Proton hits back at TV3 "smear campaign". So you won't see any "balik kampung" Proton commercial in TV3 this year, no thanks to the television station's mysterious series of unflattering reporting about the national car in the past week or so.
I hear Proton spends quite a bit on TV3 - the benefit of a long-standing relationship and the same political qibla - so this is going to pinch the management on the cheeks. If Proton's retaliation extends to the Media Prima group that owns several other TV stations, radio channels, newspapers, billboards and digital platforms, we will be talking about millions down the drain, and with 2015 already a challenging year even before all this mess, pinch could turn into punch.
Proton, the Malay acronym for Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional, is the brainchild of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when he was Prime Minister; now he's chairman of the company that has sold some 4 million cars since the first Saga back in July, 1985. Proton has lost a lot of market share and quite a bit of our special affection in recent years due to various reasons, mostly quality and apathy issues, but a lot of people I talk to have no love whatsoever for whatever it was the TV3 bosses thought they were trying to do for themselves or thier political masters by running down the national car during prime time news.
To be fair, TV3 (and Media Prima) journalists are not answerable to the government or any politician, but to their editors; in fact, there are quite a few supporters of the late Pakatan Rakyat making an honest living in Balai Berita and Seri Pentas. Only the very top editors are answerable to the Prime Minister's Office. I can say for a fact that PM Najib Razak provides these editors all the latitute in the world but trouble is, sometimes special directives come from powerful go-betweens. Whether they are doing it for themselves or on behalf of their Boss, I can't say.
What's clear is that propaganda 70s style doesn't work anymore. You gotta be subtle, savvy and smart. Which the exissting go-betweens are not.