The Sunday Leader’s biggest headlines generally involve itself, which is kinda sad. Now, however, the ‘private’ media is ganging up on the paper, which is even worse. Behind it all, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremesinghe are laughing. They get two birds with one stone.
The Sunday Times has attacked the Editor of this paper using misleading headlines like ‘Editor Makes A Mistake’ to reveal the buried nugget that she got a name wrong in cross-examination. The Daily Mirror, usually more objective, also published plainly false transcripts of the testimony without retraction. These papers from the Wijeya Group (run by Ranil’s family) don’t usually so blatantly do his dirty work, but here they did their part. The entire line of argument that the Leader took money from the UNP and is simultaneously a mess is there in the news reports, and this comes from the aggrieved Ranil.
The Leader and Sarath Fonseka are thus set up to fall, with the support of the supposed private media. Perhaps this is because the media isn’t private at all. The Wijeya Group is owned by the Opposition Leader’s family. Lake House is owned by the government. The Island group is headed by Nimal Welgama who was recently made chairman of state owned SLT. Lakbima is owned by Thilanga Sumathipala, a government MP.
These newspapers are all run as businesses, and doing business today involves working with the government. Just look at Business Today (the magazine). Indeed, without a viable opposition there isn’t even a possible financial future in being an opposition paper since the opposition under Ranil will never win. Ranil’s family papers have — like him — made a good business out of being, nominally, in opposition while basically working with the government at every turn.
Everyone has to make a living, but it is a bit off to see how many people get thrown under the bus in the process. The media is so stuck on breaking news that they don’t realise the news is broken. This trial is essentially theatre and Frederica Jansz is being brought in for colour. The media is completely distracted and they cover the ins and outs like its the OJ Simpson case while overlooking the fact that there are serious allegations of war crimes in the background.
This was the charge that Fonseka tried to hit Gotabaya with, but he sorely overestimated how much the Sri Lankan public cared. They were rubber, and he was glue. People are more concerned with having their sense of reality disturbed than with morality. Talking has become the sin, involving much of the nation in conspiracy.
Throughout the whole trial and coverage, however, no one discloses the vital fact. This is not a democracy, this is not a trial, and this is not media. This is a family dynasty, the trial is vengeance, the media is part of the system and the people are kept ignorant and distracted from the facts. This is a hit.
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