The Shallow Press Defines the Philippines

cronkite 01

Walter Cronkite

This may seem like another of those obnoxious “Americans do it better” blogs. But if America DOES have a more constructive standard, are we to ignore it, refuse to learn from it, wave a Filipino pride shirt high in the air and go ignorantly forward?

Not me, bubba. The journalistic standards in the States, up to a point of about 15 years ago when Fox took them south, are generally high-principled, and there is tremendous variety in the views available.

But that is not the subject of this blog. Filipino news reporting is.

The Philippine press is notorious for shallow, sensationalist reporting. Not in-depth reporting. Not much in the way of informative reporting. It’s hearsay reporting, or “he said, she said” reporting.

Media are self-regulated, so there is no mandate that they serve the public or hold to high standards of journalism. We see dead, bloodied bodies live and in color plastered across the screen while the kids are watching. We see network stars paraded across the news as if they really WERE news. They’re not. They are self-promotional advertisements, deviously slipped in on top of the relentless regularly scheduled ads. We see stuffed shirt talking news-heads preening and intoning as if they had journalistic credentials of Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite. They don’t.

The whole pack of them couldn’t carry Walter’s cigar case.

Or Helen Thomas’ notebook, may she rest in eternal peace.

Pioneering front-row journalist Helen Thomas dies at 92

The shallow sensationalism of the Philippine press is a form of corruption. A corruption of ideals. It undermines any notion that media, or us as gullible viewers, are dignified caretakers of Philippine values.

They aren’t. We aren’t.

We don’t demand enough.

That is pretty obvious. The popular media, through laziness or ignorance, define the Philippines. And, indeed, damage the Philippines. We ought not stand for that.

They are lazy with their words. Mod. Hep. Trendy. Obtuse. Lazy with investigations. Lazy with their objectivity, and, when we need meaning, lazy with their insight.

The news is run for profit. Two stories and 15 ads. Why spend money on investigative reporting, or field crews embedded with the PNP in Sulu. Nothin’ in it for them.

Is there any wonder that the PNP fights a thankless task, in the background, hidden by the trees and our ignorance? No one is putting the crime-fighting effort in the foreground to give us perspective, and context, and understanding as to why local people allow murderers to roam freely through their homeland.

cronkite 03

All we get are body counts. And little headlines if peace agreements are going well, and big headlines if they are failing.

Forgive me for going petty on you during this little rant.

One of the terms that drives me nuts is “communist rebels”, a term that is often used to describe New People’s Army (“NPA”) gangsters operating in Mindanao and elsewhere. The term “communist rebels” suggests these gangs have a constructive place to play in society. That they are a brand of socially progressive  thinkers interested in the well-being of the Philippines.

They are extortionist gangsters, nothing more. THAT’S what they should be called in the press.

What is to be gained by their grand political ideology? By having America, Australia and Europe warn their citizens against travel to Mindanao? By blowing up buses and freaking out any resident who has to depend on them? By blowing up electricity lines so the poor can live in the dark? By shooting mine workers or pineapple plantation workers who only want to feed their families?

What is to be gained by granting them the respect of claim to a worthy political ideology?

Trust me on this. This is NOT a communist ideology.

This is a gangster ideology.

The Philippines is too busy fighting Filipinos, and the reason is that the press, the lazy, profiteering press, does not present the despicable deeds of these gangsters in the proper light. Does not go into the field to show the hard work of the PNP. The danger. Does not pose tough questions to the rebels so we can see their insanity, like “how does blowing up electrical lines bring economic wealth to Mindanao?” Does not add up the figures for the locals, who can do the most to stop these homegrown thugs, that two plus two really does add up to four. And threat plus destruction really does add up to everlasting poverty.

Well, I feel like Walter pounding the congressional table above. I have an angry challenge for the press.

We know you can preen. We know you can make money.

Can you REPORT like professional news reporters and establish a context for Filipino thinking that is rich with fact and insight and information?

Or is shallow fine with you? For your nation? For your profession?

How, exactly, do you choose to define the Philippines? Eh?

If the popular mass media cannot do a better job of caretaking the nation by meaningful news reporting and analysis, I’d argue for regulating media to mandate stronger “public interest” programming and higher ethical and business values.

Comments
49 Responses to “The Shallow Press Defines the Philippines”
  1. The Mouse says:

    Ah bingo. The PH media cant even get simple facts right. Many times have I read the CAR as “Cordillera Autonomous Region”. Never mind the fact that the autonomy for CAR has been rejected twice in two referendums. LOL.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I’m tooling with the notion that the lack of rigor in news reporting both shapes the shallow interests of the public and is shaped BY it. No one really demands more, or perhaps they don’t have a vehicle for demanding more. But take the Ampatuan investigation. Why is there no inquiry that reveals exactly WHY it is taking so long? That is the kind of pressure that should eventually humiliate the courts into getting more efficient. Name names and cite events. So the press COULD shape the Philippine nation.

      If they weren’t so lazy and self-serving (profit motive).

      • The Mouse says:

        The PH media seemed to be better in the 90s. Come 2000, it went downward. Back in those years, there were only 2 or 3 telenovelas. They even had educational supplementary shows back then, now all gone.

      • cha says:

        Re: Ampatuan Investigation

        The Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists, a group which includes the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) among others, has actually recently released a statement calling attention to the disturbingly long delay in the trials. The Statement can be found in the PCIJ blog. Here’s the link:

        http://pcij.org/blog/2013/07/15/media-groups-disturbed-by-delays-in-ampatuan-trial

        I am not so sure however if mainstream media even just so much as gave it a passing mention. Maybe they run out of space, what with the neverending press conferences and interviews of the Catholic bishops on how this government should be doing its job and then of course, there’s the in-depth coverage of the Filipiniana gowns and barong tagalogs to be worn by the very discerning lawmakers for this afternoon’s SONA. Forget Ampatuan. The mass graves are no longer as jaw-dropping as the CBCP digging its own grave. Or the fashionista kongresistas and senadores who look like they have just risen from the grave.

        • Joe America says:

          Thanks for depressing me further . . .

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          PCIJs are not lawyers. They are just bunch of pagarparings looking at events in their own jaded myopic ways. PCIJs should ask lawyers instead of talking stuff not within their fortes.

          There are plenty of questions that gets deleted at PCIJs:
          1. How come the news morning after the massacre accused the Ampatuans even before investigators were there; DELETED
          2. Why PCIJs allowed the trampling of crime scene even pulling out the Tamaraw with the same backhoe that burried the 52 englsichtzes-speaking journalists; DELETED
          3. Shouldn’t the Tamaraw be gingerly removed from its burial ground layer by layer so as not to disturb or contaminate the crime scene; DELETED
          4. I also recomended to PCIJ to question the journalists that acused the Ampatuans immediately after the massacre maybe that journalist ws involved or maybe the journalists knew but never informed the military so he can get a scoop of dirt; DELETED
          5. This I like, and my favorite, Ces Drilon kidnapping news blackout because the brilliant high-IQ englischtzes-speaking journalists were afraid the terrorist Abu Sayaf might get angry! DELETED! DELETED! DELTED! This is funny that not one brilliant journalists would dare face me in the U.S. with an answer.
          6. And, oh, many many many many more ….

    • ella says:

      The Philippine Media do not report events and things as they are. They report everything and anything according to their perception and interpretation. Most especially, television news reporters.

      The Philippine media I can listen to and read is Rappler. I hope Rappler will continue the way they report and write the events.

      • Joe America says:

        I agree that Rappler is uniquely informative. The stories are sometimes thin and simple notices, and sometime elaborate commentary (like the “must read” item on President Aquino’s managerial style in the right column). Their broad range of article writers seems to have an ear to almost every activity, looking, reading, digging, and getting it out into the news channel. It’s great, a truly modern form of “live” journalism.

        • ella says:

          Mr. Joe I would rather listen to a thin and simple notice from rappler, rather than an elaborately speculated and sensationalized report from the other network. most of the time they are way way beyond speculation.

          Philippine media, except rappler is a joke to the max.

        • The Mouse says:

          Rappler, being “independent” is quite good. They need a better editor though. Some misfacts do slip.

          But what amazes me about Rapper is that they tend to have very good editorials. Beats the better known “journalists” in bigger media companies

  2. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    This is definitely not “Americans do it better” blog. Americans are better and could be the best. Lookit all journalism text books in University of the Philippines, la Salle and Ateneo they are all authored by Americans NOT BY FILIPINOS because Americans are the bestest there is. Lookit who emulates the American language? Of course, the only-in-the-Philippines that called themselves as Ivy-Schools. Despite Filipinos reading American textbooks they still have a different way of understanding journalism textbooks. It is not the American textbooks that is causing it. It is understanding the textbooks which Filipnos obviously appears is lacking. Or, they may not be lacking of understanding but the lacking of understanding that ethics is over and above permanency in their employment and money.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, three stages of progress acts:
      (1) Reading and studying
      (2) Comprehending then planning appropriate (sometimes innovative) acts
      (3) Acting professionally, productively and ethically

      The educational system appears to focus on (1). The media barely get into (1).

  3. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    “The Philippines is too busy fighting Filipinos” – Joe
    This is what Philippine journalism is all about. Philippine journalists pit Filipino against each other because it is news and goot news is bad news, bad news increase readership, goot for bottom line that afford imported wines.

    Lookit, Zimmerman and Trayvvon. I just knew after the decision was rendered that Zimmerman was not white after all!!! He is hispanic with white last name. That is how the American Media painted the picture. WHITE AGAINST BLACK! The languishing smokestack media is in need of a riot. The media pit the whites against the black, black against white! Now the major newspapers are abuzz with ka-ching! NYTimes is sold out even before it hit my screet corner newspaperman.

    American media has learned to pit americans against americans! That is how the media earns money, demagoguery.

    • Joe America says:

      So true. American media stewardship has also drifted toward sensationalism and conflict, as has politics. One feeds the others. And it is for sure Americans are becoming America’s worst enemy, with the bitter partisanship.

      Good balancing observation.

  4. JM says:

    I don’t watch Filipino shows. When I get home, I only watch foreign series (i.e. Game of thrones, etc.) because they are more entertaining and does not revolve on one repetitive story (i.e. starts of as poor, gets maltreated, then finds out he/she finds out that he/she will inherit a fortune, gets revenge on his/her enemies, happy ending). It’s really stupid. At the office, before I start working, I read the news from yahoo Philippines and your blog.

    I really can’t judge the people living with the NPA as to why they don’t fight since I lived all my life in a city/village filled with security personnel. I agree with you that these are thugs and should be eliminated but it requires a lot of money and public support especially from Metro Manila. Even if they kill people outside Metro Manila, it affects us very little. It’s sad but what can we do? We spend most of our time working. They are a little more than an annoyance since we don’t personally know the people they are harming, and they are not affecting our lives in general and that’s the sad truth of it. We are more or less a broken people. Maybe if the media showed the people suffering, make us understand that they are a part of our society, it may touch a portion of the population but as you mentioned, that’s currently not happening. However, if the NPAs started blowing up the power plants here, that would be a very different story. Everybody here would get pissed. All of us would want them to be eradicated.

    • Joe America says:

      I think that is the missing element in Mindanao, trying to make it popularly known that the gangsters mainly hurt those close, and those dear, by ensuring they will live with gross insecurity as well as poverty. It’s tough because poverty drives the angers that fuel the destructive acts. But that poverty can’t be cured until there is relative peace. The NPA was foolish to be so demanding at the negotiating table.

  5. edgar lores says:

    1. In the Philippines, journalism is either a lucrative profession or a dangerous one.

    1.1. If you are a credited journalist and attached to one of the shady government offices – like the Bureau of Customs – one can live like a prince without even putting pen to paper or, in these modern times, keyboard strokes to screen.

    1.2. If one is a radio journalist and voice criticism of a seating corrupt politician, one can be the unexpected recipient of a small metal object propelled somehow from a passing motorcycle-riding assassin.

    1.3. If one is a TV journalist, one can be abducted by Muslim terrorists, fed nothing but noodles for days on end, and released for a princely ransom of 20M pesos. Or a peanut ransom of 100K pesos which, to tell the truth, is a bit insulting.

    2. To be fair, there are journalists who honor their profession.

    2.1. For one, there are the Rapplers and for another there are the… ah, umm, er. 😦 Ahah! Yes, the PDI investigators who broke the story of the 10B peso pork-barrel scam through their exhaustive investigative effort of listening to a whistle-blower. Pulitzer stuff, really.

    3. As for the parade of stars, have you heard that Toni and Piolo are reuniting to light up the silver screen? I can hardly contain my excitement!

    • Joe America says:

      1. Is a very important balancing perspective as well, as to why there are not more journalists out working important stories in the combat zones.

      2. is also important. I should have noted that opinion commentary in the daily newspapers such as the Inquirer is superb. Different perspectives. Well written. Intelligent.

      Ahahahaha. Piolo was my first favorite “star” in the Philippines, as my newly minted wife was wrapped up in some series about wolves turning into people and vice versa. He was one of the stars. My son is more handsome than Piolo. I’ve got to get him a photo portfolio. He can skip the attorney or doctor bit and just ride on his pizzazz. When in Rome or the Philippines, do as the winners do . . .

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Yeah, Ed, pulitzer stuff from Philippine journalists are mostly witness accounts, affidavit-of-guilts, whistle-blowing eng-gets. No forensics. No evidences. Just witness accounts. Witness accounts are their evidences and Witness accounters have to fend for themselves. Rappler cannot handle the truth. They are afraid of the truth. They need a whistle blower to point the finger to so when it goes down they blame the whistle blower. Of course, Rappler act the way they do beause they are Filipinos. Filipinos do not change until the person next to them changes which also wait for the next Filipino to change … and on and on. Change in the Philippines is a waiting game. And change has to be synchronized.

      • Joe America says:

        Interesting observation, the drag hereabouts that slows change. Makes sense from what I observe. Like mainstream retail businesses still pushing paper and pen instead of keyboards.

  6. Shallow indeed. The prime time news rarely features sharp political, economic, and socio-cultural analysis of relevant current events. When they do, it’s usually minimal and lacks substantial airtime. Most of the time, prime time news shows the details of gruesome, individual or family-related crimes, which should be left to the investigators, and the emotional response of the victims’ families. It’s like a soap opera or made into a soap opera by their coverage. They want the masses of Filipinos to only feel and avoid critical thinking; it should be a balance combination of the two.

    I’m interested in your views about the TV shows or movies in the Philippines if you haven’t done a blog on that topic. Even though there are fresh ones like My Husband’s Lover (i don’t watch it but I know because of the reaction of people around me and on the net ) and Be Careful (you know Ser Chief), which break the typical soap opera template, and the classic Eat Bulaga, majority are still your typical poor-gets-rich story and the like.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, you characterize the news perfectly. I’m afraid I don’t know enough, or watch enough, regarding tv dramas and movies to write a blog about it. I do find some of the drama quite good – tense and interesting to figure out what will happen next -and the actors do wonderful work. How do they make tears run like that? They remind me of soaps in the U.S., and when I studied that in college I know it was very hard work doing the acting because the cast was memorizing lines almost overnight and shooting but one or two shots the next day. I don’t like all the weeping and screaming in the shows, and constantly ask my wife how she can bring that much agony into her life? Can’t she find enough in “real time”? (She just scowls at me.) There seems to be little variety, and I’d categorize them akin to “airplane novels”, simple but filling needed space.

      I do like the old Fernando Poe movies. Rather rough cut but lots of action, and I style myself in that steely good-guy bad-guy style when I want to impress my wife. 🙂

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      The TV network and business news broadsheets are just pathetic ignorants. They write business news pieces as if Filipinos are bunch of Harvard Wharton Economic Graduates!!! These so-called journalists on business beats do not know how to write to make their literally pieces understandable to my neighboorhood chop shop owner. As you very well know, Filipinos love using deep and Google-dygook words. Most of all business beats are bunch of two-legged parrots. I do not watch local TV because I do not have television. Television is soooooo 90s most of all there is nothing in Philippine television but empty bubble heads.

  7. edgar lores says:

    4. The other aspect mentioned in the essay is the political or ideological bent of media. How free is the Philippine Press?

    4.1. I may be insensitive but I have not detected a bias towards left or right, or for and against any political entities.
    4.2. To be sure, there are exceptions like The Daily Tribune and The Manila Standard which are rabidly anti-PNoy at least the last time I looked.
    4.3. Mostly it is the columnists who show political/ideological bias and this is something to be thankful for. At least, you know which ranters to avoid.
    4.4. Here in Oz, the Murdoch Press is openly anti-Labor Party and pro-conservative like Fox in the US.

    • Joe America says:

      Keen observations. I must admit that when I arrived in the Philippines a few years ago, I was surprised . . . nay, shocked . . . at how open and frank the journalism commentary is. I imagined it would be a high-control place, uptight and constrained, but commentary is open and vibrant and balanced. That speaks optimistically for the way government processes and social values are likely to develop.

      News reporting, however, is a different matter. . .

  8. andrew lim says:

    In the last senatorial elections: an error occurred when the transparency server started reporting numbers larger than the number of votes canvassed.

    I fell from my chair when the on-air commentator said this was impossible, since if you add up all the candidates’ votes, it would exceed the total number of registered voters.

    In SF, one TV station reported the names of the downed Asiana plane as Sum Ting Wong, We Too Low, Bang Ding Ow and Ho Lee Fuk. With a straight face. 🙂

    Most reporters have backgrounds in journalism and social sciences, but weak in the hard sciences and lack sharp analytical tools.

    But there are quality news reporting in my opinion: Solar Channel (16) skips the showbiz mentality of GMA and ABS CBN. You have a number of investigative news programs, which go more in-depth, though these are shown late at night. And you have pretty good current events talk shows as well.

    I wish I can find online two good essays by Leloy Claudio which appeared on Rogue magazine recently. In one essay he laments the death of the intellectual that come from the ranks of high society, Remember the philosopher king of yore? Much of today’s economic elite have become pedestrian, according to him. Preferring the easy way out, too many of them are too intellectually lazy.

    Today’s public intellectuals come from the middle class, like Randy David. Not that it’s bad, but when intellectuals come from the rich, then the chances of having a fourth estate that is intellectually competent goes up. They are the ones who can found news agencies and newspapers.

    In the other essay he argues for an ideologically bent press, and let the public choose. No more attempts at objectivity. Sort of a Fox News or Wall Street Journal, versus CNN or New York Times. They even endorse presidential candidates, c’mon.

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the notation on Solar Channel (16).

      The Claudio essays do sound intriguing. The intellectual has indeed died. One of my daughters in the U.S. is one, Cum Laude graduate in English from UCLA, can speak Greek, translate Latin, and write Shakespearean poetry better than the old man himself. Sharp, sharp lady. But there is no future, no money in being intellectual. She is working at a popular retail bookstore selling tablet readers.

      The entire American nation is dumbing down as near as I can tell, judging from the wild eyed partisan dedication to narrow tea party or liberal ideologies, with no capacity to discuss and find compromise.

      It’s a shame.

      Having a variety of different ideological views is perhaps one way to find balance and the intelligence that can arise out of argument. The only trouble is, it seems to produce anger and bitterness and tear people apart rather than unite them.

      And then there are the guns . . .

      We are but a step away from returning to stone age barbarianism.

    • i don’t think it’s about the dumbing down elite. I interpreted that you defined intellectual as someone who is well-verse in philosophy, social commentary, ethics and related disciplines.

      Most educated, smart heirs prefer the business/finance route than the liberal arts, social science and philosophy because the former promises MUCH more Ca$h. The problem arises when they invest in media outlets and run it as a pure profit-making machine; they have to resort to sensationalism both in the (Phls. and the US) and party-bias (case in the US)

      • Joe America says:

        Yes, my definition of intellectual is as you have said, and within those disciplines to have the capacity to reflect as Edgar Lores does here on the deeper, truer meanings of what we do. I see America in general as having gone through a great dumbing down of that kind of intellectual grasp of issues and ability to comprehend others who think differently and meld it into harmonious acts. Instead we have partisan hardheadedness. In the U.S., most politicians are lawyers and businesses are run by finance people joined with lawyers. Philosophy and harmony are set aside in favor of practical advantage. They are geniuses at what they do. But it does not promote a lot of harmony.

  9. JosephIvo says:

    I feel very uncomfortable viewing or reading Philippine media because I often have the uneasy feel that this is one of the more corrupt sections of society. Why? I see product placement everywhere, even in news casts. I read of stories of a journalist black mailing bars and when that doesn’t work blackmailing prosecutors to raid the bar and when they get in trouble because their conversation was recorded, they get rescued by the journalist association… . For the right price a journalist will write whatever you want. And yes there are some exceptions, as there are in the judiciary and in the police.

    On the other hand I feel uncomfortable because journalists get killed, again and again. One of the most dangerous place in the world for journalists. All in total impunity. You have to be a fool to report anything unwanted by the powerful. Shadow boxing seems the only way out to get newspapers filled.

    I don’t like (too much) emo, emo troubles the view, but emo is the core of every news piece, not facts, not analysis, not a balanced opinion. Because emo sells as discussed in a previous blog.

    Let’s wait for the Sona and hope we can smile again.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, that is the state of things. I absolutely want to scream when the mainstream news goes to a report on one of the network’s drama stars during the evening news. Does it reflect the popular taste, or shape it? When Christina Reyes is stuck in her flooded home and that leads off the news report on killer floods which are endangering millions, what are we to think?

      I don’t sense Filipinos turning off the dial at such pandering coverage. Rather, they lap it up.

      How does one get to point A from the existing point B? No one, absolutely no one demands that media be regulated. I would like to suggest ways to get better, to ensure honorable, objective, meaningful news reporting, but don’t know how to get there from here.

  10. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    What I am missing from the Philippine Media is Kate Middleton’s early stages of labor a moment ago; how they do it to conceive or pleasure themselves like commoners like us do it or do they have a Royal way of doing it? I cannot believe the American media is feeding what the media calls “Royal Frenzy” when in fact they are the ones creating the frenzy on slow uneventful days as news filler. THANK GOOTNESS Zimmerman-Trayvon is over now we will be inundated of Princess Kate! Princess Kate! Princess Kate! stop it already!!!! This kind of Royal news belongs to Inquirer tabloid and People magazine read at beauty salon.

    • Joe America says:

      Titillation is not a province solely of the Philippines it seems. My impression: Kate is not Diana. Kate is a very nice royal housewife, Diana was a princess.

      • Lil says:

        bleah can’t frigging understand a word out of Duke William’s mouth 😯 maybe if someone spoke in a John Wayne accent:lol:

        • Joe America says:

          Ahahahaha. Yes, it is that stiff upper lip and elevated tilt of the speaking orifice that gets in the way of good articulation. Still, I like the guy. I’m sure he is a happy fellow right now.

  11. manuel buencamino says:

    interesting article on the American press by Helen Thomas in Longreads.com http://www.thenation.com/article/lap-dogs-press?page=full&src=longreads#axzz2ZbXJU2gd

    • Joe America says:

      That is an interesting article, written in 2006, with the benefit of three-years of hindsight. It is also interesting that the presidential spokesman she cites, Scott McClellan, later resigned and wrote a scathing attack on the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld deceits. The Press were lapdogs to the president, but a president who was feeding them deceits.

  12. manuel buencamino says:

    Sex and violence is what drives media. Here and in the US. The press is the most corrupt institution. Here and in the US. Biggest media outlets are part of conglomerates so there is no room for independent reporting and analysis. Here and in the US. Read between the lines, know where the reporter or opinion columnist is coming from. That’s the only way to read the news. Here and in the US.

    • Joe America says:

      That’s true, but again, the issue is not the United States. It is what can be done to get better information to the Philippine public so that the public is engaged with real issues and not dealing with superficiality and shallow inquiry. The U.S. is dumbing down, agreed. So let’s smarten the Philippines up. The news reporting here is very, very weak.

      • Joe America says:

        p.s., I don’t think U.S. press is “corrupt”. I only know about the Philippine press what you and others tell me, that it is corrupt.

      • manuel buencamino says:

        Joe, if a muslim fundamentalist from Afghanistan were to go to America and starts criticizing your country and its people you are not going to allow him to say, “but the issue is America and not where I come from.” In short, you are not a disembodied voice spouting universal truths. You are someone who grew up in America spouting American truths, just like the muslim fundamentalist from Afghanistan. Whenever I point out something about your country it is because I want to put your insights in their proper context.

        • Joe America says:

          Well, I’d say that when I first arrived that is definitely true, but it is less true today, and I don’t like being pigeon-holed as anything but an individual with a distinct background, more internationally shaped than most.

          And Muslim fundamentalists DO effectively say that the issue is America, and they are welcome to do so as long as they don’t threaten violence or plan to undertake it.

  13. patrioticflip says:

    Joe, I know you’re trying to make a point about sensationalist reporting. But I MUST know what you feel about this little lady. (Her mother was behind the fertilizer fund scam as well)

    http://totocausing.blogspot.com/2013/07/meet-girl-in-extremely-costly.html

    Or what about the beloved CBCP and their… billions in wealth.

    http://www.damasotimes.com/1/post/2013/05/cbcp-now-owns-40-billion-pesos-in-stock-market.html

    Is this country, as PNoy said, a different country? Or is this country headed to new depths of depravity?

    -patrioticflip

    • Joe America says:

      You know, PF, both of those stories are very strident and I don’t know what to think about the facts they present. Does the lady’s daughter flaunt her wealth? Appears so. Does the Catholic Church of the Philippines have 40 billion pesos of stock? I don’t know. The Causing blog is a little too rough for my taste, actually. I already have a low regard for the CBCP, so the stock holdings don’t change my mind on anything.

      I think there are extreme personalities and institutions everywhere, including the United States. The NRA gun lobby and the Tea Party to me are both extremist organizations. These links show two weird cases in the Philippines. They don’t really reflect the mainstream Philippine, though. Well, the CBCP gets fairly mainstream I suppose, as does the Tea Party in the U.S. But I’m not inclined to go to a hair-pulling mode.

  14. Killer says:

    Ironically enough, a contributing factor to the horrendous state PH media is in is its failed attempt to mimic US mainstream media. It fails on two accounts: 1) determining what to mimic and 2) making do with an unbelievably inferior product (all the more depressing when you consider the quality of the “template”).

    Don’t get me started on De Castro and Enriquez…

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