The Singapore economy has been undoubtedly hit like the rest of the world in the global economic crisis. Like most governments around the world, S’pore has taken specific stimulus actions. What’s interesting to me is the approach that S’pore  media has taken.

Since the global economic crisis hit about a year and half ago, I used to think  it’s probably good measure that most of the headlines weren’t worded to convey the kind of doom and gloom that the American media did.

You would rarely see PLUNGE, or PLUMMET or other dramatic words used in The Straits Times, whereas in most of the American media, it’s not unusual to wake up to those headlines. It was downright depressing.

Case in point, check out the difference between the AP headline and The Straits Times Digital  headline, both reporting on the new economic forecast figures released by the Government. (btw, please correct me if the ST article after the jump is different from the ST Breaking News page.

AP Headline: Singapore economy plummets 20 pct in first quarter

ST Headline: Singapore GDP may shrink 9%

I use to think that this kind of media management is probably a good thing if it is meant to regulate the kind of consumer hysteria that exacerbated the problem in the earlier days of the economic crisis. Now I wonder what the consequences are of this kind of regulation. 

Although I appreciated some solace in hearing that Singapore’s economy won’t do so bad because we’re more tied to Asia blah blah blah, I for one felt really skeptical about the predictions then. And of course being in the States helped remove any residual denial. 

It’s also an open secret that S’pore’s main media outlets are either heavily regulated by the government or self-regulated from years of censorship. Right down to the headlines.

So was it too rosy a caution? Who might have been the victims? I hope someone in academia is studying this…and I’d love to read more about it.

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