Dumb journalism makes for a dumb nation

The rally with passion. [Photo from Associated Press by Bullit Marquez]

By Joe America

I know I occasionally use big words because they just pop out of my typewriter, some of them after hiding there for years. It is quite amusing when one just emerges out of the dense fog of forgotten lore and is perfect for the line-up of thoughts being madly transcribed by my fingers.

Well, today’s big word is “discernment”. This is something mainstream media in the Philippines do not have a lot of. Discernment is the ability to digest many things at once and come up with MEANING. I had a whole corporate career built on discernment, or as a drunken senior executive once slurred at a younger me during a planning conference, “Y’know, JooeAm, hic yer gonna go far ’cause you can hic think ’round corners.”

Hey, context counts, perception counts, Sherlock-style deduction counts, risk assessment counts.

Consider the rallies of September 21st.

Mainstream television on protest day played the pro-Duterte rally and the Luneta protest rally on a split screen as if they were comparable. What a huge lack of discernment. The hang-dog Duterte rallyists lacked enthusiasm for anything but getting into the food line and out of the rain. The Luneta crowd was energy and passion and principles and defiance and MEANINGFUL songs, not sex babes prancing.

TV news played both rallies the same. And, in effect, the media got played by the Administration. They entirely missed what was really happening in the Philippines on September 21. The mood of a nation had changed.

And mainstream media missed it.

It is worth pointing out that the pro-Duterte crowd is eventually what happens to ALL CITIZENS under an autocratic leader after they have been hammered into obedience over a number of years. Eyes glaze over, enthusiasm drains, and people start fighting for a place in the bread lines. Mindless obedience dulls the mind and spirit.

The passion of the Luneta rally is what happens under a PROPERLY FUNCTIONING democracy each time it hits a new milestone of economic achievement, or reduced poverty, or we get better jobs if we study and work smart. Freedom is INSPIRATIONAL!

The Philippines was soooooooooo close under President Aquino to rounding this corner, but liars and thieves managed to buy a huge pile of manipulative trolls and greedy souls . . . of which there are thousands in Philippine government . . . to promote a blustering, empty-promised mayor to a position of great power, and assign him a kind of lordly rebel crown of grand adoration.

Even if he is uncivil and cruel.

Well, even the dead sometimes awaken, and now the lord’s crown is becoming tarnished because a guy by the name of Trillanes stood up and shouted “the King is naked”, and soon, everyone was looking a whole lot closer. If the Philippines IS its President, and if the President proves to be an embarrassment, then it makes a lot of influential people uncomfortable.

That is what discernment sometimes does.

That’s where we are at today.

People are discerning things about the President and the nation and they are not particularly happy with what they see.

The mainstream media miss a lot of this. They continue to feature the President on the screen and headlines as an adorable, cute, really fine leader deserving admiration. They refrain from telling the truth. When they call him “Rody”, they make him a friend, not a president. When they ask inane, puff-ball questions of Administration propagandists, they are playing the nation as a ‘market of fools’, not being journalists.

It is this simple: star-struck news outlets going after easy stories, chasing conflict and dead bodies, and manipulated by an autocratic President, do not offer the audience much intellectual discernment.

As far as I can tell, Rappler is the only discerning news outlet left in the Philippines, along with a few columnists at the major dailies who put their hearts, minds, and values into writing good editorials. The international media do better at building context and framing issues.

This is discerning journalism, from the South China Morning Post (SCMP):  HK$150 for Human Rights in the Philippines: a turning point in Duterte’s War on Drugs?

It’s unfortunate. Journalism in the Philippines has descended into a kind of superficial, shallow, sensationalist glaze across the landscape, dumbing down an entire nation. Media have consigned the nation to the big black pit of favor and greed and dumb.

Smart people want information, and so I would imagine that more and more Filipinos will turn to social media and the international press for the substance they want. My own ‘newspapers’ are Google and Twitter, and the stories they filter out for me.  Rappler and the international media rise up, and they give me discerning reads. The rest . . . I think they are becoming like the Administration’s trolls, increasingly irrelevant to discerning readers.

Is there a market for shallow? Sure.

Does it fulfill the ethical responsibility of journalism to inform the public? No. Pandering does not inform.

Will mainstream media survive?

Based on the work they do today, who cares?


151 Responses to “Dumb journalism makes for a dumb nation”
  1. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    Joe America gold. Just be sure to walk around or shoot hoop after writing thunderbolts to make your blood flow freely. Don’t get a stroke on account of our contemptible 82 per cent magnified by an equally contemptible traditional media. We want you around for the victory parade. The country honors you.

    • Thank you will. Actually, writing takes the pressure off, and I’ve retreated from basketball to badminton. Haha. Thanks for the kind thoughts.

      • NHerrera says:

        But be kind to the keyboard, Joe. 🙂 .I know it relieves the pressure. Recently my Z key is not functioning anymore — probably from hitting the key hard when I write the words crazy, lazy, zhit. Fortunately my tablet-cum-laptop has an electronic keyboard, which I use 7 percent of the time (the statistical occurrence of the letter in English — which reminds me if I write only in Pilipino, I will not need the letter).

        Thanks again, Joe, for telling it as it is. Nice to have an editor who can think around corners.

        • stpaul says:

          I second what Kuya Will wrote Sir Joe. We honor you!

          • Thank you, stpaul, and for the record, I thought your characterization of Edgar, NH, and Karl was “spot on”, and I gave you a 10 on discernment.

            • stpaul says:

              Thank you Sir Joe (blush)!

            • Edgar Lores says:

              Four personality types (Wikipedia) from the Greek physician Hippocrates:

              o Sanguine – enthusiastic, active, and social (Element: Air; Adler: Socially useful)
              o Choleric – short-tempered, fast, or irritable (Element: Fire; Adler: Ruling)
              o Melancholic – analytical, wise, and quiet (Element: Earth; Adler: Avoiding)
              o Phlegmatic – relaxed and peaceful (Element: Water; Adler: Getting)

              (Adler refers to psychotherapist Alfred Adler.)

              • stpaul says:

                Or this, Sir Edgar 🙂

                Powerful Cholerics are considered to be leader and commander types, being dominant, strong, decisive, and occasionally arrogant. They tend to be good leaders because they are driven to get things done, however they might offend some people along the way. Cholerics are also known as the “Powerful” type. Some famous examples are Phil Donahue, Bill Gates, Phil McGraw, Bill O’Reilly, and Oprah Winfrey.

                Perfect Melancholy personality types are described by Littauer to be the mental types, with their personality displaying a strong emphasis on thinking, evaluation, and assessment. Their typical behaviour involves thinking, assessing, making lists, evaluating the positives and negatives, and general analysis of facts. They love maps, charts and graphs. They are usually the most intelligent of the four types, however they tend to dwell on details. A Melancholy is a planner, making sure things happen, although sometimes they can paralyze themselves with over-analysis. Lists and “doing things the right way” are characteristics of this personality type. Melancholies are also known as the “Perfect” type. Some famous examples are Darth Vader, Ernest Hemingway, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Vincent van Gogh.

                Popular Sanguines are a social personality type, displaying characteristics such as a predisposition to socialize and entertain. They enjoy fun, socializing, chatting, telling stories – and are fond of promising the world, because that is the friendly thing to do. A Sanguine gets on well with people and can get others excited about issues, but cannot always be relied upon to get things done. They love interacting with others and play the role of the entertainer or center of attention in group interactions. They have a tendency to over-promise and under-deliver. Sanguines are also known as the “Popular” type. Some famous examples are Bill Clinton, Kelly Ripa, Richard Simmons, and Robin Williams.

                Peaceful Phlegmatics are described as having a flat-type personality, being laid back and desiring a peaceful environment above all else. They are easy going, laid back, nonchalant, unexcitable and relaxed. Desiring a quiet and peaceful environment above all else. They tend not to actively upset people, but their indifference may frustrate people. They try not to make decisions, and generally go for the status quo. They are good as mediators because they do not usually have many enemies. They also have a “dry” and quick sense of humor. Phlegmatics are also known as the “Peaceful” type. Some famous examples are Kofi Annan, Calvin Coolidge, Tim Duncan, Sandy Koufax, and Keanu Reeves.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                stpaul, thanks for the elaboration.

                I think we are a combination. I am perhaps mostly melancholic (analytical), but have my sanguine moments (cheerful), and wish that I was phlegmatic (peaceful). I guess I have my choleric moments too (crazy mad).

              • stpaul says:

                From the book: Personality Plus by Florence Littauer

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks for elaborating stpaul.
                I associated melancholy with the word affected.
                There’s much to be learnt.
                I am glad TSOH is a place to learn. (as always)

              • stpaul says:

                You’re welcome Karl. Each individual possess a combination and we complement one another. Notice how spouses differ from one another, we look for those traits that we don’t have 🙂 !

              • karlgarcia says:

                Very true, we are compromised for life. 😉

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Karl, you are very sharp today. With your other tango remark, you made me bark with laughter twice!

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks guru.😊👍

              • NHerrera says:

                The four pure personality types,

                – choleric
                – sanguine
                – melancholic
                – phlegmatic

                represented graphically in the painting below:

              • NHerrera says:


                C = Powerful Cholerics
                M = Perfect Melancholy
                S = Popular Sanguines
                P = Peaceful Phlegmatics

                Do we characterize a Trump or a Duterte as a C? To characterize them as C may be giving too much credit — at least in the Philippine case because of the traditional behavior of the sycophant politicians. I admit Trump and Duterte are driven to get things done their way. But do they get things done?

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Very nice distinction.

                MLQ’s column “Go, Grow, Glo” in the Inquirer records the huge gap between ambitious plans (federalism and parliamentarism) and implementation.

                MLQ’s column is entitled “The Long View.” The long view (3 – 5 years?) in the country is all about the capture of power for its own sake, for the benefit of family, clan, and cronies. It is never about the long-term (15 – 30 years) development of the country.

                It may be argued that the timeline for the “build, build, build” program is that long into the future, but the incentive is to fill the pockets now, never mind the future debt burden.

                Should we be happy that some cholerics are bad implementors? Don’t think so. They cause so much interim suffering.

              • stpaul says:

                Sir NH,

                These personality types apply to sane people or those without character disorder. There is a personality test included in the book and one would be able to assess one’s personality, and his strengths/weaknesses.

              • NHerrera says:


                Thanks for the note. I am glad I may be considered among those sane people or those without character disorder since you characterized me as sanguine in your post in the previous blog — otherwise I may not fall into one of those types. 🙂

                You may want to know that in my earlier, younger days my family, friends and associates may label me as melancholic if they read the description of the four types by Florence Littauer. I still am in a way, perhaps because of my being an engineer with fondness for mathematics. But I have noticed myself that I have evolved — as my family tells me. I may thus slightly vary your characterization to my being a mix of sanguine and melancholic. And perhaps some portion of choleric — again with reference to my younger days as a boss over some staff. So, to put it in numbers, perhaps a mix of my current status in percentage: sanguine 50, melancholic 40, choleric 10.

                I will get that book and read it on Kindle.

              • stpaul says:

                Sir NH, I hope I have not offended you 😦 ! May I quote the author once again.

                “If you wanted to become like Him (Jesus Christ), you would aim to amplify your strengths, for He has the best of each temperament (personality type). He had the storytelling gifts of Popular Sanguines, the depth and sensitivity of Perfect Melancholics, the administrative ability of Powerful Cholerics and the calm nature of Peaceful Phlegmatics.”

                All of us are loved and accepted by the Lord and knowing these types allow us to understand people not to label them ( sorry po 😦 ) but to accept them.

              • chemrock says:

                Very interesting Stpaul.

                I see a lot of myself in Perfect Melancholy + Peaceful Phlegmatics.

              • NHerrera says:

                stpaul, top of the morning to you. No. No offense at all. You characterized me well in my most apparent current type. I just elaborated to complete a picture you painted. I am happy to be a sanguine among my family, especially with my “apo’s;” and my friends. I am retired as you may have noticed from my posts.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                A melanguine?

              • NHerrera says:

                A melanguini sounds more like it. I love noodles — must come from my Chinese ancestry.

                Top of the morning to you, too, edgar.

              • stpaul says:

                Sir NH ,
                Chemrock, thanks😊

        • Haha, “zhit”. Can’t stop laughing . . .

        • karlgarcia says:

          Oh Zhit!

    • karlgarcia says:

      I agree Will, 24k gold but unlike that bullion thing that went on recently,Joe’ s gold bullion of wisdom is no scam.
      Discernment, I need to put that to heart and brain.

  2. andrewlim8 says:

    POINTERS for MEDIA PROFESSIONALS (not trolls or fake journalists like Uson) TO HELP MAINTAIN INTEGRITY

    1. Whenever Duterte or any public official makes an assertion without proof or evidence, STATE IT in the headline or in the lead. Examples: “Without offering proof, Pres Duterte slammed so and so…:

    “Without evidence, Duterte claims exchange rate manipulation”

    2. Whenever there are contradictions with previous statements, STATE IT in the headline or in the report.

    Example: Duterte remarked today that… This was in direct contradiction with his previous statements last year…:

    HEADLINE: Duterte: Kill my son if he is involved in drugs
    sub HEADLINE: Is this proof of EJK as govt policy?

  3. Jun says:

    Great piece Joe! And kudos to rappler. Also, you can check verafiles.org and pcij.org, from time to time they do decent investigative journalism. I think the main problem with the Philippine mainstream media practitioners is they put too much premium on neutrality (or appearance of neutrality), oftentimes to the detriment of truth. When Du30 accuses someone of being a drug addict or a narcopolitician, for example, the media’s knee-jerk reaction is to immediately ask the accused for his/her reaction or defense instead of asking DU30 for proof of his allegation (note to media: THE PURPORTED DRUG MATRIX IS NOT PROOF). Up to now I haven’t heard any reporter ask the president for the factual basis of the several iterations of his drug matrix.

  4. Ed Maglaque says:

    My take on this: First, I don’t think there are anymore ‘tyrants’ in the editorial room who rule with true journalistic knowledge, ethics and devil-be-damned attitude; Eds who whip reporters into bringing correct news to the public. If there are still any, they might already be tired, worn-out or corrupted by the system. Or perhaps they are under strict orders not to rock the boat too much or make waves, media being, after all, business. Second, perhaps a lot them have skeletons they don’t want trotted out by a loose-cannon administration whose main defenders are open, certified amoral people who, being such, would have no compunction at all to hit them where it hurts – their image. Can you imagine a ‘respected’ editor/media owner being pilloried for transgressions? What happens then to the credibility of their media? (Socio-political blackmail has been one of the main reasons why truths have not really come out in Philippine society; hence justice has been poorly served. But that’s another story).

    On 9/27/17, The Society of Honor: the Philippines

    • Edgar Lores says:

      There are respected newspapers out there in the world. There was a time when there were respected media here.

      Out there, there are The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. There are magazines like The Atlantic, Time, and Newsweek.

      Here, there were the Inquirer during the time of Marcos and the Free Press magazine.

      Part of the problem, as mentioned, is the non-independence of owners and the staff side. Other parts of the problem may be the inordinate power of the presidency and the quality of the readership.

      As noted by JoeAm, Rappler has not succumbed to the denigration of the President. I find that InterAksyon is critical of the administration as well. This editorial for instance:


      • It is indeed important to note when major media here do work responsibly, as GMA did in airing “Alaala” recently, about martial law.

        The President yesterday went on a rampage against the owner of ABS-CBN, an example of how free and responsible journalism is being intimidated these days. Donald Trump does the same thing. Journalists will either bow, or stand, and my article is intended to provoke more standing up. It is unfair to an extent, given these examples.

    • Yes, Ed. The amount of pressure being applied to publishers, as a part of the President’s overall propaganda push, is extreme.

      • NHerrera says:

        It is a truism but still useful to state in the context of the current blog: any Head of Government such as President Aquino criticize the media occasionally, but when done ad nauseam and in clearly intimidating language then dictatorship — although not labeled as such by the docile media — is unmistakable.

  5. josephivo says:

    So true, and it is only half the story. In communication you have senders and receivers, discernment is needed at both sides. Today’s receivers have a reduced attention span, a logic argument needing more than half a sentence will be lost. We are used a loud sounds too, echo chambers became a comfortable place to hide. “The customer is king” is understood as you have to give the “king” what he wants, not what he needs.

    Even the best media in the Philippines will fail if the listeners/readers will not do effort to understand what is said, if they only react on emotional impulses.

  6. karlgarcia says:

    Tabloid journalism was a wakeup call by Joe then and it is still a wake up call now.

    Jst a few days ago Sabtang Basco reminded us about a phrase coined by a friend(Renato Pacifico) which was pekeng peryodista.

    Discernment by of sender and receiver as excellently stated by joseph is needed at both sides.

  7. madlanglupa says:

    I wish the old man should just keep quiet and let us have another day without thinking about him ranting and flaming behind the podium as if anything from his cranky head has something important and earth-shaking to say.

    It doesn’t help that some journalists (Tulfo, Navarro-Pedrosa, Taberna, etc.), and some publications and broadcasters have partisan tendencies and biases strongly influenced by their belief systems, but then in most cases so-called “citizen journalism” on social media only manages to make things worse.

    They have to stop being nice to that old man in the Palace, stop entertaining his inane dirge-like speeches that amounted to much like Chavez’s “Alo Presidente”, and start realizing how much they’re causing damage to the Filipino psyche as their produce is unfortunately their only source of information and literacy. But then ratings is money, so why kill the golden goose? Ignorance is bliss, right? Bad news is good news? Which is why we have some mind-numbing entertainment for which to distract the masses, anywhere from over-the-top soap operas to imported Byzantine intrigue with a fantasy wrapper.

    In any case, again I say I no longer have television in my room, just a Twitter feed.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Aside from lies and flip flops, he keeps on rambling about his bitterness about something unrelated to the occasion he was invited to talk.
      Duterte supporters call yelows “bitter” , they have the king if bitters as their idol.

      • popoy says:

        If I may, I like to join the discourse of TSOH erudites on their dissection of leader personality types using the grains of philosophy. psychology, sociology, punditry, eche buchechology, etc.

        I like to offer a two-cents worth of discordance; my own, which WEEKS AGO was rejected by my guru for being stylistically difficult to understand. And could have little illuminating value to an issue or mission of blogosphere. I did not know then IT will be (prescient as NHerrera’s word) the topic of discussion about the bulls eye (PresDu30) of reasoned criticism.

        To be more vague it’s about a leader’s failure of DISCERNMENT on Heraclitus “Know thyself” and “Your Character is your Fate.” I tried to KNOW MYSELF by clicking on my avatar and there was nothing there. I think it can be DISCERNED what and who really is the poem talking about.


        It defies reason and disable sanity
        It disintegrates logic and cripples normalcy
        It kills innocent rhyme as it glorifies crime
        To stop crime to kill it by another crime.

        To be admired yet not care to be loved
        To be gentle yet be cruel
        To be human and be its opposite
        To rule by misrule
        To do good by being evil
        To be devilish to be angelic.

        To be a patriot yet not know treason
        To fight for sovereignty but not a country
        To deny money and gold
        yet forget the selling of one’s soul
        sells too his country’s own.

        Soldiery is power, policing is power
        Soldiers are trained to kill for country
        Cops to serve and protect its citizenry
        It is heinous mockery
        not dreams but nightmares
        When police and soldiers
        Are wrongly used in the name
        Of people’s welfare.

        Very SELDOM it does happen
        Even when the world has in a hand
        Only three fingers, but when a finger
        Chooses Martial Law to ride the tiger
        The other hundred fingers
        Will be watching.

        The world weeps with its citizenry
        for its recalcitrant and innocents
        until the tiger stops and sooner
        dislodges and eats muscles, bones,
        tendons and ligaments of free loaders
        life blood of a Martial Law rider.

        Few may be, but riders will be born
        Anywhere or somewhere to bring to life
        without fail a tragic inevitable mourn

  8. Miela says:

    One unfortunate thing that the MSM did was to “cheapen” Tagalog and local languages. Sensationalistic and “gory” news are usually in the local languages; while more “sophisticated” news is in English. Just look at the contrast between TV Patrol and ANC News. TV Patrol is so “bakya” while ANC does have more “mannered” way of delivering news

  9. Marlene Ocampo says:

    Entertainment media seem to have started the undecerning media attitude where trivialities matter more than decency and truth.

    • Yes, but I’d say it is demand driven, and they give people what they want, based on what surveys or show ratings say. It takes a special discipline to report news in a way that is meaningful, and there is no FCC here that includes a review of that when broadcaster licenses come due. Print media are pretty much on their own as to whether or not they take pride in being a responsible fourth estate. I actually think most do, but President Duterte is applying a LOT of pressure to get them to slant in his favor.

  10. alicia m. kruger says:

    It has been difficult to discern the nations opinion before JoeAm, but thank goodness for the insulting CHR budget boo-boo by clowns in the House, Filipinos of tunnel vision are now slowly seeing straight despite the Fake News Brigade’s hocus-pocus.

    Another blunder, I hope by fools in the House and Senate will make people realize the extent on how their elected incompetent and self-serving lawmakers are running the country to the ground.

    I also hope that Filipinos should not worry too much about puppets. They should worry about the guy pulling the strings instead.

    • I see many who are attacking the President directly on social media. My own approach originated long ago in a blog that said how the institutions of the Philippines behave really defines the future for the PH. So I work the institutions a lot, of which journalism is one. It is cause for rejoicing when one of those institutions, like CHR or even the Senate on the EJK vote, demonstrate an allegiance beyond the President.

  11. NHerrera says:

    In today’s Editorial titled “Misrepresenting reality,” Inquirer paints the Philippines as going international or global in ASEAN and UN fora in its penchant for misrepresenting reality, the editorial generously not labeling it as “fake” news.

    This time it is not just a journalist doing the purveying but the PH top diplomat — the crusading Senator turned Philippine top diplomat Cayetano. (And if I may add: the man for all seasons when it serves his personal interest.)


    • Cayetano’s consultant is Nieto (Thinking Pinoy) and his request (per Andanar) to have Uson by his side at UNGA made me surmise that he is surrounded by “gamers” as advisors. These pro-Duterte bloggers turned legitimate public officials are potent in influencing a lot of people in believing that PRD cannot do anything wrong. I am not saying that Cayetano is gullible but he made a decision to ally himself with the administration and he needs Nieto and Uson to fortify his chosen stance. Classic GIGO scenario (old computing parlance).

  12. chemrock says:

    “The mood of the nation has changed”

    You write explicitly well Joe. What a crying shame that media was unable to grasp it. A facebook commentator told the world in one simple meme. It showed a picture of pro-Duterte rally on the left with the sexual gyrating dancers on stage and a passionless crowd, and on the right anti-martial protesters energetically singing the national anthemn in the rain. It showed clearly the mood and the hearts of the nation.

    The 17,000 or is it 6,000 (PNP still can’t make up their minds) pro-duterte crowd, majority of them marshalled from govt offices (that’s why Duterte declared it a public holiday, what a shitty public policy — does any know how much the one day’s loss is to the economy?) — the pathetic crowd screams at media to write the headline “THE DUTERTE MAGIC IS OVER!” . But no one discerned it.

    We are indeed at the tipping point if the SWS survey is right.

    There are many who are too dumb to see the mood swing. Take copycat Sotto for one. He is now copying Trillanes trying to go sue a blogger who said something bad about some brown nosed senators, which by his action, he is self-implicating himself.

  13. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    Take a break from the deadly serious blog topic and comments.

    Cowboy-hat wearing Roy Moore wins the primary over Trump’s endorsed current Senator Luther Strange. Is that strange? Now CNN reports that Trump is livid about endorsing that strange fellow. Trump does not want a loser.

    • NHerrera says:

      I am not done yet with the above post. The phrase of the day or week at Washington is “Losing is bad for his brand.” And to use a variation of stpaul’s post above on personality types, we should have a fifth category — Unfunny Clown. I have another one in mind too for that category. But enough of this break already.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Anoher break, this is unrelated to your post, forgive me for placing it here.

      Hugh Heffner just passed. Thanks for Playboy!

      • NHerrera says:

        The granddaddy of the Bunny is dead at 91. Long live Playboy!

        But seriously, that just goes to show that man is mortal, including a Trump or a Duterte — although their rabid supporters with their blinders may think otherwise.

      • Edgar Lores says:

        Thanks, Hugh!

  14. andrewlim8 says:


    Imagine if Duterte had a Twitter account:

    140 character era: druga, druga, druga …

    280 character era: druga, druga,druga

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  15. NHerrera says:


    Hurray for Australia for combatting fake stories. A wellness blogger Belle Gibson — who gained fame for saying that she used alternative therapies after conventional cancer cure was found ineffective — was fined AusD 410,000 (PHP 16.4 million) for this false narrative; with she herself admitting that the story was made-up.


  16. So the Senate Majority are now admitting that there is EJK in PH? Are they dissenting from the administration’s narrative about EJK? Didn’t Cayetano just told UNGA participants that there’s no such thing happening in PH? Is this resolution by the Majority an appendage to the recent resolution that the Minority Senators filed and passed?

    “President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies in the Senate urged his administration Wednesday to “exert and exhaust all efforts” to stop extrajudicial killings.

    Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III led the Senate majority bloc in filing Senate Resolution No. 518, which condemned extrajudicial killings in the “strongest sense.””

    When is the next senatorial election? 2019?


  17. NHerrera says:


    I notice that after a little over a day after posting the current blog on PH journalism, it has already garnered 97 blog comments as I write, compared to the neighboring past blogs statistics of about 50 plus or minus in a day.

    It is probably because the blog topic connects well with the item on EJKs, fake news; and the perceptible changed behavior of different sectors, including the Legislators — showing a crack on the Administration armor.

  18. Sup says:

    Oh oh…there goes the fake machine again…. 🙂

    ”President Duterte on Tuesday night ribbed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, saying the defense chief was a secret agent of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    Speaking at the 120th anniversary of the Department of Justice, Mr. Duterte noted that Lorenzana lived in the United States for a long time.

    Lorenzana served as the Philippines’ defense and armed forces attaché and then as a special presidential representative for veterans affairs in Washington from 2002 to 2016.”


    • karlgarcia says:

      Another occasion another speech unrelated to the occasion.
      Puro na lang speaking engagement, parang laging gusto mapalakpakan.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Lorenzana made a comment about the budget of the CHR.
        Maybe Duterte took it personally.

        • It seems like VP Robredo and Sec Lorenzana are following the same playbook. Careful steps, nothing that could be taken as detrimental to the President personally, weighing in on issues from the standpoint of principles and constitutional meaning. I wonder if the President is getting tired of Sec Lorenzana refusing to bow and play puppet. His “American Spy” ‘joke’ the other day had a twinge of bitterness to it, and, for sure, the Secretary has not gone over to the China side, or the NPA side. The AFP may be the main stopping point to national martial law. The President has spent a lot of time and money trying to curry favors from the military, but they seem to see it for what it is, a slap in the honor.

          • karlgarcia says:

            He is a very bitter person, for sure all jokes are loaded . As Irineo opined, I don’t think he wants to antagonize the AFP.

          • NHerrera says:


            Everybody in TSH must have a sense of what I am writing below; it may be somewhat trite, but I am writing it anyway. It is a variation of Joe’s note above.

            I am glad that TSH, and many outside too, consider the Armed Forces — and here we must be very clear that it does not include PNP — as a stopping point or last bastion that holds up a significant part of our spirit.

            To be accurate and fair, I acknowledge that there are a lot holding the fort besides the AF, as TSH have discussed in so many blogs and comments. But the President’s tireless courtship of the group — which he has not demonstrated for other groups — is proof positive that indeed the AF is a big part of that bastion. He knows that if he cannot win the hearts and minds of the AF for his moves, his grand scheme cannot work. And every one from his servile Legislators and every Juan and Maria not fighting for survival every hour of the day knows that.

            So I offer my salute to you Soldiers and Officers of the Armed Forces. Please continue to make as proud of you.

    • That could only mean that Lorenzana is getting on his nerves for some reason. PRD is an expert at dog whistling. Watch the trolls dogpile on Lorenzana and spread this intrigue as truth in the next few days.


  19. Micha says:

    The internet has killed the old ideals of journalism. Because most media outlets have to struggle with enough revenue stream to keep up with the cost of maintaining one, they have no choice but to turn over ownership to those with deep pockets. And deep-pocketed owners have an agenda to pursue.

    When Prieto-Romualdez took ownership of the Inquirer, I wasn’t surprised that the paper’s journalistic quality started to decline. Real independence of its reporters and editorial staff became questionable.

    These patterns of agenda setting by media owners were seen elsewhere such as when Murdoch tried to acquire the struggling LA Times and Chicago Tribune. Jeff Bezos now owns Washington Post and Carlos Slim is part owner of NYT.

    Real objective journalism with the goal of informing the public is no longer the perceived (or even accepted) ideal. Agenda setting and propaganda became the norm such that the burden of discernment shifts from the propagator of the news to those who consume it. Reading between the lines is imperative if one were not to remain clueless.

    For those billionaire owners of major media outlets, it is so much easier to manipulate and exploit the impressions and reactions of readers and listeners if they (or at least, most of them) remain unsophisticated and naive consumers of what is being peddled. Ignorance is strength.

    The messenger is the message.

    Ramon Ang is buying the Inquirer not so much because it is a profitable enterprise but because it is a good microphone for the agenda of his boss.

    • NHerrera says:

      Which goes to show that the social media may be the go-to-media. But with the probable demise of the broadsheets we may see the social media dominated too by the Administration or money-guys, because that may be deemed by them as more effective — giving the deceived users the guise of freedom to choice their online source.

      CAVEAT. I may wrong about the dynamics of a paperless media or even a TV-less media. Because as long as there are no internet censors as in North Korea, the Opposing Internet Warriors may become at par or better than the Administration Internet Warriors — because the guys in the opposition, with their passion and zeal, have the usual superior intelligence and creativity than the bureaucrats, that is, if they get organized. In any case, I may be going too much into the murky future.

      • Micha says:

        In some very significant degree, the future is already here. And it doesn’t look very pretty.

        George Orwell saw the emerging dystopia decades ago.

    • This rings very true, I think. The messenger is the message, which is why many are seeking out new messengers, and starting to develop new skepticisms.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Duterte is antagonizing the military now, retired and active.
      He wants people to ask the military how much they bribed the ombudsman to dismiss their cases.

      Even if it is hypothetical, or even if its true. He is bitter with the ombudsmsn so he struck back.

      • NHerrera says:

        karl, I hope I am reading this statement right:

        He wants people to ask the military how much they bribed the ombudsman to dismiss their cases.

        This is devious. By saying that, even if no military officer — since the rank and file do not have the means — will admit to bribing an assumed corrupt ombudsman, it will plant in the peoples mind, and the media playing it up, the possibility of two things:

        – that the military officialdom is corrupt
        – that the Ombudsman is corrupt

        His servile Legislators and Communicators will then take the cue and with “witnesses” surfacing, we may have a De Lima Part 2.

        Also can you imagine a Military Officer coming out to say that he was a briber — even only to the tune of, say, P10,000? Will he not be doing a mess of his life?

        Is a puzzlement.

        • Micha says:

          Are there corrupt military official? Yes.

          Did they bribe the Ombudsman to dismiss their cases? In the absence of evidence we could only speculate on the probability.

          Will this exonerate Duterte on his hidden/unexplained wealth? Definitely NOT.

        • karlgarcia says:

          As far as the military coming out and openly admit to any bribing.
          Sabi nga ni Digong ” Why would I give him the pleasure”, at sabi naman ni Paul Ong este Polong, “No way”.

          Incidentally, AMLC wants no part if this saying that the report did not come from them, but says that the debits and credits wete added up to make it appear big.
          Where did the so-called misleading report come from then?


      • Miela says:

        That might end up backfiring on him. His policies/statements aren’t eye to eye with the military (China, US ties, whatever Duts is saying on Maute or NPA), and one move can cost him his presidency.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Maybe at the start, he will insist that he is only stating facts, but you are right, everything might backfire.

          • Miela says:

            We often forget how powerful the military as an institution is. There is a reason why in functioning democracies, it is in the interest of stability to keep them politically neutral…especially with militaries that successfully participated in ousting their commander-in-chief without hestitation.

  20. Sabtang Basco says:

    Philippine journalists and columnists use big words because they have small minds …
    Small minds quote dead big minds …

    Which comes first … dumb nation or dumb journalism
    dumb journalists or dumb schools
    dumb schools or dumb teachers

    Dumb politicians or dumb voters?
    Dumb nation or dumb politicians?

  21. karlgarcia says:

    So the body to investigate the Ombudsman is just a suggestion
    when all they need to have someone file an impeachment.


Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Source: Dumb journalism makes for a dumb nation […]

  2. […] via Dumb journalism makes for a dumb nation — The Society of Honor: the Philippines […]

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