Ahahaha, those Inquirer “journalists” are a piece of work


Franz Kafka

First, condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc (June 28, 1941 – December 24, 2015), an icon of courage and journalistic integrity. The nation is somehow a little emptier with her passing.

This article has little to do with her, but is about the content of the paper she left behind, and about standards of journalistic integrity that I would hope she would . . . if not agree with . . . at least be sympathetic to, as it pertains to our right to have an opinion about it.

The Inquirer keeps on writing, and if they do a really bad job, bloggers must keep on blogging. We are a watch-dog of the fourth-estate, a check and a balance . . . and you, as potential commenters here, have the right to check and balance what we say, if you disagree. That’s what the comment box below the article is for.


The Inquirer ran an article on January 1st that reported on the speech Mar Roxas gave citing his accomplishments. Here’s the Inquirer headline, which fairly represents the content of the article that reports mainly that Roxas did not speak about Mamasapano.


In message, Roxas looks back but omits ‘detail’


Ahahahaha, I almost got a hernia laughing. Tears to my eyes.

That is Kafkaesque journalism at its best.


Here’s the best short description I could find of this popular term, which is much debated because Kafka meant so many things to different people. From the Urban Dictionary:

Kafkaesque: Comes from the author Franz Kafka, and refers to the style with which he wrote his books (which in his dying wish asked for to be burned). Basically it describes a nightmarish situation which most people can somehow relate to, although strongly surreal. With an ethereal, “evil”, omnipotent power floating just beyond the senses.

The writer of this article is DJ Yap. I wonder if he/she went to journalism school at UP. Mariano would want to know. I mean, Yap writes an article that mainly deals with WHAT WAS NOT SAID.

Ahahahaha. Do you see how funny this is, how frightening, how absurd, to do a news report about what you make up yourself, as a journalist, because the person you are writing about DID NOT SAY IT. A news report about nothing at all, essentially, because what Mar Roxas DID NOT TALK ABOUT was legion. He did not talk about the Bible or New York City or the turtles being poached by China or his wife Korina or the journalist’s favorite television show or Al Dub.

So the “journalist” interjects what HE thinks Roxas should have spoken to, and does a NEWS report about it. Yessirree Bob, folks, it ran in the NEWS section, not the editorial section.

Is it not scary when journalists make things up, and that is the news we receive?

It’s like voters have no need to be educated about what Roxas claims as achievements . . . .

Rather, they should know WHAT HE LEFT OUT!

Ahahahahaha . . .

I laugh at these Filipino journalism ethics. They are an national ethics because EVERY MEDIA OUTLET here does this same thing. Journalists in the Philippines create a separate reality . . . THEIR REALITY . . . and a hundred million people live in it.

Unfortunately, my tears of hilarious disbelief pass through the Kafkaesque nightmare and turn soon to a great sadness . . . .

. . . sadness that these are the ethics that define for so many what their nation is . . . or is not.

IT IS what the journalists make up.

It is NOT what is factual and TRUE.


193 Responses to “Ahahaha, those Inquirer “journalists” are a piece of work”
  1. That is why I stopped my subscription to Inquirer

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, a lot of their stuff is good, especially columnists, but so much is just crazy bad and unethical, at least by Western standards. But not by Philippine standards.

  2. Ron Z says:

    Joe, do you find the journalistic ethics of Fox news any better? (and do you sometimes see yourself as a “Hunger Artist”)

  3. Ron Z says:

    Joe, I’ve been trying to figure out your avatar photo – looks like Cervantes as Don Quixote

  4. manuelbuencamino says:

    What was left unsaid is a common peg among “discerning” intellectuals, usually the position taken when facts cannot be debunked. DJ Yap should stick with spinning records

  5. Enna Alikpala says:

    I call them nitpicking journalists. There’s a lot of them at ABSCBN too.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, for sure. I was o high on CNN coming to the Philippines until I saw the news announcer positively gush about Senator Poe. “Whoa, is he in love?” I remember thinking.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        You said : I saw the news announcer positively gush about Senator Poe. “Whoa, is he in love?””
        I want to make an outsiders comment on this…issue of Roxas & Poe as presidential candidates..

        It is clear that you & others here favor Roxas because you think he has done an excellent job as the President’s right hand man for the past 6 years..And not been corrupt or incompetent. You think that the Philippines has benefited greatly as a consequence and want this cycle of progress to continue..Is that a fair quick summary ?

        It’s also clear that you & others here think Poe is naive and inexperienced and being used by others ( trapos like Esqudero ) to destroy Roxas’s chances of succeeding Aquino as President in May..

        However having now watched both these persons on TV, on Youtube, present themselves and their programs to the Philippino people, there is an aspect being missed but which is hinted at by your comment above.

        One of the really interesting aspects of modern politics is that people want to be inspired by the light on the hill, by the dream, that life can get better !! ( Think JFK; Think Whitlam in Oz; Think Trudeau in Canada )

        I think that Mar simply does not inspire most Philippino people..He is sure & steady & pedestrian in character and will I think try to be an honest, competent President if elected.

        By contrast look hard at how Poe came across when she announced her bid to be president.She oozes charisma Joe; she came across as inspiring to me even though I do not speak Tagalog..I think she has tapped in to that desire in all of us to be inspired, and to dream of a better future.. Maybe this is what you saw as “love” in your comment above.

        I make no comment about her abilities as a future president..I simply do not know.. But this inspiration dimension needs to be recognised.

        Bill in Oz

        • Mike says:

          73% of the Filipino population is 39 years old and below. That’s young. It may augur well for the potential progress of the country but it has some vulnerabilities too. Millenials are mostly a by-product of their close affinity to social media and the internet as a whole. As a result they tend to be self-absorbed and impatient, easily dissatisfied with their circumstances. Because of their youth, they lack the memory of how things as they are came to be in this country. How do you think Marcos Jr. became a senator, his sister is governor and his mother a congresswoman, and now the former wants to run for vice-president. A short while back in one of Joe’s articles, he wrote about something I already had been observing for awhile; that most Filipinos desire change for the sake of change itself.

          I’ve been watching Ms. Poe closely too. She uses a lot of motherhood statements which satisfies people’s need to feel good and connects it with her image but it’s not followed up by specific plans, programs or ideas. She talks about things spoken of by Roxas and things which are already being done by the current administration.

          Bubbling brooks are lively and make noise but they’re shallow. Oceans are still and quiet because they’re deep. I find Ms. Poe characterized by the former and Roxas by the latter.

          Is it possible that the Filipino people themselves are flawed in their perception and conclusions?

          Roxas may be inscrutable because of his depth; seemingly disconnected from the masses because of his stature and yet he has placed all of his training, expensive education and privilege at their service, uplifting the very people who may feel disconnected from him, yet they are benefitting from everything he’s done, possibly even that journalist whose intention seems to harm him.

          Generic medicines, cheaper vital medication, fairer distribution of the educational budget, tax exemption for minimum wage earners, job generation via the Public Employment Service Act, the BPO industry, financial assistance to small, medium and micro enterprises, employment for out of school youth and undergraduate students, to name a few of his actions.

          And that may be the point here, is it not? People have this need to be inspired but are blinded by their deeper need for change for its own sake, not seeing what they really need and what they already have: Someone who talks less and acts more in their interest.

          Apparently, for Filipinos, actions no longer speak louder than words.

          And if i can figure Filipinos out, so can Mar’s enemies. So they have created an image of him that many have fallen for, using the people’s weakness, to believe what they want them to believe.

          Just saying.

          • Mike says:

            P.S. If Roxas’ sole accomplishment was to spur and nurture the BPO industry’s growth, a sector which brought in almost 19 Billion Dollars to the economy in 2014 and is expected to exceed OFW remittances later in 2016, employs over a million people (and counting), rescued the real estate office property market, triggered a construction boom, boosted the food and transportation industry, and helped insulate the economy from the Chinese stock market meltdown, then it’s very arguable that none of the other presidentiables could hope to attain the same success. And this he did while he was DTI secretary.

            He’s already talking about a P100-Billion plan to alleviate poverty and how to do it.

            I’m sincerely curious what he can do if he were president.

        • Joe America says:

          The inspiration dimension is and has been widely recognized. That was like, Poe, Stage 1. Then came Poe, Stage 2 who made really strange decisions like pairing with the trapo Escudero, who largely is responsible for Binay being in office, and having a slate of senators who are just south of Mars. Stage 3 was the content behind the generalized 20 steps, presented in various economic forums or interviews, that left most informed people shaking their heads, for lack of any substance (solutions like running things through a “war room”, an idea that quickly disappeared in the ridicule that followed, or her unfortunate statements on INC and the BBL). Now we are in Stage 4 where she is dealing with the stresses of disqualification challenge and responding to them by blaming everyone else, except Binay. She has blamed Roxas, COMELEC, the Ombudsman . . . and accepted no accountability herself for the confusion.

          Roxas is indeed almost invisible. A part of this is his style, which is head down, working, and not worrying about the lunacy that is Philippine populist rhetoric in the news media. The other part is the envy or mistrust of him found in the media and popularly because he does not behave as other do. He does not play their games and so comes across as hoity toity. It is indeed a problem for him, and he will solve it, or he will not. And he will be elected, or he will not be.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Thanks Mike & Joe for your responses to my comment. I agree with all your remarks.

            I find myself reminded of an Australian former prime minister named John Howard ( PM from 1996 till 2017 ). A very uninspiring pedestrian steady hard working politician with zero charisma. But a good PM of Australia who acheived some very substantial changes for the good. ( One hugely important one was gun control.Now we do not have the mass shootings that Obama has failed to stop.)
            Howard was up against a very inspiring charismatic, brilliant ALP prime minister in 1996 named Paul Keating.But he manged to win that election forcing Keating’s retirement from politics.

            Maybe Mar needs to look at that to see how a hard working pedestrian politician can win in such circumstances.

            But I think he and the Aquino team ( and the other candidates like Binay & Duterte ) need to be very careful not to be identified as the mob that organised for POE to be excluded from the election by COMELEC.

            If that happened there will be a very significant proportion of the Philippino electorate who will be very disenchanted/angry at the outcome. Think women, think young people under 39’ers; think the arts community and the Gay & lesbian community; think her father’s older supporters from pre 2004. It would be very be very difficult for who-ever wins to govern effectively if Poe is excluded and no beaten if a fair & square election. ( And yes I know the SC has not yet spoken on this issue )

            Bill in Oz

        • manuelbuencamino says:

          @Bill in Oz

          When Grace began her quest to become senator three years ago, she introduced herself as Grace Poe Llamanzares.

          But she dropped Llamanzares faster than you can pronounce it when she learned that Llamanzares had no effect whatsoever on the public.

          As Grace Poe she topped the senatorial race. So is it her or her name that clicks with the public?

          Just recently I learned that Roxas, Binay, Duterte and Santiago petitioned the courts to change their last name to Poe.

        • I think JFK was not just a handsome guy who had charms and a lot of money. He also had substance.

          If I remember correctly he was a war hero (WWII). And he had won a pulitzer prize for ‘Profiles in Courage.’

          Not bad for a politician I would say.

  6. Ferdinand T. Manza says:

    How true!

  7. edgar lores says:

    1. Is the news slant deliberate negative propaganda?

    2. If it is, is it just the journalist?

    3. Is the editor in cahoots?

    4. Is the paper?

    • Joe America says:

      There is so much of what I would call corruption of principle, or just plain bad ethics, that I think the dirt comes from all those sources. A lot of it is personal, even bitterness, as we get at ABS-CBN from the talking heads there. Rather Ellen Tordesillas style journalism, where personal experience and bitterness becomes the message. Sometimes I suspect it is an editorial position, which is not unlike Fox news, USA. And I think journalists on the take are, if not common, certainly there. Truly, if we follow popular media, we are living a separate reality . . . which is why a crook or killer could actually become president. Citizens just don’t get INFORMATION that would help them understand the truth.

      • edgar lores says:

        1. At the level of the journalist, I would have to say that the slant is deliberate.

        1.1. Even if you don’t read the item and just skim the headline — as many would — any negative impression of Roxas is reinforced. There is a general insinuation, and the fact that the word “detail” is enclosed in single quotes heightens the negative reinforcement.

        1.2. If you read the item, the general insinuation becomes a specific charge, but the negative weight of it is considerable because it is detailed in the paragraph following the lead.

        1.3. The third paragraph some what alleviates the specific charge. Does this balance out the insinuation? I do not think so because (a) the charge has been made and (b) it has been given prominence.

        2. At the level of the editor, I have no idea whether blue penciling in papers is still practiced. I assume it still is.

        2.1. Granting the assumption, there are two possibilities. Either the editor is (a) in cahoots with the journalist or (b) he is following Inquirer’s editorial policy of fostering hard-hitting news and controversy in order to keep the paper the top choice.

        2.2. There is also the third possibility that both possibilities are true.

        3. At the level of the paper, the Inquirer has covered all presidential contenders with both positive and negative items. I have not read the items closely and cannot say whether they favor a particular candidate or not. However, columnists (Artermio) Panganiban and (Oscar) Tan have both expressed the view that the people should decide Poe’s fate; (Randy) David has been more circumspect and offered the opinion that “to pit vox populi against the Constitution is to court political instability.”

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, I’d agree with your assessment. The writer of the article, DJ Yap, seems to be among those who have caught the bitterness pill about Roxas and probably Aquino, too. So he/she clearly is not a Walter Cronkite kind of professional, but more the sensationalist kind. I can’t imagine any article being published without an editor’s okay, so editor(s) must find the content and slant worthwhile for the paper. As disturbing as that is, to those of us who expect more professionalism in journalism. The headline writer was compliant as well.

          I think the paper’s editorials have been reasonable and balanced, even if the President is a Romualdez. As long as the subject isn’t Yolanda or Tacloban, where reporting goes only one way. The paper also has a bug about the US and seems to interject frictions whenever possible.

        • butod says:

          I dunno about the insinuation part, that comes off as being rather sinister of motive that I don’t sense in the article.

          There’s a reason the idiom “the elephant in the room” exists. If an insinuation were made, the worst passed off was simply to “insinuate” that Mamasapano remains a difficult topic for Mar to even reference. The “silence” is a relevant observation for me in that sense. Is that necessarily a knock on Mar? I don’t see how. You don’t blame someone who was out of the loop all throughout.

          I’m sure his critics will find a way to spin the story against him, but that’s on them, not on the writer. .

          • edgar lores says:


            I specified and limited my reference to an “insinuation” only in the headline in the use of the term “detail”.

            Granted, the “detail” is explained in the body of the news item… but this would be missed by people just reading the headline.

            Thus, the headline constitutes negative reinforcement of bias against Roxas.

            Note: the “detail” has nothing to do with what is being reported. This is JoeAm’s point.

            The “knock on Mar” is that he was not in the loop when — per the implied logic of the “insinuation” — he should have been.

            • butod says:

              “The “knock on Mar” is that he was not in the loop when — per the implied logic of the “insinuation” — he should have been.”

              If at all, that makes it a knock more on Pnoy than on Mar, doesn’t it? I did a double take on the story, and came off it even more convinced that not only does it NOT blame Mar, but that it is generally sympathetic of him for getting excluded from the operation, especially by the grace with which he handled the blowback. Note the 3rd paragraph:

              “Instead, he took the brunt of the criticism hurled at President Aquino and assumed control of seeing to the needs of the slain policemen’s families.”

          • Joe America says:

            Thanks for your take on it. I view that the author missed the opportunity to give people the credentials of Mar Roxas, and instead went the sensationalist route to do what he has done for you . . . cast doubt on the credentials of Mar Roxas. His mission has been accomplished, and the reputation of Mar Roxas remains distorted by people’s titillation over an event he had nothing to do with. The only way he could satisfy people who wanted more, would have been to resign to show his tough ego. In which case, he would not be a candidate for President. I’m glad you found the article informative. I think it is unfortunate.

            • As always, it is nothing more than a case of a link bait. Ethical journalists should already be aware about the tendency of some folks to put meaning entirely on the headline itself. This tendency should all the more tilt the balance towards reporting that is truthful, the way the event being reported has occurred. Following this criterion, ethical journalist should be conscious right on the spot not to do something which would muddle issues. By this, the headline is no exception.

    • Mackie Cui says:

      My answer, if I may, is Yes to all except no. 2, which is No. Am I right?

  8. Peter Dupont says:

    As a foreign journalist, I see many blind angles in the reporting of The Inquirer. Lumads is one. Why didn’t the paper send an investigative reporter to Lianga (Surigao del Sur) to find out what really happened? Mining and environmental destruction are another. Why is there no serious effort at reporting the damage done by corporate mining? Why does no one write about the Pulangi V dam building and the marginalisation of the people living near the river? What about the near extinction of the Philippine Eagle or the freshwater crocodile? I can go on for hours. Investigative reporting is very limited. Journalists are supposed to weigh the words of the interviewees, not just copy bullshit and lies. Much of the editorial light shines on the political clans and their yammering and pseudo-warring. A political show of the super rich that draws away the attention from the pressing issues that take the Philippines hostage. I traveled extensively through Mindanao, Luzon and part of the Visayas. The news falls in your lap if you really want too. But I rarely read about it in the Inquirer. I guess fear is also an element. One DI-journalist I met, though, has everything it takes to make a difference. Melvin Gascon up North is an example for all his colleagues.

    • Joe America says:

      I think the current ethical foundation is based on the same thing as political parties, the personalities and drama their conflicts generate. There is so much dirt lying about that the papers have gotten lazy or blind to the journalistic riches that can come from reporting information, factually. There is also a financial pragmatism to it, that they can hire a lot of people really really cheap and have them cramming news into the paper as filler to surround the advertisements, which is really what they are peddling. They don’t really care that much about the content, as long as it has a little sizzle. There is no sense of ACCOUNTABILITY for the literate capacity of the Filipino. Or the ability to think critically. Newspaper editors are in business, and it is a dying business.

    • j. forreaux says:

      this is something that we Mindanaoans have been disgusted with for ages. nothing that’s really worth sharing is being shared on national tv. I blame the national media for the discrimination that people in Mindanao continue to face whenever we travel to the country’s capital.

      • sonny says:

        This is lamentably true and goes the other way too. The Manila newspapers as I remember (since 1958) do not report adequately on essential interest items from Luz-Vi-Minda, I feel. This has to change if we are to be one nation and country.

      • Joe America says:

        That’s most interesting, j. How do you experience that discrimination? I’ve never thought of it in such stark terms, like racism. I do think neglect has been the nation’s attitude toward Mindanao, which is rather bizarre to me, considering the natural riches there.

        • j. forreaux says:

          my father has always lamented the fact that every single development plan for Mindanao was scrapped by Luzon-based lawmakers in the past. He told me that there were plans to build a railway that connects Mindanao to Visayas. But then this was vetoed and the funds were instead used to build something else in Luzon. with regard to discrimination Joe, I’ve repeatedly been asked if I am a member of the Abu Sayyaf by every single co-worker. this was especially true when I was still new to Manila, back in 2006. my accent was also mocked often. I couldn’t blame them for the question though because the only thing in the news abt Mindanao back then was that terrorist group. I was more bothered by the way that the question was asked.

      • Mami Kawada Lover says:

        For what it’s worth, at least the Bulletin has sections dedicated to news from the Visayas and Mindanao. They could do better, though. Somehow I also feel that Duterte’s rise despite his “accomplishments” appearing to be questionable once you do your research can also be attributed to this lack of coverage of the periphery. Maybe if more objective reporting came from Mindanao about what’s really happening there then more people would have thumbed their noses on him a long time ago.

  9. Diane cacho says:

    I have long ago come to the conclusion that if i seek to find the truth, i will not go looking for it in the inquirer

  10. Ron Z says:

    Joe, I would be interested in hearing your assessment of Fox News and how it fits in this discussion of ethics. You seem to say that news outlets in America have a higher standard. I’m not so sure about that.

    • Joe America says:

      The breadth of resources in America is much greater, media are regulated through the FCC and required to do public interest programming and make good use of publicly owned broadcast frequencies, and ethical standards are generally higher. News is news, in the main, and not opinion, and not phrased to generate conflict. Fox has a conservative slant, as some other outlets tend toward the liberal. The partisanship that is infesting American politics spills over into the media, or is fueled by it . . . I’m not sure which is which. The media sponsor debates between the candidates which provide excellent insights into people and their platforms. Journalism has much more ethical bearing in the US, I think, although it is not perfect. Nor is politics.

      But even if US media were busy creating new realities, like the Philippines, I would be writing about the deficit of Philippine journalism. That’s the subject arena. Not US problems and failings.

    • sonny says:

      Offhand, I’d say that this conclusion had finally left the train station. For me anyway. For the news it is strictly, caveat emptor. That’s why I gravitate to history rather than journalism. One can better establish a pathology with the former.

      • sonny says:

        Thanks for the definition, Joe. The term has been chronically the big pink elephant in my register of information. 🙂

        • Joe America says:

          I had always attached the definition of “absurd” to Kafka’s writing, but the definition is much deeper and richer than that, with the sense of foreboding or evil lurking in the shadows. Well, that is absolutely perfect for a style of journalism that has killers and thieves in the wings waiting to assume the presidency, given strength by the surreal and untruthful portrayal of things we find in media.

          • sonny says:

            Reading the definition in the context of your piece really brought the meaning home. Getting the atomic denotation from the dictionary does not give a full dimension.

          • Kafka lived in the Austro-Hungarian empire, run by the very same Habsburgs that once ruled Spain and conquered the Philippines – Europe’s most pernicious political dynasty. King Philipp II via Schiller’s Don Carlos play was the role model for Darth Vader himself.

            The second worst European political dynasty I think were the French Bourbons, who ruled Spain AFTER the Habsburgs did. So Romanians just had Dracula, Filipinos had worse.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Fox is owned by Rupert Murdoch the former Australian newspaper magnate, now global media empire owner wit at least 3 citizenships… It reflects his extremely conservative take on the world.

      Bill in Oz

  11. inquirercet says:

    From what I know the headlines are decided by the editors. Was the article leaning towards the spirit of the headline Joe? Anyway, I agree with the overall sentiment of your blog.

  12. NHerrera says:


    When following politically-related broadsheet news or online equivalents, a procedure such as the following may be useful:

    1. Presidential Candidate A was at X on Date Y. He said Z1, Z2, Z3 about S1, S2, S3.

    2. One may take with 70 percent or more credibility, depending on one’s gut feeling, that A was indeed at X on Date Y.

    3. However, unless there are confirming facts, Z1, … , S3 should be regarded as suspect or with a large dose of salt, as well as whether there are relevant items left out.

    4. Etc.

    Then most of one’s precious time and sanity are preserved. Unless one enjoys Kafkaesque journalism.

  13. Jov Quio says:

    Most Filipinos professional journalism ethics are gone to the point of trying to write even the news items as 3 dimensional in a 2 dimensional sheet. Most are trying to cover it in 360° angles. They use such methodologies even in TV and radio broadcasts. One reason I never tuned in for Philippines radio stations in my DAB as I find it all junks or out of ethical standards.
    As I see it, all started after Marcos regime was toppled. As during his reign we used to the media embargo strategies in herding the populace to believe in all what the government says.

  14. Jeps says:

    Happy new year everyone! Very right-on Joe. Even yesterday’s fires from the merry-making, PDI finds a way to insert “Mar” in the headline haha.

    Jan 01, 2016
    By: Tetch Torres-Tupas

    Fires mar Metro’s New Year celebration

    Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/#ixzz3w0BNyOwN
    Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

    • Joe America says:

      Weird headline, I agree. It has this peculiar personal emotionalism and unstated message attached, just like the one I cited. That quality works both ways, whether for or against Roxas. A judgmentalness or add-on of intrigue or touches of envy. It’s peculiar to me, but I’d guess it is normal for most Filipinos, who seem to my western eyes to wobble between sense and superstition and overlay of mistrust almost naturally.

      Happy new year to you, jeps.

    • edgar lores says:

      Thanks for my first belly laugh of the morning!

  15. andrewlim8 says:

    Thanks for this Joe. My views:

    1. PDI editors’ interpretation of the value of “fearless news and balanced views” mixes editorials with news reports. Every reporter is an opinion writer and vice versa.

    So they can claim “balanced views” because they have reporter A who writes against this, reporter B who writes against the other, etc. “Balanced views” extends into the news reports, even the front page! 🙂

    2. It would be good if the papers have a list of their reporters with their bios, so readers can assess their qualifications themselves and base their decision on to read their work or not. Number of years on the job, previous article series, etc.

    3. It was interesting to note that Letty Jimenez Magsanoc’s sister was Inday Badiday who was the country’s eminent entertainment gossiper in her time. Customary for people to view them as polar opposites in their fields but come to think of it, they probably knew they were flipsides of the other.

    Breaking news can be seen as being first to tell the “chismis” or the story.

    • Joe America says:

      Wow, that fits so well, andrew. That explains so much. In a way, that style of reporting, although it represents violations of Western ethical ideals for journalism, is consistent with Philippine cultural traits, personality based with lots of unstated emotionalism behind the words. Unfortunately, it is a style of engagement that does not foster sense or solution, but is great for entertainment and gossip. Until the murdering begins . . .

    • I still think that their “fearless news” should be in the NEWS SECTION of the paper and their “balanced views” should be in their OPINION SECTION.

      When it is Mar on the headline, I can’t help but think that their boss is a Romualdez, notwithstanding the face saving paragraph or two at the end. Most people don’t have the time to read the whole news item, they just glance at the headline, read the first 2 sentences and presto, a conclusion is arrived at and here comes the survey staff members, or the keyboard waiting to be used to ridicule the poor guy.

      It’s no wonder that the truly worthy candidate is lagging behind in the surveys, with the knd of manipulations coming from most of our media.

  16. ElementaryGraduate says:

    Inquirer should change its name to Intriguer. It’s fueled by ads, more visitors arguing = more page views = more conversions to $$$.

    But it’s still one of the best places to save PH via the comment section.

    Happy new year, to all.

    Thank you to all for educating me, more power JoAm.

    • Joe America says:

      Thank you, Elementary Graduate. Wonderful screen name. Seems they taught good insight at your school. 🙂

      • edgar lores says:

        At first glance, one thinks, “Ah, he/she is just a graduate of elementary school (Grade/Year 6).”

        Then on reflection, one thinks “Ah, no, elementary refers to the essential non-decomposable elements.”

        Finally looking at the logic of the comment, one has to say in admiration, “Elementary, my dear Watson.”

      • lester Johnson says:

        And here’s another one: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/752013/2-senators-hope-for-better-kind-govt-in-2016

        The article STARTED WITH “They may belong to rival political camps but both Senators Grace Poe and Nancy Binay hope that the succeeding administration will be a better and kind-hearted one” and ENDED WITH “Meanwhile, President Aquino spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day at the presidential Mansion, his last yuletide holiday in Baguio City as President.”


        AND They know that people will compare the 2 senators and of course Poe will outshine Nancy in every aspect. And Tadah! Instant Good Image!

        That’s how PDI play with their visitors’ subconscious.

        PDI journalists are experts in mind-conditioning and subliminal advertising.

  17. Harv says:

    Turned to page 2 today and the top story doesn’t even need to exist.

    • Joe America says:

      I don’t have a paper so I don’t know what that story is about. I do note the page 1 story about Pope Francis urging media to report the positive things that are happening. “Like”

  18. Mami Kawada Lover says:

    So the usually competent and enlightening Peter Wallace, in his column the other day, said that for sympathetic reasons Poe and Duterte should be allowed to run. He even dismissed Dino’s COC “error” as an honest mistake, which I find nonsensical given that Dino had many opportunities to correct his “error”, and the fact that he could have very easily avoided it all. I’m aware that Wallace has praised Duterte a few times before but nevertheless I can’t help but feel disappointed with what he said. He’s usually better than that. Maybe Duterte fan Mon Tulfo is getting to him.

    Yes the Inquirer’s standards are rather mediocre (they never replied to my mail about their incompetent use of anonymous sources, for example), but compared to the alternatives (Star, Bulletin, Standard, Times, Tribune, etc.), it’s still at least tries to be competent. As they say, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

    To be frank Joe, somehow I feel that your view towards the Inquirer would be a lot different if Inquirer praised Mar rather than criticized him, even if their editorial standards were otherwise the same.

    • Joe America says:

      Re last para, it depends on whether or not they are goring other oxen that I am fond of. They also tend toward pushing conflict with the US, as I have written about before. And when they give the worst possible photo of the President in writing about Mamasapano, or put a photo of him at a gala event above a headline dealing with tragedy, I find the portrayal damaging to Philippine well-being. So, really, my issue is broader than Roxas. It is when they are (in my opinion) undermining the best interest of the Philippines.

      As for Peter Wallace, be sure to catch my article on the 7th. He’s become a gameplayer, I think. He is NOT an objective analyst.

      • Mami Kawada Lover says:

        Given even he has been on the decline lately, I guess Inquirer’s only true objective columnist is now Monsod. I’m really disturbed by her being openly pro-Roxas these days, though. Liked her better when she wasn’t supporting any candidate and was objective towards anyone. The other columnists tend to be objective too (such as David) but I feel that they are too pro-Roxas to be truly objective.

        Also, if your opinion the Inquirer is bad, try reading the Star, particularly their columns. They’re so bad (and lately become so pro-Duterte) that you’d be wishing to get the latest copy of Inquirer. Or logging in to Rappler.

        • Joe America says:

          Regarding Monsod, if she looks around and sees a thief, a killer, a shallow opportunist, and a terminally ill woman as presidential candidates running against an experienced, earnest candidate (with tolerable imperfections), why would you expect her to deny saying what she thinks is best for the Philippines? It’s the box you also put me in, presuming “bias” to be bad, when I think Roxas is seriously the best candidate among the available choices. I think it is a no-brainer, and I’m astounded that 30% of the population will go for the thief or the shallow opportunist or the murderer. It’s like surreal to the max. Of course, so is Pacquiao as senator, and he has moved up in popularity for senator the past quarter, going from 30% to 37% and ranking in the top senatorial prospects. So just ignore us, Ms. Monsod and me, as extremists, I suppose.

          I pick on the Inquirer because I want the Philippines to have one world-class newspaper, and they are closest. The rest of the trash is pretty much hopeless, with an exception here and there, mainly in the business sections.

          • Mami Kawada Lover says:

            Oh, so you pick on the Inquirer precisely because they are the “best”. Weird how I’ve been here for more or less a year and yet I’ve never realized that.

            As for Pacquiao, I’m very surprised and very disturbed that he has a good chance of winning. I like him as a boxer but I guess the money got to him. I’m worried bot for him and for the people of the country. There’s something very wrong with society if people are wiling to vote for someone who they know was the top absentee in Congress.

      • caliphman says:

        Joe, my friend and sometime argument opponent, thats like calling the kettle black. You are biased for Mar and openly admit it here so I do not understand the fuss if Wallace favors a candidate too in his opinion pieces. OpEd pieces have as its main intent the advocacy of a point of view or conclusion or someone’s candidacy which is why it should be clearly identified as such so readers know it is not presented as a news report. When it is the other way around and the reporting of news is edited to form or influence opinions, then there is a huge problem. I should say though that while PDI is guilty of the latter at times, compared to the other papers, they don’t feel as much. That just my opinion.

        • Joe America says:

          Point of clarification. I am biased for the Philippines and believe Mar Roxas would serve the nation best among the candidates. I am not a blind yellow follower incapable of thinking objectively or arguing on the issues. I don’t take Wallace to task for his political leanings, which he indeed is entitled to have, but for other reasons.

          • Hey, Just Asking! says:

            Ditto for me. I am not a member of the yellow brigade nor a bonafide noytard as a few critics of PNoy are wont to say. But as Professor Ronald Mendoza (AIM Rizalino Navarro Center for Economic Competitiveness) pointed out in the Rappler article, we need “good managers” and not politicians to run this country at this stage in our history. Having been mentored myself by Dr Cayetano Paderanga, Jr., a noted technocrat, I know how these breed of peoples think and decide. I also believe that Mar Roxas can and will lead this country best among the candidates.

            • Joe America says:

              Yes, it is actually possible to conclude that Mar Roxas is the best candidate, and not have any motivation but what is best for the Philippines. It does not make one a defective soul.

          • caliphman says:

            If you ask almost anyone at CPM or here who is ardently proMar or for that matter anti-Mar elsewhere, it is almost guaranteed one would receive an answer invoking God, country, and the lately the Constitution. I am sure Wallace himself carries similar banners proclaiming the equally noble motivations fueling his advocacies. No one is accusing you or other proMar supporters here of being mindless drones or yellowtard or acting like the Chinese trolls who in some cases seem quite bright. In the same vein, I would be surprised if you are leveling the same type of accusations against him when you publish your piece.

            We are agreed that biases can be expected from a columnist just by the nature of OpEd writing. If you are going to be impugning Wallace’s motivations by questioning his personal or professional integrity as an OpEd columnist, that indeed would be high drama and is quite different from attacking PDI for its shoddy and biased news rerporting.

            • Joe America says:

              I’ve been called a blind follower, apologist, yellowtard, coward, and “son of a bitch” for expressing support for the Administration, the latter by Arroyo’s attorney on Twitter. I appreciate that YOU are not calling me such, and MOST PEOPLE here, are more intelligent and gracious than that. Wait for the article and we can debate if my opinion piece is too hard on another opinion writer. It seems to me we are both entitled to our say.

              • caliphman says:

                There is a saying that an intellectually insecure man seizes at what he thinks is or is told is the truth fearing he may lose it. The intellectually mature person has the mental bandwidth to have room for two opposite truths and allow for the possibility that both may be true. I have found that there are more persons of the second type at your site.

              • Joe America says:

                Right, there are. Excellent observation, as we move from the old year to the new.

  19. chempo says:

    Its not just writing whats not said and misleading headlines, but not asking the right questions.

    Best example
    Back in 1998 Pangcor technician Edgar Bentain secretly videotaped then Vice President Estrada gambling. Bentain went into hiding when he thought his life was in danger. He later sought the assistance of PCSO chairman Manuel Morato who felt duty bound to assist Bentain whose life was in peril. So Morato gave Bentain some cash to facilitate his disappearance. The videotape surfaced just before the 1998 presidential election.

    What Morata gave Bentain was a PCSO certification for a php 10 mm lotto winning that he can encash. In a 2009 interview this was what Morata said …

    “Being the chairman of PCSO I could give anyone a certification if I feel that it was needed. In this case it was a request from a man who feared that he could be killed…..”
    He also stressed that no money was taken from the coffers of the PCSO and given to Bentain in exchange for the tape.

    What astounding revelation. No reporter asked for an explanation of the difference of certificate and money from coffers, and nobody asked has Mr Morata ever given out certification for others before. Hell in fact, nobody in Philippines betted an eyelid. In other countries there would have been a ruckus and the sweepstakes would close for lost of credibility.

    Im angry like hell, because I buy a lotto ticket now and then haha.

    • Joe America says:

      Hahaha, what did you say the odds of winning are?

      • chempo says:

        For lotto 42 game, as NHerrera has pointed out, probability is 1 out of 145 mm. For optimists like me, its OK. Actually, Lady Luck knocks on everyones door once in our lifetime. Just be at home when she comes knocking. A 20 peso ticket makes sure Im home.

        • edgar lores says:

          I know someone who wasn’t at home. His numbers came up but he missed laying a bet that particular week. Oh, the gnashing of teeth!

          • Mt brother-in-law never fails to buy a ticket, each time he loses, he says, ok, that’s for charity. Twent pesos daily for a year. The one time he failed to buy, his numbers won, 50 million pesos got away. He couldn’t sleep or eat properly for a week, thinking of his debts that could have been settled, if only…..

            • chempo says:

              TIts a game of luck littered with woeful stories. I have had my share of woes and some successes. The trick to play such games is to take it as simple fun, that’s all, and helping charity in our small little way.

      • Bert says:

        Hehehehe, Joe, with the PCSO Chairman, the odd is 1 out of 1, 🙂

  20. Hey, Just Asking! says:

    Sensationalism and patronage politics together with its very close relatives, nay, siblings almost, bitterness and the not so subtle influence peddling it always advocates, are not limited to the broadsheets. Even in broadcast media, TV and radio, you see and hear it everyday. As Peter Dupont rightly said above, honest to goodness investigative journalism has long been dead in this country. Just watch Investigative Documentaries on GMA 7. I cannot understand how Malou Mangahas (PCIJ) has managed to eschew from even a single positive response from interviewees/subjects in all her reports, whether in print or on TV. Even the other network is just as guilty in the way TV Patrol anchors present news nightly. The thin line that separates news presenters with columnist and opinion editorials is crossed nightly. Yet, most Filipinos find that acceptable and thus the crime continues and the criminals adds in number.

    • Joe America says:

      Good point, “Hey”. There MUST be a cultural consistency in all this. The people want it, the players play it, the media just do what they must to gain readers . . . or cash. Emotions, detached from reason, glues it all together. Superstitions, gossips, single-source rumors, ridicule, conflict. It is the playing field and to expect sense to shine is expecting too much. The playing field has its own ethics, and one either pushes the big rock up the mountain trying to change those ethics, or goes along with them. Those of us pushing the rock will find out after the election if the rock is going to roll back down, or if we are getting help in the pushing.

    • Madlanglupa says:

      This is why I don’t have a TV anymore in my household.

  21. What a disappointing start for the new year this Inquirer headline is. The realistic feedback from commenters reinforces the reality that this one last newspaper that I favor is proving to be a disappointment. Usually I read the events as they occured and choose my preferred columnist for their take on political news, no use reading the others who only cause spikes on my bp readings.

    This morning, I raised my feet as hypotension persists, it started at 90/49, my feet got numbed on top of a pile of cushions and it still was 93/53, and my head is throbbing… I got hold of my gadget and found out there’s a new article at this site. Ten minutes later, my monitor read 137/84…

    I should not have bothered with the 4 thick cushions, saved my feet and legs from getting numb and got needles and pins in the process. Ha ha haissst.

    • chempo says:

      Take my advice Mary, supplement your medication with garlic oil, its very effective. If you want to try, make sure you get those smelly capsule ones. There is a local one … ANC garlic capsule, only 135 peso per box of 30. Take 1 or 2 per day. Some brands got rid of the smell, don’t get these. Smell is loss by maturing the garlic, but is so doing, it looses its efficacy.

      I used to have numbness and pins every night, so severe I could not sleep. And I also used to scratch a lot when I sleep. After taking garlic oil for a week, my problems all gone.

      • Thanks, chempo. We have fish oil here as supplement, in my mother’s time we share the garlic oil also for blood pressure regulation, but somehow we failed to replenish our supply lately.

        The numbness and its accompanying pins and needle pain was due to my elevating my feet in my effort to raise my BP.

        When you have numbness and pins and needles for no apparent reason, they say you should consult an endocrinologist to see if blood sugar is elevated as well.

        • butod says:

          Hi Mary, just saw the last comment you left me in the previous blog entry, good to know you didn’t feel alluded to by my comment. Whew.

          By the way, I was wrong about the relevant Supreme Court case on citizenship repatriation. Its not Tabasa v CA but Sobejana-Condon v Comelec. Haven’t seen the actual ponencia myself, but got a summary of what the effect of citizenship reacquisition (RA 9225) is based on the intent of Congress from an essay in Rappler by Tony La Vina. I try to review source documents if I can, but court rulings just have such an Ativan effect on me, hehe. Cheers!

          • karl garcia says:

            Butod, this is the short version


            The petitioner is a natural-born Filipino citizen having been born of Filipino parents on August 8, 1944. On December 13, 1984, she became a naturalized Australian citizen owing to her marriage to a certain Kevin Thomas Condon.
            On December 2, 2005, she filed an application to re-acquire Philippine citizenship before the Philippine Embassy in Canberra, Australia pursuant to Section 3 of R.A. No. 9225 otherwise known as the “Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003.”5 The application was approved and the petitioner took her oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines on December 5, 2005.
            On September 18, 2006, the petitioner filed an unsworn Declaration of Renunciation of Australian Citizenship before the Department of Immigration and Indigenous Affairs, Canberra, Australia, which in turn issued the Order dated September 27, 2006 certifying that she has ceased to be an Australian citizen.6
            The petitioner ran for Mayor in her hometown of Caba, La Union in the 2007 elections. She lost in her bid. She again sought elective office during the May 10, 2010 elections this time for the position of Vice-Mayor. She obtained the highest numbers of votes and was proclaimed as the winning candidate. She took her oath of office on May 13, 2010.
            Soon thereafter, private respondents Robelito V. Picar, Wilma P. Pagaduan7 and Luis M. Bautista,8 (private respondents) all registered voters of Caba, La Union, filed separate petitions for quo warranto questioning the petitioner’s eligibility before the RTC. The petitions similarly sought the petitioner’s disqualification from holding her elective post on the ground that she is a dual citizen and that she failed to execute a “personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath” as imposed by Section 5(2) of R.A. No. 9225.
            The petitioner denied being a dual citizen and averred that since September 27, 2006, she ceased to be an Australian citizen. She claimed that the Declaration of Renunciation of Australian Citizenship she executed in Australia sufficiently complied with Section 5(2), R.A. No. 9225 and that her act of running for public office is a clear abandonment of her Australian citizenship.
            The trial decision ordered by the trial court declaring Condon disqualified and ineligible to hold office of vice mayor of Caba La union and nullified her proclamation as the winning candidate.
            After that the decision was appealed to the comelec, but the appeal was dismissed y the second division and affirmed the decision of the trial court.
            The petitioner contends that since she ceased to be an Australian citizen on September 27, 2006, she no longer held dual citizenship and was only a Filipino citizen when she filed her certificate of candidacy as early as the 2007 elections. Hence, the “personal and sworn renunciation of foreign citizenship” imposed by Section 5(2) of R.A. No. 9225 to dual citizens seeking elective office does not apply to her.

            Issue: W/N petitioner disqualified from running for elective office due to failure to renounce her Australian Citizenship in accordance with Sec. 5 (2) of R.A 9225

            R.A. No. 9225 allows the retention and re-acquisition of Filipino citizenship for natural-born citizens who have lost their Philippine citizenship18 by taking an oath of allegiance to the Republic.
            Natural-born citizens of the Philippines who, after the effectivity of this Act, become citizens of a foreign country shall retain their Philippine citizenship upon taking the aforesaid oath.
            The oath is an abbreviated repatriation process that restores one’s Filipino citizenship and all civil and political rights and obligations concomitant therewith, subject to certain conditions imposed in Section 5.
            Section 5, paragraph 2 provides:
            (2) Those seeking elective public office in the Philippines shall meet the qualification for holding such public office as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public officer authorized to administer an oath.
            On September 18, 2006, or a year before she initially sought elective public office, she filed a renunciation of Australian citizenship in Canberra, Australia. Admittedly, however, the same was not under oath contrary to the exact mandate of Section 5(2) that the renunciation of foreign citizenship must be sworn before an officer authorized to administer oath.
            The supreme court said that, the renunciation of her Australian citizenship was invalid due to it was not oath before any public officer authorized to administer it rendering the act of Condon void.
            WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the petition is hereby DISMISSED. The Resolution dated September 6, 2011 of the Commission on Elections en bane in EAC (AE).


          • Cheers back to you, butod!

        • karl garcia says:

          Mary if you can’t complete the veggies in Bahay kubo

          try the stuff in abs bitter herbs.

          Contains 7 Herbs
          Momordica charantia Ampalaya/ Bitter Melon
          Fights diabetes, boosts the immune system and is good against asthma and other respiratory ailments. Ampalaya contains iron, beta carotene, calcium, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C, phosphorous and fiber.
          Andrographis paniculata King of Bitters
          Helps fight bronchitis, ulcers, skin disorders and diarrhea. King of Bitters is rich in fiber to ensure that harmful toxins are flushed out of the body.
          Curcumae longa Turmeric (Luyang Dilaw)
          Turmeric increases bile production and helps protect the liver, detoxify carcinogens and stimulates the bladder to cleanse our systems.
          Corchorus oliturius Linn Saluyot
          Saluyot is rich in vitamins A, B, and C, phosphorous, calcium, protein and fiber. It is a proven diuretic and alleviates fever.
          Mentha cordifolia Peppermint
          A useful pain reliever. Peppermint is also an all-purpose indigestion treatment as well as natural body soothing properties to help bring you back to balance.
          Vitex Negundo Lagundi
          Lagundi is used to prevent the spread of poison especially from animal bites. It is also good for coughs, asthma, rheumatism and fever.
          Moringa Oleifera Malunggay
          One of the healthiest vegetables in the Philippines, Malunggay is rich in iron, calcium, phosphorous, vitamins A, B, and C, carbohydrates, fiber and proteins. It helps increase the body’s natural immune system.

          Or ampalaya plus


  22. karl garcia says:

    The inquirer is the only rag I mean broad sheet that is available in the house,so I am forced to read it,but there are a lot if times I don’t read it because of Joe’s commentary against it.
    As wise men say caveat emptor,buyers beware.My dad is the one buying so he must beware.

    Before I thought it was just Joe’s tough love of the Inquirer, but I realize that there is no love lost, or maybe I am stretching it.

    Mlq3s defense of benignzero is tough love for the Philippines,could it be that Joe only wants the best for media,that is why The best among the mediocres is often the target.

    • Joe America says:

      By the way, I also, some time back, aimed critical comments at Rappler for calling the President “boneheaded” within a news article. I think they actually listened and have tried to reduce the editorializing in news content. Mostly, the Rappler staffer who commented here was upset that I was taking shots from behind an anonymous pseudonym.

  23. Bill in Oz says:

    Hi Joe
    In my time recently in Manila I found it hard to get a handle on the news reported in the Enquirer & the Bulletin. There was too much left unsaid or unexplained.. But the Enquirer was marginally better.

    Back when I was young in Malaysia I only read Far the Eastern Economic Review & Asia Week. These two weekly magazines were both published in Hong Kong. And both had standards for news reporting columns & editorials that I respected. Both reported fairly & fearlessly on all of SEA at a time when dailies were beholden or censored by governments. I read them for decades. And I knew a few of the journalists from both magazines.

    There was good news & commentary about the Philippines in them both. Marcos often banned issues of both magazines with articles about the Philippines both so copies were smuggled in and circulated like samizdat among expats in the Philippines. Mind you the same thing happened in Sabah and Singapore).

    Both are now gone.They were bought out by USA media empires (AOL Time Warner & Dow Jones and then closed down as they competed well with USA based weekly magazines trying to penetrate into English language market. They also competed for advertising into the Asian market. Ummmm good old US media capitalism !!!

    Bill in Oz

    • sonny says:

      Those are really two Mags from even my past, Bill. Those were the times when The Manila Times, The Manila Daily Bulletin and The Manila Chronicle and The Philippine Free Press reigned true.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Not in 1974 Sonny. I was in the Philippines then for a month..They were either shut down by Marcos or running scared..A few years later when doing post graduate studies at the South East Asian studies center at Monash University, I met Armando Doronilla once ( editer ? ) of the Manilla Times. It was shut down by Marcos. And he fled as political refugee too Australia..

        It’s odd I stayed that time for a few days in a ‘swish’ guest house in Ermite, suggested to me by a friend in Sabah..It turned out to be run by a catholic missionary priest group.. I remember having breakfasts with these men who I thought of as elderly reactionary expat catholic priests. And each day they were each full of praise for Marcos and martial law.

        I have absolutely no understanding of how the Marcos family has managed to regain position & power after what happened between 1965 and 1986. But in general the Manila press seem to think it’s OK..And that in itself is a warning signal for me about the press.
        Bill in Oz

        • Hey, Just Asking! says:

          Bill, I can forgive the Filipinos (immediate post martial law babies) a bit that many have already either forgotten or forgiven the Marcoses. Just blame it on the reluctance of the earlier generation to switch to electronic media. But what about the millennials? Information can be had with a click of a finger using their smartphones. That is why I keep on shouting this to young people everywhere I can – if you’ll still allow VP Binay to win in May 2016, this country and the 100 million people, we are all doomed to perdition. And we have no one but ourselves to blame for it.

        • sonny says:

          I feel there’s a point in one’s formal education to get equipped for serious, informed, citizenship. In a K12 curriculum this must become a must, like driver education, as prelude to membership in the body politic. Maybe this citizenship education is a natural Pass-Fail rating system, a study/inventory of what the national patrimony.

    • Joe America says:

      “If you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em”. That principle thrives today in the tech world, and elsewhere.

  24. josephivo says:

    Exaggerated? Eventually I had to read the article, 14 paragraphs in the article and 12 about achievements. The tone could be more enthusiastic but that would be at the risk of getting the opposite criticism.

    I’m very influenced by Kepner-Tregoe problem solving and decision making. It taught me that one always has to look at both sides, what is and what is not. In describing a hole, all relevant information comes from what is not the hole, the material/object around it an not from describing the hole itselfm some air at a certain temperature. (In more recent documents, K-T speaks about what is and what ought to be, but I still prefer the old couple.) Also in an article on what the candidate did it is sometimes more informative to learn what he didn’t do.

    When he mentions criminality explicitly in Metro-Manila, he could have mentioned something specific about Luzon, the Visayas and about Mindanao too. Something about safety in Mindanao would have been very relevant. He could have stressed that he is more than a representative of Imperial Manila, that he is candidate for the nation. I think that is was an missed opportunity.

    • sonny says:

      I envy you Joseph, how you have retained K-T principles. I can only recall the green in the jacket of the book from a K-T workshop.

    • Joe America says:

      A friend of mine took an art class that taught how to draw by drawing the spaces around an object. The exercise was to draw an upside down chair. It was amazing how good that drawing was.

      But I think news reporting is different than decision making. It is reporting what happened. So I am absolutely mystified as to why the writer or editor put that second paragraph in there, and wrote the headline to it. Why in God’s glorious green globe would they expect Roxas to resurrect the most difficult challenge of the Aquino Administration when he was speaking of positives? What is the motivation there? The purpose? It is not factual, for sure, not a reporting of what happened, and it changes entirely the takeaway for people who are already suspicious of Roxas (read comments of butod above: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/752074/poe-urges-2016-aspirants-abandon-petty-politics).

      To your last point, I agree that Roxas is missing the opportunity to stand out, and resonate. I don’t know who is providing his counsel. Today, Poe lectured other candidates about not playing petty politics, elevate the game and talk about platforms. Man, I would have held a press briefing immediately, thanking Senator Poe and challenging her and other candidates to debate platforms. Guaranteed front page material. 90% chance the other candidates would never agree.

      • butod says:

        Joe, I think the only reason the writer Yap finds Mar’s silence on Mamasapano deafening — and thus the angle on the story — is because the event is too big not to notice. Yes the speech was about Mar’s accomplishments, but as PNoy always says, Mamasapano was as much an accomplishment (elimination of a high-value target in Marwan) as it was a tragedy.

        The story seizes on this high stakes/high losses dichotomy to make the case why Mamasapano is so difficult for Mar — the former secretary of an office under whose domain police ops fall — to mention. It’s the elephant in the room that’s just too big to go unnoticed and yet does.

        That’s not the writer raising doubts about Mar or diminishing his gains; that’s him making Mar perfectly human — sensitive to the hurt of getting excluded and the pain of the grieving — yet dignified, refusing to heap blame against the hysteria of the mob, and instead quietly helping clean up the mess. Isn’t that the perfect counterpoint to the awkward Mar that’s often played out?

        The remaining four-fifths of the story was about his accomplishments, many in direct qoutes that leave no room for interpretation. It’s on balance not just fair but even favorable to Mar.

        Anything more than that and the story likely turns into a puff piece — which would’ve ruined it for Mar more surely than you think this published version does now.

        • josephivo says:

          We saw the same elephant I guess, 🙂

          • edgar lores says:

            Mamasapano was not an elephant in Mar’s room. He was NOT part of the operation.

            Granted he should have been in the loop… but he was not.

            And the news item was about Mar talking about HIS accomplishments, not about the administration’s.

          • Joe America says:

            The elephant was dragged into the room by the reporter. That’s the whole problem.

        • Joe America says:

          An editorial about that would be excellent. The journalist has no business interpreting what Mar Roxas should or should not say. It is the writer injecting content and judgment into a news report. Ethical violation, by Western standards. Acceptable here, I guess. The problem is that the journalist took a positive effort by Roxas to explain what he has accomplished it, and turned it inside out. We see it differently. Had he interviewed Roxas as to why he did not speak to Mamasapano, that would be an acceptable news story. For the writer to inject his idea. No no no. Big no no. Put the story in the editorial pages and do a good job elaborating about the point, as you have done.

      • josephivo says:

        He could talk about the lessons learned, the improved cooperation between police, military and peace mediators. The threat of international terrorists. The investments in elementary government services in that area… Just leaving the elephant in the middle of the room is not the solution. A reporter should tell that I assume… maybe in friendlier wording?

        • butod says:

          I get you there, could’ve been more extensive. But then again the wider context of the story is Mar’s speech — thus a little of the obvious elephant and the rest iaffirmations of his gains. Still pretty good for Mar on balance.

          Perhaps a lot of the calls being made about the breadth and depth of stories have to do not just with the story treatment but also with deciding the heirarchy of prominence that each story — or at least the leading stories — deserves. If one is decided to be made this big, obviously it cuts into column inch allotments of another and so on down the line. I don’t doubt that malice or trickery or the need to be sexier can be drivers themselves, but not always. And not on the subject story I think.

          • Joe America says:

            “obvious elephant” That is an opinion of yours that I don’t share. Let’s assume each of us does a Roxas presentation, dealing with accomplishments. Each one of us would have structured the speech differently. I’d emphasize things you might not. You would talk about Mamasapano. Josephivo might, too. I would not. But as certain as snowflakes differ, our speeches would differ. I’d talk about storm preparations and response, captured major criminals, securing the Pope’s visit. I had nothing to do with Mamasapano, so why inject a political hot potato. Makes no sense. It would just rile the people again. Keep it upbeat. Keep it positive.

            In this case, the reporter rewrote the Roxas speech as a part of the news report. It is not his job to give the speech. It is his job to report on it.

        • Joe America says:

          It was headlined, which made it (the omission) the primary takeaway from the speech. It was a gross distortion of what the speech was about. If he interviewed Roxas about it, fair content.

          “Hey, Joe, what about all the pundits and interpretive reporting done by Fox and CNN?”

          They are not news stories or programs. They are editorial or interpretive. I enjoy watching field reporters when they interface with the talking heads in the news rooms. The talking heads are always probing for more information. The good field reporters always tell what they know, not what they think.

          • josephivo says:

            Not convinced. Police is a Secretary of Interiors responsibility, whatever happens. Mamasapano will be used against him again and again. Leaving it to others to frame the issue is wrong. He had an excellent opportunity to distance him (a little) from the president, to proof that he is not just his lap-dog.

            The detail is between quotes, meaning an elephant. It is news that Mar still is playing it safe. Look at Bush, he lost all initiative too and he is not a street fighter, regaining ground will be very difficult. Mar is still on a similar track and that is news. Yes, Yap could have been more specific in reporting this news that Mar is still avoiding issues he doesn’t feel to master.

            • Joe America says:

              Those are different issues, Mar playing it safe and the news reporter interpreting and changing a story. Mar Roxas said what he said and that is what should be reported. A part of the reason Mar Roxas is seen as playing it safe is because of interpretive stories like this that recast what he said.

              What is Roxas going to cite as his accomplishment in Mamasapano, or what is he going to say that would make people feel good about it? “I was strong and loyal and supported the President as everyone tried to lay the blame on him for political gain.” or “I’ll make sure I don’t order any botched raids.”

              Or maybe “Mamasapano was a tragedy for all of us. Had I been in the loop, it would not have happened.”

              Yeah, that’s a real uplift.

              What would you have Mar Roxas say about Mamasapano, in the context of his accomplishments? Exact words.

              • josephivo says:

                I’m not a speech writer, but you had a good start: “The police reformed dramatically, but Mamasapano was a tragedy for all of us. The President knew about the mistrust between some army people, some policemen and some peace mediators. He took a gamble bypassing some and was only partly successful. Consequent lack of timely and wrong information caused a tragedy. Had I been in the loop, it would not have happened, The silver lining of the story are the lessons learned, I will address trust issue head on before an operation starts.”

                By the way, all the people that did not show up during Binay’s announcement of his VP was news. Why can’t things Mar didn’t say be news too?

              • Joe America says:

                PR disaster. That is all the reporter would have written about, and all the people would have learned about Mar Roxas. All the other deeds would have been lost.

              • butod says:

                Ah, there. It’s that perception of Mar of having to constantly prevaricate how the story gets spun and thus just avoiding these minefields altogether that drives the media and his critics to talk about the silence instead of just the soundbyte.

                He had an opportunity to exercise assertive leadership and reclaim the narrative by saying “I was not a decision-maker in Mamasapano, but it’s ultimately still partly on me because it happened under my watch as PNP’s steward. I own up to its success as much as I take the blame for the losses. I rise and fall on Mamasapano’s whole record, history’s cruelty be damned.”

                Instead, silence. No wonder it’s “bahala na kayo dyan” that echoes again and again every time the shit hits the fan.

              • Joe America says:

                And, in his judgment, that kind of statement would open a can of worms, the worst episode of the Aquino administration would again be on the table, and the opposition would be diverting the conversation to what Mar Roxas could or should have done, and his achievements would have been missed. That is a legitimate position by Mar Roxas, and I wonder why it is that each of us cannot simply respect that it is a legitimate position for him to take, rather than give him a script that would have him do things the way we say . . . and otherwise we condemn him.

                Filipinos are largely intolerant, I think, of those who take decisions they personally disagree with. It has for some time been amazing to me how many Filipinos could have done a better job as president that Mr. Aquino.

                Mar Roxas made a reasonable choice, and I personally respect it. You don’t have to. That’s a freedom.

                The newspaper writer and headline writer were journalistically unethical, in my opinion. You can disagree with that, too, but at some point we have to figure out why the broader Philippine populace is so willing to elect a thief and liar (by evidence presented in the Senate), or a killer (self-professed) as president. We have to figure out why they are so emotionally inclined, and poorly informed.

            • Joe America says:

              The real problem here is that the fact that Mar Roxas was not allowed to speak to you as as he intended it, making a positive statement that would provide information and show that he is a “doer”..The author of the article took that away from him. And so you and others continue to see Mar as weak. You never got to hear Mar Roxas, through an accurate news report.

            • edgar lores says:

              1. There are two separate issues here:

              1.1. The reporter writing about an omission
              1.2. Roxas “doing” an omission

              2. I think these two separate issues are being conflated.

              3. There are two separate questions to be asked:

              3.1. Should the reporter have written about the omission?
              3.2. Should Roxas have spoken about the omission?

              4. On the first question:

              4.1. JoeAm’s stance is that the reporter should not have.
              4.2. From the basis of journalistic standards, is JoeAm right?
              4.3. The issue here is one of journalistic ethics.

              4.4. Assuming the reporter should have, is the emphasis and proportionality given to the omission proper?

              5. On the second question:

              5.1. There are two sub-issues here: one is public servant accountability and the other is political strategy.

              5.2. From the viewpoint of accountability, was Roxas right to make the omission?

              5.3. From the basis of strategy, was Roxas right to make the omission?

              6. I think all of these questions should be answered separately. As it is, journalistic ethics, accountability and strategy are mixed up.

  25. Bert says:

    Breaking news: Virginia Torres, former LTO chief, died of heart attact just now.

    • karl garcia says:

      RIP Virginia Torres 🕯

      • sonny says:

        Nephew, this is your generation’s turn at the wheel. I just learned that Robert Cabrera was just appointed to head the LTO. He belongs to your generation. Atty Cabrera also happens to be the son of our high school classmate Bob Cabrera. So he joins Sen Bam Aquino, the son of Paul Aquino, another classmate in high school. Both are poised for a chance at public leadership. The torch is slowly but surely being passed. Tend the fire well, nephew.

  26. NHerrera says:


    I have a feeling the 1956 concept of George Miller about the limit of short-term memory still applies here. Let me explain.

    In the good old days of the 50s, 60s, 70s one may perhaps say that that holds but not anymore. But there are continuing studies which says that the concept is still alive and kicking. Especially so because technology itself is part of the current culprit.

    The ever present and insistent smartphone or tablet eats up quite a few of the 7 +/- 2. This may be true of college students who are so attracted to Miriam. With attention to some important smartphone topics plus boy/girl friend, one is left with a few more bullet items (of the 5 to 9 items = 7 +/- 2), so it has to be only Miriam who can attract with the left over bullets with her one-liners. Can’t spend some good hours to analyze the pros and cons of the other candidates, what with academic assignments to do.

    And the magic number works especially subconsciously on the poor. With the pre-occupation on the next meal for the family or the medicine needed for that sick child of five, can you imagine how the poor fellow does not have the thought for other things. So only one-liners can be grasped by the remaining short-term memory bank.

    That is why the reporter unguided and persistently un-exhorted by his/ her editor on “journalistic ethics, balance” and all that — and mind you the reporter also has his/ her toy smartphone — George Millers 7 +/- 2 perhaps work its magic there too.


    May be, some of us, including specially myself succumb to this 7 +/- 2 magic when posting comments here.


    I will try to be aware of that magic and reduce its hold on me.

  27. Madlanglupa says:

    I ended up unfollowing Inquirer’s Twitter account after Pol Medina left due to “conflict of interest” between him and the paper’s management.

    If you ask me about local news outlets, it’s like the Barnum-y bastard combination of Fox News and RT; it’s all for the money, the sensationalism, and how to manipulate peoples’ opinion in favor of a certain interested party. I don’t know what to make of PCIJ, which I feel is the only bastion left untainted by corporate interests.

    Yeah, the rot apparently started during the time Geny Lopez was still walking, just after he came back to reclaim Channel 2, and started to challenge Channel 7 for ratings supremacy. The war became hot after it seemed that Mel Tianco and Jay Sonza, then of ABS, were fired for appearing in a rubbing alcohol TV ad running on air over at GMA. So they packed up and left, and from that day on resided in Gozonverse.

    Now we have this LCD shit going on between them, in multimedia.

    But then I have to use Google News to read in multiple facets of the same issue, while having to put up with the necessary evil of toxic commenters and personal biases of reporters and pundits.

    • Joe America says:

      Good statement of what is going on. The external influences which shape the information we receive. Your method of seeking a variety of views is excellent. Our reality is the sum of what we receive as inputs, and we are getting a lot of extraneous motivations behind what we are fed.

      • Madlanglupa says:

        When I see something on Facebook with a pinch of salt, I search around to make sure that it’s for real and verified. Sadly, a large percentage of people, most of which are first-time computer users whose first oft-used website is Facebook, are often gullible, vulnerable to disinformation, fraud, and panic.

        • Joe America says:

          That’s true. It is rather a madhouse of information, misinformation, trolls and people pushing a cause. I can’t think of a time when I have gotten something meaningful that I could fully trust. It’s like, okay, if I am complaining about journalism ethics, where reporters don’t follow basic guidelines of good reporting, what am I supposed to say about Facebook where every individual is a journalist? I’m mostly struck dumb and silent and don’t really participate much there. I need to preserve what little sanity I have left.

  28. karl garcia says:

    How different is this from news reports reporting people who are not around, those conspicious or conspicuous by their absence.

    • Joe America says:

      @Karl, That is really an excellent question. I suppose it depends on what the gist of the news report is about. If it is about the speech, that is one thing. If it is about the level of engagement by others, that would be another legitimate article. Take the case of a Binay announcement, not attended by some people, as mentioned by josephivo. If I were editor of a paper that sought to rise to world class standards, I’d do two articles. What he said. And the level of engagement by others. It would be hard to combine the two and do justice to either topic. They’d run side by side in the paper.

      In the news report about the speech, it would be legitimate to cite who was in attendance. But not who was not.

      It would also be possible to do an article that is a “fact check” about the Roxas speech, that would itemize what significant events he talked about and what he did not. In that context, Mamasapano would be a legitimate subject. It could be news or editorial depending on whether the assessment is interpretive or judgmental.

      In the case used in this blog, the writer, with significant help from the headline writer, distorted the speech, and that is the last thing a professional (ethical) journalist would want to do. A professional journalist would take pride in giving readers a very assurate representation of what he witnessed. He would not take pride in his personal wisdom at deciding what should be addressed in the speech and what should not.

      • Joe America says:

        The writer doing the speech would be given instructions to report on what was said, who was there, how it was received, and to try to get an interview with Binay to ask some questions (like, how will you deal with the Senate inquiry during the campaign). The writer doing the assessment of who was there and who was not would be asked to identify UNA people not there (Pacquiao, Estrada, whoever) and try to ask them via telephone or e-mail inquiry as to why they did not attend. If they were “unavailable” or refused to respond, that would be reported in the story.

        As I think about how much time it would take to interview those not attending, I’d expect the articles would run a day apart instead of side by side.

      • karl garcia says:

        Many thanks Joe,if the print media industry is to last another 100 years,front page news is important.But if it goes completely online they will be at the mercy of the social media practices.

        In the meantime let bloggers opine on what they fell is wrong with the things presented to them,especially if they have seen better.

        ps. old habits die hard, i should have ended my previous comment that you replied to with a question mark.so much for the new year.

        • Joe America says:

          🙂 We should have a “where’s waldo” kind of exercise with one of my blogs, looking for errant periods, where a question mark ought to be (I do that regularly), or other failings of the technical typing kind. I was reading, though, that even grammar changes through common usage. For example, “they” can now officially be used as a singular expression, rather than plural. So if we are persistent about leaving off the question marks, maybe that needless scribble will go away. Then we can put a key on the typewriter that writes “LOL” in one punch.

      • edgar lores says:

        Ah, I was wondering about Josephivo’s and Karl’s question too. So two separate items.

        But would it be legitimate in both cases to just have a single news item but where proportionality is observed?

        Like in the Roxas item, sure mention Mamasapano but put it at the end or towards the end in a single paragraph. And, of course, not to mention it in the headline.

        Then in the Binay item, sure mention the people who did not attend but, again, put it in a separate section towards the end.

        In both cases, the gist — and the bulk — would still be reporting on the main news item but at the same time including “factual” omissions/absences in a kind of “by the way” note. Would that still constitute “editorializing”?

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, that would be acceptable (to me, as editor). It is pertinent but not dominant. Indeed these become judgment calls by the editor, and I have very different standards than Filipino media standards (mine from MA in radio/television from Univ. of So California, and brief work “in the biz” of news reporting). Filipino standards have been honed, I think, by the personality based sense of entitlement that flows to those of power. The press, being of mighty power, are entitled to game the news to fit their agenda, where the agenda is one part business and one part politics or ego, and we in the audience are not privy to what is going on back stage.

  29. Melissa says:

    You’re on point when you said ” a news report about nothing at all”. With all these lies, it gets scarier more than ever!

    • Joe America says:

      I would not call them lies, necessarily, unless the headline writer and writer of the story agree to “get Roxas”. I think most is just sloppy journalism by people who don’t think very much about ethics.

      . . . . well, neither does the Senate, so there you go . . .

  30. Bill in Oz says:

    A quote from the Guardian “Six journalists have been killed in the Philippines this year,(2015) and 30 since Aquino took office in 2010.”

    I wonder if this has a major impact on how Philippino journalists report the news and write articles..

    Bill in Oz

    • Joe America says:

      Actually, the Philippines has done better at not shooting her journalists, and in 2015 fell off the global rating list of “bad nations” for the first time in many, many years. So one has to consider these things in the context of where we have been and how long it takes to get where we need to be. I think the killings actually represent the ramifications of the personal quality of local politics, very bitter and often physical. That’s why so many candidates get shot. A radio guy who is loudly attacking a vengeful politician is putting his life at risk. So is a local candidate going up against a dominant family.

      • Hey, Just Asking! says:

        Joe, enlighten me on this. Every known occupation on earth, whether legit or not, carries with it a certain amount of what you would say, hazards of the trade. Isn’t that the same with these hard hitting media people? So why blame the government for so called, allowing a reign of impunity to exist when it has no power to control whatever emotions both the radio announcer was so exuberant in his/her program and likewise, the emotions building up inside the nitpicked politicians chest. To my mind, it is nary different to a med tech who got accidentally pricked on the finger by a virus laden syringe while doing blood extraction on a patient and then later sues the hospital for allowing the patient to be handled by him/her without first informing the latter of the hazards involved. I would rather think that this is just an overflow of the entitlement mentality that many of these so called journalists/commentators have put in their heads.

        • Joe America says:

          Well, actually, I think it is you who are enlightening me, because, yes, I agree, it is an overflow of the entitlement mentality that gets people in trouble, and it is the same entitlement that provokes the killer go so easily to the ultimate solution, pay someone P10,000 for a motorcycle pop. So when you have an abrasive, entitled radio announcer going after a thuggish, entitled political family, then the mix is toxic. I think entitlement runs contrary to Western ethics, and forms the ethics that Filipinos operate under. That seems like a great blog topic. Thanks for that idea. Do you want to write it, or me?

          • Hey, Just Asking! says:

            Write it Joe. I trust you’ll do justice to the topic. Hahaha.

          • edgar lores says:

            The culture of entitlement is encouraged by the culture of impunity that is fostered by the culture of slow or no justice that is the consequence of a culture of incompetence in the police force which is the result of the culture of patronage because of the culture of entitlement?

            Or something like that.

    • karl garcia says:

      I say if it has an impact then every news report or opinion would not hit or hurt anybody.

  31. After I read the same article the wife heard me blurt out a livid “gaddamet”. i then had to sit beside her and show her the irresposible report.

    and this is not the first time. i dunno if the editor even reads the on-line version in real time. the reports come in during the day and the Titles are at most times mis-leading. the sad part is i have a sinking feeling that a lot of our countrymen don’t even read the full article.

    that is why i think it is only fitting that i now get my news on-line (no longer buy the hard copy), right next to hair growers and penis enlargers. you just can’t belive everything you read.

  32. chempo says:

    Every newspaper and TV news channel, and many police personnel in Philippines commit the serious crime of sub-judicial reporting everyday. I am bewildered by this state of affairs. There is practically no protection for sub judice cases.

  33. Bill in Oz says:

    Another related issue that I hgave been exploring today on the Enquirer web site : the character of the comments on news columns and articles…I have read 3 different sets of comments today..There are hundreds of comments for each one..
    Here is the link to one of the them. http://opinion.inquirer.net/91634/political-madness#art_disc

    I note that many of the comments are largely people shouting ( even threatening ) at each other or the journalists ..Many are trolls no doubt for whichever group is ‘annoyed’. Others are ‘unguided’ partisans for some cause or other.

    I wonder if any Philippino journalists are reading this blog. I wonder what such caustic and abusive commentary has on them as journalists ?

    Perhaps such comments sections need moderating to preserve journalistic freedom ?

    Bill in Oz

    • Joe America says:

      Limit free speech to preserve it. Deserves discussion.

      The example you provide actually has some thoughtful comments in it and is not as down and dirty as some, particularly those where Chinese and Filipino extremists go at one another. I’ve also seen cases where the Inquirer actually moderates a discussion thread and takes out extreme commentary. Mostly, though, I think they let it roll. Writers like Peter Wallace I am sure don’t think too much about the extreme comments because they’ve read so much of it, they just figure “consider the source”, and consider it irrelevant. The readership of the Inquirer is broad and there are a lot of what I would consider chat-room show-offs, rather than people interested in dialogue. It’s hard to carve truly intellectual conversation from that. The Inquirer would have to moderate heavily, and spend money for the moderator to try to control the uncontrollable.

      From my own standpoint, I hate to moderate, but do from time to time to keep the discussion on issues rather than people, and to delete obvious trolls.

  34. chempo says:

    Who reads what in Philippines? In the US the 13 great reads are as follows:

    • Joe America says:

      Hahaha, when I was a working scrub in Los Angeles, I had three on my daily reading list: #1 (I was an “executive”), #3 (for the puzzle), and #5 (because LA rules). That list is totally accurate.

    • karl garcia says:

      From that, I can conclude that……..
      Only the Kennedies read the Boston Globe and Fidel Castro used to read Miami Herald for the baseball scores of With Cuban baseball players.

  35. edgar lores says:

    Another day, another photo of Grace Poe in church in prayerful repose.

    The only thing lacking are the strains of violin.

  36. Mackie Cui says:

    I’m reminded of Scriptures, in particular,
    Matthew 6:1 – “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven”. Also, Matthew 6:5.

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