Before I touch on The Star’s syok sendiri mafia, some Malaysiakini figures for comparison.
Malaysiakini senior executive in digital marketing, Sarimah Samad-Imran, recently informed potential advertisers that the portal had received 1,677,243 unique visitors on the day that Parliament was dissolved (3 April 2013).
Sarimah claimed Malaysiakini to have gotten 2,456,998 page views on the dissolution day.
On the eve of the Parliament dissolution, the pro-opposition site claimed to have had 2,397,359 page views, out of which 1,637,125 were unique page views. Making her sales pitch on the current attractiveness of Malaysiakini advertising space, Sarimah highlighted that their viewer numbers will keep on rolling, right up till polling day.
She also pointed out that the portal saw an increase in unique page views from 1,637,125 on April 2 to 1,677,243 on April 3 — a rise of 40,118 unique page views (translated as “unique visitors” by Malaysiakini‘s Sarimah) within the span of 24 hours.
According to the Alexa ranking on Internet traffic, Malaysia’s Top 10 most popular websites are: Facebook, Google.com.my, Google, YouTube, Blogspot, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, Blogger.com, Maybank2u and Mudah.my.
Malaysiakini is the country’s leading online media at No.13 while The Star (No.21) and Utusan (No.24) are not too far apart although a little distance behind the leader of the pack.
Facebook at No.1
Facebook is the number one website in Malaysia.
“Facebook is our biggest weapon. It’s still the main battleground,” DAP communications officer Medaline Chang told The Straits Times (Singapore) two days ago — see ‘Malaysian politicians go all a-Twitter‘ (ST, 7 April 2013).
The DAP has successfully made Facebook – which is the most widely used media and having both social reach as well as political activism hook-up – their “biggest weapon” and “main battleground”.
The Star‘s selected twits
A few days ago, I blogged ‘The Star promoting anti-BN twits who mock Najib‘.
The Star reporter responsible for the twits selection was Michelle Tam.
Michelle’s pro-opposition choices for her Parliament dissolution story were not an aberration but definitely conforming to The Star‘s pattern of bias.
Star studded with SABM
A few days ago, this same Michelle Tam was responsible for another Star article headlined ‘GE13: April 27 hot favourite for polling day’.
@AdrianNCF was among the twits that Michelle quoted for her April 4 writing on the topic of guessing the polling date.
Michelle chose to feature @AdrianNCF who is a Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia and LoyarBurok. Adrian’s profile is that of Malaysian First (SABM is the Firsters Club).
As we know, SABM was founded by Haris Ibrahim.
In the same guess-the-polling-date Star story, Michelle also picked an NST reporter @akil_y and her Star colleague Regina Lee as the other Twitter personalities to be splashed on The Star pages.
Like the Selangor Times splashing the Jerusubang photos, The Star splashed the photo of its own staff Regina on its own pages.
The Star‘s self-indulgence is as great as the Selangor Times‘s syok sendiri. (Umno and MCA are practically invisible in the ST pages unless it’s negative news like the Khir Toyo and Ling Liong Sik corruption trials).
Twitter at No.12
From the Alexa ranking, we can see that Twitter is a very popular site – in twelfth spot – in Malaysia. This means that there are a lot of Malaysians tweeting.
So what kind of shoddy journalism is The Star‘s Michelle Tam churning out when she elects to quote her own office colleague for a story when there are hundreds of thousands of non-SABM twits out there to choose from?
Essentially, The Star with its reach to a 5.63 million audience is being used by the paper to promote a lopsided point of view of its opposition-inclined staff who are slanted to Jerusubang.
Starring role in Dapsterism
We’ve already seen evidence of the nascent ABU vigilantism.
Like ABU, Hannah Yeoh has sounded a similar warning. In her press statement yesterday (8 April 2013), she said:
“Our residents and supporters in Subang Jaya have been placed on high alert and will be monitoring the streets right up to polling day.”
When Hannah makes the following accusation against BN without any proof:
we most certainly hear the echoes of ABU in the threat that her camp “will not tolerate” unclean elections. What The Star is similarly promoting is a cyber lynch mob. The paper’s own NUJ president tweeted about Rosmah Mansor, calling her “Big Mama” and eliciting a “hu hu hu” from Hannah Yeoh.
The Star is allowing its network to foster the cult of Dapsterism.
DAP SuperCyber Bullies
You can see The Star reporter handles in the tweets screenshot above that are bandying my name, and they are the ones in the same loop as the DAP SuperCyber Bullies.
DAP makes no secret that Facebook is its “biggest weapon”. Doubtless Twitter is the DAP’s second biggest weapon, and both social media used extensively by their cyberbully legionnaires for spreading hatred and the most malicious fitnah (something they’re good at).
The Star’s agenda is discernible. In a previous article on the bludgeoning social media scene, all the politicians listed by the MCA-owned paper belong to DAP and PKR (see screenshot bottom of page). There is not a single MCA, Umno, Gerakan or MIC politician in the Star list.
This deliberate omission and commission by The Star is a trend over the last 5 years.
There are three million-plus young or first-time voters. Thanks to the sterling efforts of The Star, the opposition – especially the DAP in Johor – are now quite confident that they have the young urban electorate in their pocket.
About a month ago, I took a Twit Meter reading. MCA vice president Gan Ping Sieu who is also Deputy Youth Minister had 2,246 followers whereas Hannah Yeoh had 59,654 followers.
Today, Gan has 2,318 followers and Hannah has 63,381. Over the same period of time, Gan has increased his Twitter followers by a mere 72 but Hannah’s following has grown by 3,727.
If the social media is one of the electoral battlefronts, The Star has effectively given Pakatan the edge through its tireless promotion of the support structure (such as the network of pro-opposition twits) that harasses and poses a menace to the beleaguered critics of the DAP.