At their Wednesday, April 26, meeting, the Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC) welcomed back Chedly Saheb-Ettaba, better known as Dr. Penguino, magician and comedian extraordinaire. While entertaining his audience with his magic tricks and a bit about his history, he also had a more serious note regarding his son who is autistic and his endeavors in helping charities that assist autistic children as well as others in need.
Dr. Penguino is a magician, comedian, musician, actor, presenter, emcee, charity worker and artist. He developed his style of interactive comedy from a combination of studies with great theater icons such as Jacque Le Coq, and Marcel Marceau in Paris to La Mama in New York. After graduating from the University of California Santa Cruz he set off to tour the world for 6 months in 1976. It was in Asia he found his niche and decided to settle in Thailand. Although he began his life-long pursuit with basic magic, he explained how he discovered that adding comedy improved his performances which he has done all over the world.
He included several participants from his PCEC audience to assist in the magical wonders he performed to entertain and delight his audience. His presentation can be seen by visiting the PCEC’s YouTube Channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_yY1CRgkI4.
In conclusion, he mentioned his son, now grown, who is autistic, but is also excellent in drawing cartoons, primarily the life and times of a dog named “Bingo” and their use of Bingo and his canine friends in their charitable efforts. Dr. Penguino described the area (Bingo Beach) where they now live, just north of Pattaya, and that they need to raise money to assist their landlord financially so that he can continue to make it available to them.
Following Dr. Penguino’s presentation, Journalist Patrick Mattimore gave a brief follow up to his previous talk to the PCEC on March 29 about “Can the Press be Objective.” He began by saying he wanted to give his view about the impact on the objectiveness of the press considering the very recent settlement of a major defamation case in the US between the Fox News Channel and Dominion Voting.
Patrick is a lawyer and a journalist. He had a regular web column for China Daily when he lived in Beijing and was asked to write as an expert on the media for that newspaper’s 30th anniversary edition. He has given several presentations to the PCEC primarily related to journalism in the world today.
He noted that regardless of how one feels about the USA’s Fox News, it is indisputable that as the number one cable giant, Fox has had an enormous impact on how and what news is reported to consumers which he referred to as the “Fox Effect.” In his previous talk on Press objectivity, Patrick suggested a voluntary step that media could take to improve the public’s trust in their product- avoiding sensationalism.
He mentioned that the recent settlement of the defamation lawsuit Dominion filed against Fox will have an effect on how such news channels operate. First, he noted some aspects about the case. Dominion made voting machines used by many States to tabulate the 2020 US presidential election results. Dominion sued Fox for knowingly broadcasting shows that were not true which claimed Dominion rigged their machines to tabulate votes in favor of Joe Biden.
Just before the expected defamation trial of the century, Fox settled the case out of court agreeing to pay Dominion US$787.5 million which was about 10 times the valuation of the Dominion Voting Company. The “Fox Effect” he explained is one that pushes competitors to sensationalize “Breaking News”; feeds audience appetite sometimes at expense of the truth; employs messengers who align with the message they want to convey; and rewards differentiation. Thus, Patrick noted that Fox allowed these claims to go unchallenged even though their commentators and executives knew they were untrue.
Why did they do this? Patrick said it was because Fox felt they would lose audience share to their competitors, primarily those that also espoused a highly conservative viewpoint. He then mentioned that for Dominion to win their case against a public entity, they would have to prove that not only was their news untrue, but would have to prove that Fox did so with malice or acted with reckless disregard for the truth and that Dominion was damaged as a result (US Supreme Court decision in Times vs Sullivan which set this standard).
Patrick felt that democracy suffered due to the settlement and the case not going on to trial. Had the case gotten appealed to US Supreme Court, it would have gotten the Times vs Sullivan standard reviewed and might have resulted in getting rid of the current standard requiring actual malice or reckless disregard by public entities in order for them to be liable for defamation. Eliminating this standard could, in his view lead to more objective reporting by the news media. To view Patrick’s presentation, visit the PCEC’s YouTube Channel at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMgaSD-pKRY.
Following the presentations, MC Ren Lexander called on George Wilson to conduct the Open Forum portion of the meeting, where questions are asked or comments made about Expat living in Pattaya and Thailand. To learn more about the PCEC, visit their website at: https://www.pcec.club.