Thailand: Is The Nation a pro-Thaksin mouthpiece?
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Thailand: Is The Nation a pro-Thaksin mouthpiece?

While writing another post BP saw a new story blasted across the front page of the ASTV Manager site. The story is an attack by Sondhi’s son against The Nation and in particular Suthichai Yoon over his son and his son’s support over lese majeste. That really deserves a post on its own so won’t focus on that aspect in this post, but then the attack goes from the absurd to the ridiculous. Sondhi’s son states that many people view that The Nation Group papers is one of the leading media groups, but today since Puea Thai won the election, there was news that Sutichai Yoon visited Thaksin in Dubai and that their press coverage has changed (ในฐานะที่หลายคนก็เคยมองว่าสื่อเนชั่นเขาเป็นสื่อน้ำดีอย่างหนึ่ง แต่วันนี้ระยะเวลาพิสูจน์สื่อเครือเนชั่นแล้วหรือเปล่า นับตั้งแต่พรรคเพื่อไทยชนะการเลือกตั้งแล้วมีข่าวว่า คุณสุทธิชัย หยุ่น ไปพบคุณทักษิณ ที่ดูไบ ทิศทางการนำเสนอของสื่อเครือเนชั่นเปลี่ยนไป). He also states that from what he has observed that The Nation is not severely criticizing the government at all (เท่าที่ผมเห็นผมก็ยังไม่เห็นเครือเนชั่นวิพากษ์วิจารณ์รัฐบาลเรื่องอะไรหนักๆ เลยแม้แต่น้อย)

BP: Does this make The Nation, a pro-Thaksin mouthpiece?* BP’s initial reaction was to laugh so loud. Yes, The Nation is not propagating conspiracy theories and they have a variety of opinion pieces + Pravit and others, but to say that The Nation has not been severely criticizing the government. Does he not read The Nation and other Nation Group papers on a daily basis? Were they running glowing editorials about Yingluck’s handling of the floods? No. The criticism is certainly less vitriolic than in the past, but criticism of the government is there on a daily basis. It is like trying to mount an argument that Fox News is a pro-Obama mouthpiece.**

The ASTV story is part of the ongoing war of words between ASTV Manager and The Nation Group. Back in February 2011, Suthichai Yoon published a piece quoting (then Democrat) government house sources as saying Sondhi visited Dubai. One imagines this article is a form of payback (you visited Thaksin and are a mouthpiece for the evil one! No you are!). No evidence is cited by Sondhi’s son. It is “there is news” (ie a rumour)….

The political relevance of this is just further evidence of the fragmentation of the anti-Thaksin “coalition”. The Nation was a supporter of the PAD in 2006 (i.e agreed about evils of Thaksin), less so in 2008 (and even less so during the airport takeover) and now the dislike of each other is palpable. Would a protest by the PAD receive more critical coverage now? Yes. Similarly, a protest by the multicolored group would be criticized by the PAD and ASTV Manager? Yes, things can change, but it is not so easy to go back to where things were in 2006.

*Does this mean that Thanong is a puppet of Thaksin? The mind boggles…..

**or to say that Howard Webb is anti-Man United…