Friday, October 23, 2020

Editorial: Where we went wrong with our scoops

In exposing the ugly truth of our political pandemic, we may have distracted Malaysians from a greater threat.

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Over the last 24 hours, we published two reports on the latest political bickering in the country.

Essentially, we reported about four people – two in their late 60s, one in his 70s, and another in his 40s – all of whom we said had been caught scheming in their own ways, but together, to overthrow the government by means of defections.

Yes, our reports catapulted us to national fame, barely a month after our launch in September. Our mobile phones were beeping all day, our servers were brimming with traffic, and our close relatives and friends were all hoping for a little more “insider info”.

Like any online portal, we celebrated these scoops, easily the hottest in the weeks-old saga of Anwar Ibrahim’s plan to become prime minister.

And then, at around 6pm today, we realised that it may not have been the best move to go to press with the scoops. The health ministry announced a whopping 869 new infections for Covid-19, the highest in the 10 months since the pandemic was detected in Malaysia.

What this means is 869 more people for our frontliners to treat in the coming days and weeks. 869 more beds will be occupied in our hospitals, 869 different sets of tools and equipment will be needed, and we will have 869 more reasons to worry that this, the greatest catastrophe in recent memory, is not yet over.

In a way, we are guilty of distracting the Malaysian public from the state of war with which we are confronted. We diverted the nation’s attention to a set of tired politicians whose actions could trigger a general election, a phrase that in the parlance of this pandemic era means mass suicide in the name of democracy.

We riled up the politicians we named – or, more precisely, their followers, for there was pindrop silence from Anwar Ibrahim, Najib Razak, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Maszlee Malik themselves over our damning reports implicating them.

We angered their diehard fans as we left a good many of them dumbfounded and feeling betrayed. We invited wrath from their henchmen, who accuse us of fabrication.

But we are not a phantom website. We are a recognisable news team, with a proper set-up and physical presence and editorial board. So if we are spreading fake news, report us, sue us.

But that’s the least of our concerns. In fact, we are remorseful for the great Saturday distraction we made.



All this as tens of thousands of frontliners are busy battling the pandemic, giving up their sleep to take care of fellow humans, some of whom are in their death throes, ready to make it to Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah’s daily briefings which we follow with trepidation.

In a way, we exposed the people jostling for power during a time of pandemic. A time of great social and economic destruction, a time when no politician in their right mind would want to occupy the top post other than to save themselves from an impending doom to their personal lives.

But while we did that, we are aware that we could have made Malaysians forget the sufferings and the sacrifices of a greater part of the country.

We apologise for the distraction. But if our action has played somewhat of a role in exposing the ugly truth of our political pandemic brought about by some of the very people we elected, then we say “you’re welcome”.

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