By Augustine Low
President Barack Obama recently joked that when he leaves office after his eight-year term, Fox News would miss him sorely.
Obama has been the butt of constant attacks and accusations by the cable and satellite news television channel, many of them unfounded and unsubstantiated. But not once has Obama deemed it necessary to sue the news channel. He has better things to do with the time he has, and he knows that Americans know there will always be people and organisations with a dubious agenda.
Our politicians, on the other hand, have found it necessary to launch lawsuits from time to time against adversaries and opponents. The latest of course being PM Lee’s lawsuit against blogger Roy Ngerng for his post on the CPF.
The result is that Roy has been catapulted into instant national fame. Prior to this episode, Roy was a relative unknown to Singaporeans. Thanks to the PM, Roy has become an overnight sensation and household name and he now wants to be an NMP. He has probably been given a ticket to contest the next general elections as well. As a known entity, instead of being a relative anonymous guy.
Is it really necessary for PM to tangle with the likes of Roy the Blogger?
There are three reasons why he should not sue and turn it into a David vs Goliath affair.
One: The reputation of the PM is presumably at stake. But is his reputation so delicate, so fragile, so in-the-balance that it can be damaged by what Roy says? I would think most definitely not.
Two: There is apparently the need to put unfounded allegations to bed, otherwise they sprout wings and fester. But then there are so many half-truths, untruths and rumours permeating everywhere – including cyberspace – so where do you begin and where do you end and where do you draw the line?
Three: One can understand the PM feeling aggrieved about allegations which he feels are unwarranted. But can he place his faith in Singaporeans? Can he trust that the majority of Singaporeans know the difference between reality and falsehood, between sound argument and stretching the truth?
Very often, letting go and turning the other cheek is the best form of offence. Or, like Obama, learn to put others in their place without taking a legal recourse and get on with more pressing issues at hand.