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While many are still stunned by the exposé of Wang Lee Hom’s multiple infidelities by his former wife Lee Jing Lei, it is worth reflecting on why influential pop stars can manipulate the media to influence public opinion easily.
There are 2 media manipulation tactics observed:
Parallel between Wang and Politicians
In light of increasing media crackdowns and the lack of social media regulation, politicians can easily exploit oppressive laws, cybertroopers, bots and more to create biased news or comments to spread propaganda or divert the public’s attention from important issues. For example, to divert attention from the mismanagement of Covid 19, former President of the United States Donald Trump claimed Covid 19 to be a ‘Chinese Flu’ and shifted blame to the WHO. In Malaysia, after more than 100,000 Malaysians took to the streets after the 1MDB scandal, the then government played the race card and frame the event as a ‘Chinese rally’ to topple the government to muddle public discussions. Experts also alleged that the employment of Mocha Uson—who has 5 million followers on Facebook— was meant to spread disinformation and gloss over the extrajudicial killings by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.
In response to such media manipulation, we need to:
With greater media literacy and media reforms in place, we can collectively create a better media environment that promotes healthier discussions.
Published in South China Morning Post: https://www.scmp.com/comment/letters/article/3160637/what-wang-leehom-scandal-teaches-us-about-media-manipulation