Comparing newspaper news with internet news

  • PAS offers party’s services in MH370 investigation
    PAS offers party’s services in MH370 investigation

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — PAS information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar volunteered today its party’s services to Putrajaya, saying Malaysia too has experts who can aid investigations into the mystery of... …

  • 'Azizah and I... till death do us part'

    So tongues wagged when Anwar Ibrahim filed his nomination papers to challenge his wife for the PKR president post and his rivals painted the town red over this. But insiders claimed that it was part of a strategy to prevent Azmin Ali, the current number two, from contesting for the number one post. Anwar confirmed that the move was part of a larger plan at a press conference this morning but claimed that it was to safeguard the party leadership "My battle is not with Wan Azizah. 'I don't …

  • Int'l panel proposed to prove transparency

    The Transport Ministry has proposed to the cabinet that an international expert panel of inquiry be formed to look into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines' Flight MH370 to prove that Malaysia is transparent. "The cabinet will be discussing a paper with regard to an expert panel of inquiry that is going to be set up as part of the ongoing process of transparency to show the world that Malaysia has nothing to hide ...," acting Transport Minister Hishammudin Hussein told reporters today. …

  • Review contracts awarded to Syed Mokhtar, PAS tells Putrajaya
    Review contracts awarded to Syed Mokhtar, PAS tells Putrajaya

    Putrajaya should review the contracts awarded to tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary following the closure of the Albukhary International University (AIU) in Kedah, PAS information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar (pic) said. "The closure of the university is not in accordance with the Private Institutions of Higher Learning Act," Mahfuz said.... …

  • PAS MP demands transparency in RM180m Customs’ online tax system
    PAS MP demands transparency in RM180m Customs’ online tax system

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — Putrajaya must disclose if it had paid RM180 million to set up an online tax reporting system for the Customs Department, a PAS lawmaker demanded today. Pokok Sena MP... …

  • Khalid denies tailoring bible issue response to PKR race
    Khalid denies tailoring bible issue response to PKR race

    SHAH ALAM, April 16 — Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim today denied that he was playing “safe” in a controversial bible seizure case to avoid upsetting his chances at the coming PKR... …

This just in: Confucius is still dead. Wait, there's more: Mahatma Gandhi is still dead, too, and nothing has been heard from Ashoka for TWO MILLENNIA. That's my news report, inspired by a recent one which said astronaut Neil Armstrong had died. Thousands of people shared this report over the internet, despite the fact that Mr. Armstrong had died a year earlier.

Why be greedy? One death should be enough for anyone, right? On the other hand, when I die, it would be quite nice if people share the news year after year until a news report eventually appears saying: "Irritating Columnist Continues To Irritate From The Grave: Mass Demo Set For Major Cities Worldwide."

But of course the real message is that you can't trust the news on the Internet, which I know will come as an astonishing surprise to everyone.

Yet it IS scary when you think that the web is where most people get their news these days. As a scientific experiment, I decided to compare the top items of actual news in physical newspapers with the top news items on the internet on one particular day.

At the international newspaper stand at the railway station I wrote down the front page stories: political upheavals, civil wars and of course the United States' Mass Shooting of the Week, a weird tradition they have there, guaranteed by their most important law, the Second Ablution to the Fourth Adjustment of the Fifth Abatement or some such thing.

Back at the office, I looked up top items for Google News Trends for random places. US: Rejoicing as new violent computer game launched. Singapore: Rejoicing as new violent computer game launched. India: Rejoicing as brown woman wins Miss America contest. Japan: Rejoicing as new ultra-cute computer game about cookies launched.

When World War III is launched, no one's going to actually notice, as they will be reading about computer games and beauty queens. I can't decide whether this is good or bad. We'll soon find out, since the next war may have started. A Chinese newspaper recently announced that China's military had developed the capability to drop TV shows from fighter bombers. No, I don't mean they will throw actual TV presenters out of airplanes, although I suspect everyone on the planet would applaud that one, including Mother Teresa watching from her cloud.

Instead, warplanes will take over all TVs and computers beneath their flight path and beam their own programmes into them in a "psychological warfare" technique to "give the enemy nervous breakdowns", the Global Times said. Having tried to watch Mainland China TV myself once, I can confirm that a dose of 90 seconds caused severe mental pain and after three minutes I felt so suicidal that I actually ate the Beijing hotel café's Daily Special.

Yet I'm not sure how hard it was for military scientists to develop this system, since it actually happens by itself. At a British funeral recently, the nephew of the dead man went to the pulpit to deliver a eulogy but the words that came from the sound system were: "Fasten your seatbelts." It probably came from a plane overhead, said the Daily Mail. Or perhaps Neil Armstrong's ghost, popping down to see why he's back in the news.

(20.09.2013 - Nury Vittachi is an Asia-based frequent traveller. Send ideas or comments via www.mrjam.org)

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  • Chief: Suspects wore GPS devices during killings Associated Press
    Chief: Suspects wore GPS devices during killings

    ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Two parolees raped and killed at least four women while wearing GPS trackers, and there may be more victims, a California police chief alleged Monday. …

  • ‘All the best’, Selangor MB tells Bible society at exit The Malay Mail Online
    ‘All the best’, Selangor MB tells Bible society at exit

    SHAH ALAM, April 15 — Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said today he wished the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) well on its decision to move its headquarters out to Kuala Lumpur to... …

  • PM’s wife raps critics of Putrajaya’s handling of MH370 crisis The Malaysian Insider
    PM’s wife raps critics of Putrajaya’s handling of MH370 crisis

    The Prime Minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor has spoken out against critics of Putrajaya's handling of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 crisis, describing them as cowards for not providing solutions. "Don't throw stones and then hide your hands behind your back (make wild allegations). That's cowardice, don't just talk and not provide... …