newspaper reports it because the news is the flash flood. If a politician says something, reporters, regardless of political affiliation are obliged to report what was said. Let’s take the now infamous “covfefe” tweet. This was what the then US President tweeted and was reported by both Fox News and the Guardian.

News happens regardless of our political affiliations. Does the flash flood in some part of the world care if I work for a “conservative” or “liberal” publication? No, it just happens. This is news. News and facts happen regardless of political affiliations of the media. It’s like being punched. Does it matter if the guy who punched you gave you a Chinese Kung-Fu punch or Western Boxing Punch? It’s a punch, you were punched. News reporters are obliged to have some objectivity.

Opinions on the other hand are totally slanted, because well, they are supposed to be and there’s no obligation on the opinion provider to be objective. He or she should argue how a particular opinion was formed and it makes compelling reading if the opinion is based on some form of fact. However, I’ve known successful enough bloggers who write opinions because, well, that’s the way they feel and screw you if you disagree.

The best example of a medium that understands this is, funnily enough Fox News. You have the team that gives you opinions with the likes of Sean Hannity and Laura Ingrahm. I find both pretty objectionable in the opinions they provide (though I do find Laura easy on the eye) but I got to respect that they are opinion providers rather than fact providers (though I do believe trreating Covid like a joke was irresponsible). Both Hannity and Ingrahm took the view that whatever Trump did was a blessing, which was their obligation as opinion providers.

Yet, at the same time section of Fox News that covers the news, does so rather professionally. You have the likes of Chris Wallace who is known as a good objective journalist who has challenged political candidates that his network openly supports. Then there was the reporter who, when asked about the voter fraud allegations during the November Election said “That’s NOT true.”

The difference between two sections of the same outlet shows that both sides do two different jobs. People like Wallace are paid to tell it as it is. People like Hannity on the other hand are paid for provoke a reaction.

Sure, we’re not going to like everything we see or read, but the sooner we accept that there is a difference between news reports and opinion reports, the more likely we are to remember that we need to live together in some form of harmony.

 

Tang Li

*Although I’ve been based mainly in Singapore for nearly two decades, I’ve had the privilege of being able meet people who have crossed borders and cultures. I’ve befriended ministers and ambassadors and worked on projects involving a former head of state. Yet, at the same time, I’ve had the privilege of befriending migrant labourers and former convicts. All of them have a story to tell. All of them add to the fabric of life. I hope to express the stories that inspire us to create life as it should be.

 

 

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15 Responses to “Bruce Lee: A punch is a punch”

  • xoxo:

    Well,play safe,sit on the fence or both sides of the fence?

    Fully hedged!

    Unlike TRE N NETIZENS here.
    Black is black,white is white.
    Why always need to make it GREY???

    CON JOB!

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  • TEMUSIK PATRIOT:

    Trump is doing what comes naturally for a leader of the Most Advanced & Powerful Nation in the world…let the BUG run its course…should people NOT take care of themselves even a flu bug will kill them through COMPLICATIONS what more the drugs…other advanced nations have to deal with the many financial – infrastructure – and the Influx of 3rd world migration with or WORSE no CONTROL and needless to say 3rd world nations results of cases speak for itself with some tightly controlled nations faring Better…

    Trump and outsider going into the Dirty and Corrupt world of Politics to overturn the apple cart would have had DONE a marvellous Job had the Evil Crown with 19 Torns not surfaced…

    The Luck of the Devil is on the side of the DEMons

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  • Singaporeans R Free Riders:

    Of course one must learn to hedge against all circumstances.

    Like you short sell options contract.

    If it turn against you, quickly buy the real stocks to cover your losses.

    GE2024.PAP.Guarantee.Win.HuatAgain
    Majullah $PAP$ $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$

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  • ALi Baba's backside:

    You’re a pot calling the kettle black! The indulgent piece of verbosity above is your signature stroke of opinionated rhetoric devoid of factual substantiation.

    Now let the true news be told…..

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  • mike:

    Dear @ Tang Li,

    Right is right, wrong is wrong.
    Left is not always left and right not always right.

    Do not try to play and tweet with these two words ‘news’ vs ‘opinion’. Just admit and stand corrected if one is acting fair for the context.

    In an impartial, righteous and meaningful dictionary context, you are correct to list those differences.

    However, you know what type of animal most of us human are.
    How many reporters reported truth, just to be censored internally?
    How many more opinions does not get to the publication line just because it is controversial?

    Remember the flash flood vs ‘ponding’ that’s classic!

    Why that happens? No brainer.

    You need to thank your friend in taking his liberty to challenge your opinions, news, and thoughts, risking valuable relationship to fill the vacuum in your knowledge and wisdom. If you have a friend who watch you burn in your own fuel, perhaps you have a very ‘good’ friend.

    Thank you for sharing this story of yours.

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  • Tracey Ching:

    This piece of crap written is stupid especially as it comes from a part time propagandist and possible IB. How low can you get? Let us witness an ugly botak race to the bottom of the heap.

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  • Black Chink Tang:

    So is calling Chinese “chinks” an opinion or facts? How to live together when ar**holes like you don’t engage in exchanges of opinions like the other ar**hole, TKL.

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  • @mike:

    “How many reporters reported truth, just to be censored internally?”

    You are right. Recently I can’t believe my used to be respected BBC became British Bashing China media spilling horrible baseless accusations.

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  • mike:

    Dear ‘whatever invisible CCP 50c 五毛’

    You must be referring to a recent jobless pub singer who turned into a youtuber with a name of peh-mo aka white-hair aka 白矛. Now singing prayers of CCP created environment swimming happily in the soup of slow boiling pot.

    You need to know that not reporting or being censored is one thing, and lies are different thing. Then, manipulation with lies are higher level skill. We still have superior level and god-level. Are you awaken? Not yet?

    This is a strange world, a victim will always become supporter in embracing the very environment (or person or organisation) that victimized him or her from the start.

    This, summarized your behaviour.

    Invisible IB::
    “How many reporters reported truth, just to be censored internally?”

    You are right. Recently I can’t believe my used to be respected BBC became British Bashing China media spilling horrible baseless accusations.

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  • Fake CNN and fake FT:

    Mainstream media such as CNN are trying to destroy Trump because he hurt their vested interest.

    What are their vested interests? It’s always money.

    From which country besides American can one make most money now? It’s China.

    Chinese money corrupts the world and this corruption has also infiltrated into America mainstream media and political system.

    Here’s a spectacular proof of this
    https://twitter.com/CBSNews/status/1360716676778622978

    Your friend is so right about Fake CNN Opinions and rightly furious with you because you make Sporeans stupider through reading your commentary.

    And for you, a person with journalistic training, you are either biased or ignorant.

    There is a possibility you are ignorant, since we have so many FTs here with fake degrees, many of whom not detected for years and stealing jobs from Sporeans who studied hard for a real degree.

    But I choose to believe you are biased. Your name is Tang Li and I guess you are from China. Trump took on China through the trade war and courageously called out China for spreading COVID 19 to the world and thus hurt the feelings of 1.6 billion Chinese citizens, you one of them?

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  • @mike:

    赶紧做功课去,老师,爸爸,妈妈要打屁屁了。

    国际政治太复杂,不是你小屁孩能懂的,别在做wild and baseless comments好吗。

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  • mike:

    Dear ‘whatever invisible CCP 50c 五毛’

    你这五毛的能耐就只剩两毛了吗?可爱哟
    来来去去就只会说 太复杂,你不懂,你是屁孩,你不爱国,你没证据,你胡说,没根据。

    连自己都不尊重自己,你还真活得不是个屁。自己的国家混不下去,到了别的国家一路卖乖只为了继续混口饭吃这我能明白。但把自己的灵魂掏空了说违心的话做了无良的事,绊倒事实编造谎言,终究一身只是虚度。可怜之人必有可恨之处。

    你好自为之。

    @mike:
    赶紧做功课去,老师,爸爸,妈妈要打屁屁了。

    国际政治太复杂,不是你小屁孩能懂的,别在做wild and baseless comments好吗。

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  • @mike:

    台湾-中国大陆和香港-中国大陆内部政治,,我不想comment.

    生为东南亚华人,只希望中国强大起来,华人能得到保护,到全世界旅游,得到尊敬(有些洋人一副高傲,看不起你的样子)。

    真希望新加坡有像中国一样一心一意为人民服务的政府(employment quota 把新加坡人和PR lump 在一起,老板还是能不请新加坡人的!)。谢天谢地。

    全世界华人团结。

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  • TangLiga Buchikonya:

    What about this “botak” writer TangLiga Buchikonya’s opinions with his ‘offensive innuendos’ that caused others discomfort, offense or hurt? thinking he could get away with it.

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  • mike:

    Dear ‘whatever invisible CCP 50c 五毛’

    你这是啥道理呀,当过国民服役的,你是希望一个强大的中共国来保护你(我们)?
    你可耻呀!
    我羞愧呀!
    小弟弟,面子是别人给的,脸是自己丢的。
    人家看不看得起你是你自己的个人问题。
    你没骨气争取是你的懦弱,你与贼共谋是你的堕落。

    说不过就和我掰这是’内部政治’,你是中共国内政部的还是宣传部的?
    一会说世界华人要团结,一会又说’内部政治’不想谈。你是人格分裂还是心里开始动摇了?

    我已确定你是50c。加油,多赚点!

    @mike:
    台湾-中国大陆和香港-中国大陆内部政治,,我不想comment.

    生为东南亚华人,只希望中国强大起来,华人能得到保护,到全世界旅游,得到尊敬(有些洋人一副高傲,看不起你的样子)。

    真希望新加坡有像中国一样一心一意为人民服务的政府(employment quota 把新加坡人和PR lump 在一起,老板还是能不请新加坡人的!)。谢天谢地。

    全世界华人团结。

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