Friday, May 19, 2006


Let me say at the start that The Nation newspaper here in Bangkok is not the worst, most biased paper I have ever seen. (See, I start off with a denial.) I lived in Saigon during their unpleasantness and regularly read the paper put out by Madame Ngo Diem Nhu, wife of the brother of the president. She was otherwise known as “The Dragon Lady.” I am very familiar with shoddy press in Southeast Asia.

A regular feature of shoddy press is the “Denial Story.” This is a story that you can literally create just by printing a denial. Here are a few fictional denials:

Pope denies having a harem of a hundred nuns.

President denies reports that monkeys flew out of his ass.

Australia denies rumors of intention to invade Iceland.

You see what I mean? You can print anything you want as long as you say it is denied. This is what is known in legitimate press as the “non-story.” You create a story that no one has even thought of and, as long as you say it is denied, you are in the clear.

Today The Nation, on the front page printed this headline:

Army insists there will be no coup d’etat.

Excuse me! Is there a story there?

I have to make this short because I’m working on my novel and have a visitor from the US that I haven’t seen for 60 years.

Anyway, you get my drift.


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