International help has arrived

First there were just rumors of American warship in the Gulf ready to dispatch strike force to help red shirts and then rumors of Canadians sending in 350 marines.

Hmm, Canadians are generally nice and non-threatening, aren’t they?

Nevermind, now international “help” is fully on the way.

Terryfrd translates

Red speaker says they all feel reassured that CNN has arrived. They can sleep well now.

That, I suppose, refers to the anti-CNN Facebook group that is clearly anti-red, too.

Earlier Bangkok Pundit wrote a blog entry in defense of CNN, arguing that they indeed provide a balanced coverage. There are over a hundred comments on it by now. Mine somehow got lost so I’ll reproduce the essence of it here.

What BP says is undeniably true – there are many different sides of story available on CNN, but he was looking at their website.

If you open a story like this one from the front page, where it was early this morning when BP was putting his blog, or you open the whole Thailand Unrest topic you can see them all nicely lined up.

You don’t get all this when you watch CNN on TV, however.

What you see is a few replays of Dan Rivers reports like this one

where he implies that reds don’t have weapons because he, personally, didn’t see any, and that the army is killing innocent people. Its youtube copies have been quoted and linked plenty of times by pro-red posters on the Internet.

No wonder anti-red folks deem it, and the rest of CNN by extension, unbalanced.

Yeah, sure, there were interviews with Korn and Panitan, too, but those were conducted over the phone by news anchors, not by Bangkok based correspondents who are the target of anti-CNN group. I’m pretty sure Dan’s report has been played far more often and given far more prominence in their TV coverage.

Even on the website people were complaining in replies to Bangkok Pundit that they can’t find those interviews, like this one with Korn here.

You have to scroll down the page and click on the last entry in the column of videos which is called “Thailand economic voes”, far less interesting title comparing to “Battle zone in Bangkok” or “Bullets came over my head”. If not for a tiny Korn’s face you wouldn’t even tell it was his interview.

Where is the interview with Panitan? I have no idea where to click to find it. It’s not offered even on “topics” page. Search would probably work but if you are reading “100 stories” of CNN Thailand coverage you don’t type random words in a search box like “government explanation” or “Abhisit” or “balanced reporting”. Hmm, I wonder what search for “Thailand balanced reporting” would produce. Nothing.

Right now the main story from CNN home page goes to Outside Bangkok life goes on which has no links to any of the “balanced” stories, just some entries on tourism and the like.

I’m saying that people complaining about CNN bias have a case to see it that way, too.

Now I’m starting to think CNN indeed manipulates the coverage to present readers with THEIR choice of stories to read. No…., it can’t be… Can it?

Reds somehow think CNN is on their side, that should also account for something.

But that is not all the international help that is there.

There’s is also Robert Amsterdam, an international lawyer/lobbyist hired by Thaksin to promote the red cause.

Robert Amsterdam

His blog now has an article called The Temporary Thai-ification of This Blog. He promptly flew to Bangkok and became an expert on all things Thai.

Dan Rivers (nooo!) has also promptly interviewed him, too, ‘cos his input is so very important. It’s at abour 2.07 min mark in the Dan Rivers report I linked earlier.

He was also interviewed by Al Jazeera

This interview was a lot tougher for him, he had to avoid answering several questions and revert to hammering his assigned line – reds are innocent and are being killed by the cruel government.

I don’t know why Thaksin had to hire him, though, there are dozens of commentators in local blogosphere who would endlessly repeat exactly the same lines for free. Funny how that works.

Oh, and his most prominent case to date has been defending yet another tycoon jailed for not paying taxes that he presented as a champion of democracy. Hmmm, trying not to think of parallels here.

Amnesty International has also joined the fray, with this quote not scoring very high among pro-government commentators:

unarmed people who pose no threat whatsoever to the soldiers or to others

Yes, red holed up at Rajprasong are not a threat, but that can’t be said with a straight face about reds who attacked the army positions on Friday with all kinds of homemade weapons that are even more dangerous in hand to hand combat than batons and shields.

On Friday reds have seized an army truck transporting razor wire, I understand, that was manned only by a few soldiers. They were quickly disarmed and some were savagely beaten, one was left unconscious. Reds made away with their M16 rifle. That was replayed many times by CRES for the full emotional impact. Then AI comes in with their “unarmed, no threat” nonsense.

I don’t know how to search Bangkok Post images but on Saturday they had a big picture of an “innocent” protester kicking a soldier held by others in the face with full force.

After April 10, when hundreds of soldiers were injured in street fighting and had their weapons taken away the army smartened up and kept a safe distance between themselves and advancing reds. At the moment this safe distance is about 800 meters in some areas, I guess to keep out of the range of occasional weapons in red hands. Shooting anyone approaching any closer needs to be questioned but not the principle itself.

There’s also the latest UN demand for negotiations but I doubt anyone on any side take them seriously so I don’t want to waste any time on analyzing that.

Finally, Steff’s CNN cartoon from the Nation:

CNN cartoon

Click to see full size.

I won’t be surprised that CNN changes the tone of its coverage in reaction to Facebook and cartoon protests, they can’t be all that bad.

What I really mean they can’t be all that principled.

I also doubt Robert Amsterdam would get any serious traction. I think he is more of a liability for the red movement, being employed by Thaksin and repeating the official red line at the same time.

What credibility does this sudden expert have?

Everything he touches immediately comes under suspicion of being paid propaganda.

Not much of a help, really, just marginally better than US marines rumors.

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