Updated: By the way, asks Life of Annie, Who are the PM's speech writers?
|The Blooper: The report quoting Najib was|
picked up by the Singapore media and the rest of the world
With friends like these ... No thanks to some sloppy journalism, Najib Razak has been quoted to have said something he never did. Something so despicable that nearly the entire Malaysian blogosphere and social media berated him.
The PM's Department issued a statement the very next day to set the record straight.
|The clarification: Najib never said it|
Alas, someone must have decided to downplay the mistake by not making such a big deal out of the clarification. A single column in a former broadsheet, even on Page 3, is easily overlooked.
|What a single column looks like|
So how do you bungle so badly when it involves the Prime Minister himself? I think I know what happened. The following would have been the likely sequence of things:
1. The PM's Office releases Najib's speech to be delivered late that night in advance to the media. There's a "CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY" note attached to each copy of the speech in case the PM decides to make changes or not to read the speech at all, which happens all the time. The idea of issuing the speech in advance is to enable the newspapers to meet the deadline, usually around midnight.
(Even if there isn't a "Check Against Delivery" or "Embargo" notice, the editor would have reminded the reporter covering the event that night to make sure to check against delivery. Even without such a reminder, every reporter covering the PM should be senior enough to know it as basic, a standard operating procedure).
2. The senior reporter processes the speech into a news article at the office before going to the event that night, where the PM is to deliver the speech
3. Najib delivers the speech. However, after vetting the copy earlier, he has decided to skip the paragraph(s) about compelling bloggers to reveal their IDs. Obviously, he does not agree (with his speechwriter) that it is a good idea at all.
4. Reporter fails to check against delivery
5. Newspaper publishes the story
6. All hell breaks loose the next day
7. PM Department issues clarification
8. Editor(s) decides to "bury" the clarification in a single-column.I say, with editors and journalists like these, the PM does not need Malaysiakini or Malaysian Chronicle to do him in!