...refers to news organizations for whom sensationalism, profiteering, and in some cases propaganda and jingoism, take dominance over factual reporting. Most cases tend to be related to journalistic bias, and the endemic practices of particular organizations to operate as mouthpieces, for rather limited and particular allegiances, rather than for the public trust.The term arose in the run-up to the Spanish-American War, when the newspaper empire of William Randolph Hearst was accused of inciting the American population to war with their particular brand of yellow journalism. This only attests to the lethal potential of unethical journalistic practices, of which our local demagagosphere is amply guilty. Just read any newspaper or flip on AM radio anywhere in the Archipelago, or indeed watch a titillating noon time show on TV featuring scantily clad women prancing around with children and old folks (as a vaccine against criticism) and midgets and hosted by Homo Sapiens Manyakis. In what is proudly called the only Roman Catholic country in Asia. Grotesque!
But the case of six US Marines accused of raping a 22-year old Filipina in Subic Bay earlier this month and the associated Visiting Forces Aggrievement have brought out the worst kind of yellow journalism from the country's largest circulation daily. The Philippine Daily Inquirer published last Friday a reprehensible editorial entitled Little Brown Brother which produced this comment thread at MLQ3's weblog, and his summary of the points raised there. This is a sad example of how the descendants of the victims of one mental illness--racism--can become afflicted with exactly the same disease, but with malice aforethought. Like the Wizards of the Ku Klux Klan. those white-hooded cowards of yesteryear, these same Wizards of Little Yellow Journalism, hide behind the anonymity of a great tradition in true journalism--the hard-hitting editorial--in order to incite hatred and enmity between Filipinos and Americans. (Sharpen your pencil now, please Mr. Ombudsman.)
ANONYMITY: I am not questioning the anonymity of editorials in general, but the use of a loaded racial epithet that the anonymous editorialist knew would excite the lust of a Leftist lynch mob in many ordinary citizens, who are naturally outraged at such an instance of alleged gang rape. This is an unethical ad hominem tactic intentionally designed to pressure Sec. Raul Gonzalez to throw the accused to those waiting lynch mobs (which are, fortunately, tiny and growing ever smaller as the returns on publicity diminish.) But this editorial will certainly rekindle any waning of enthusiasm on the part of the bloodthirsty. One gets the distinct feeling they won't settle for anything less than that because the process set up by the existing Visiting Forces Agreement might take too long. The Americans probably agree with that, but would come to a different conclusion than delivering their citizens into the custody of a justice system that has been unable to render justice in the case of at least two of its last Presidents. Anonymity is actually an honored tradition in the global blogosphere. But it is a "double-edged" tradition. Most anonymous posters on comment threads, for example, should expect less credibility than those who identify themselves. Like the communists, anonymity can be the hiding hole of cowards, or worse. But there is also the tradition that grants anonymity a specially honored place, when, as in the case of the top-rated Belmont Club, the Fil-Australian blogger Wretchard, argues not from a positon of personal authority or name recognition by his audience, but by the sheer power of his ideas. He is rated by Google as the same in audience reach as the Philippine Daily Inquirer. All by his lonesome! That should tell you what blogging can do, because there are hundreds of such blogs with audiences as large and bigger that the whole PDI. Run by individual citizens of the world. But Belmont Club's achievement is rare in any medium. In the world today, that Filipino-Australian is the only one I know who has pulled it off. But PDI's anonymous editorials actually speak as "the Voice of Omniscient Resentment", the prefered tone of Mr & Ms. Inquirer Personified. That is speaking from "personal authority" and ought not be given the benefit of the doubt on that account alone. Most people ignore the PDI editorials, I think for that reason. But not always..
ETHICS The editorial is a blatant violation of the Inquirer's own Journalist's Code of Ethics, which ironically has been published prominently by the paper during the last week, in the wake of their splendid lil war with the Palace, in particular Article VII:
VII. I shall not, in any manner, ridicule, cast aspersions on, or degrade any person by reason of sex, creed, religious belief, political conviction, cultural and ethnic origin.Pweh! The use of provocative hate-speech should be punishable by expulsion and disbarment from the profession, if the paper is really serious, because it precisely demeans the entire newspaper, which is deemed collectively to take the position of the editorial. The author of the editorial, intones the paper's Ombudsman, is the "Inquirer Personified."
So it is Mr. & Ms. Inquirer Personified that is damaged when a mere editorialist misrepresents the entire collective personality and abuses the privilege of anonymity. I think that editorial writing, while a part of opinion writing, nevertheless bears a heavier responsibility to uphold the so-called Inquirer Journalist's Code of Ethics.
Indeed, how would they even punish Mr or Ms. Inquirer Personified should a violation of their published Code of Ethics be found? Would they disbar Mr. or Ms. Inquirer Personified from the journalistic profession?
It is surely incumbent upon such editorialists to avoid scrupulously anything that would bring shame to the collective reputation of the paper. Provocative hate-speech mars the paper's reputation by making Mr. & Ms. Inquirer personify the ideological grotesquerie that IS ad hominem race-baiting. The unethical use of racial epithets as a polemical tool to incite hatred and umbrage in Filipinos against others, should be internally investigated by PDI just as they forced ABSCBN News to investigate Julius Babao after their own columnist, Ramon Tulfo ignited the Julius Babao Affair and the Missing Terrorist.
TOO LONG or TWO WRONG? Look what they and GMA did to Erap, according to Cory, who is probably sorry for the only democratically elected President who didn't have to cheat his way to office since her own time. Erap is languishing in jail (from terminal stupidity and boracherorismo.) after more than four years since being deposed in a coup d'etat perpetrated in 2001 by the self-confessed Cory Aquino, then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Jaime Cardinal Sin, and Chief Justice Hilario Davide (the main culprit) on 20 January 2001. Erap is charged and accused of plunder, like rape a capital offense. I believe he is guilty. But he is unconvicted, with his cases not even up to the Supreme Court. Why? Because he can't be convicted! He was illegally deposed. That fact is made crystal clear by the very defenses employed by the Palace in the extant case of Gloriagate. Of course nary a word now about Rule of Law or the lack of justice by an unconscionable delay in its delivery from the Little Yellow Journalist hatemongers at PDI. How do Presidencies end again Mr. & Ms. Inquirer Personified? To blame Erap for the delay is to miscomprehend GMA's compleat and utter hold on the justice system, a hold enforced by Media complicity in it in exchange for shoot-to-kill license for its character assassins and political snipers. What we have is not a government, but a political Mafia that run the government institutions in alternating turn, using the Main Stream Media much as Pravda and Izvestia were under the Soviet Union. (That's the true gang rape of the Filipino people.) My wish is for both Erap and GMA to be in jail, in side-by-side cells, with a 24/7 Webcamcast, to remind us again, that two wrongs just don't make a right.
AMERICAN NATIONALISM Knowing the Philippine judicial system is a hopeless morass right now obliges the US Military to protect the human rights of its soldiers and citizens, even if they are accused of rape, by shielding them from punishments that are not contemplated even by the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines. Such as an indefinite wait in Bilibid Prison. Placed in the same indefinite jeopardy, what Filipino would demand anything less than such protection from his or her government. Yet PDI and its Leftist coddlees demand that the US government not fulfill its Constitutional duties to its citizens, because it is beyond their conception that the US should be entitled to practice nationalism and constitutional democracy, itself. She is the only nation to be so deprived by the Philippine leftists, even as they stealthily infect the Filipino youth with their venomous mythologies. They would deny constitutional democracy to America, because ultimately, they would deny democracy to Filipinos too. It's a dictatorship of the broken record. Why is this so hard to accept: America MUST enforce its Constitution on behalf of its citizens because it is the right thing to do, not to recolonize the Philippines or to gang-rape her innocent women.
Philippine Daily Inquirer is expert at the sabungero technique of Philippine yellow journalism, in which cockfights are indeed ignited by PDI among two or more players, such as when they got Fidel V. Ramos to sweat bullets over the alleged contents of a U.S. intelligence report that he was involved in coup attempts this year, and the poor sucker, Tabako was actually issuing pleas to John Negroponte to have the US clear him. He never saw the hidden hand coming that pushed him into that recent embarrassing and completely avoidable cockfight with the Palace. PDI at its best, or worst.
I am of course at a great disadvantage in criticizing the people who buy more barrels of ink than anyone else in the Archipelago. Luckily I do not need ink myself and my transaction costs are practically nil. Any Internet Cafe in the world is my office, though this eight year computer in a dingy attic will do for now.
ROLE OF THE AMERICAN LEFT: I am sure that in the next few weeks we shall see an increase in the Inquirer's race-baiting tactics for handling the alleged rape incident. They are poring over old books and magazines for proof that racism and slavery existed in America for two hundred years. Expect to see a lot more stuff dredged up from a hundred years ago when the American Left supplied the modern Philippine Left with virtually all the ideas and memes that has sustained them all this time on a diet of hatred and resentment. Even the subject "little brown brother" was not a pejorative term to begin with. It was turned into a racist epithet by the U.S. Anti-imperialist League of that era. (Thanks to MLQ3 for reminding me of that history lesson.) This is perhaps the cruellest twist of all. Even our Leftist thinking is actually a form of colonial mentality--an anti-Americanism instilled in us by other Americans. So expect Mark Twain, the U.S. Anti-Imperialist League, Admiral George Dewey, Gen. Arthur MacArthur, Balangiga, to make a reappearnace along with the early history of the First Iraq. Here at Philippine Commentary I welcome this development and the opportunity to examine the memes that MLQ3 says claim sovereignty over the minds of this sad Archipelago.
FOR THE VICTIM: I agree with the conclusion in MLQ3's post that the problem is with Philippine officials. But the purpose of the editorial is really to micromanage the actions of the Justice Secretary by calling him a lackey of US imperialism, an Uncle Tom's Cabin character, a little brown brother and thus to enrage people at him and the six Americans, whom they dangle like meat to the ravenous wolves of leftist hatemongers in our public life. Save Atty Katrina Legarda whom I know is doing everything she can for the victim, as she should, as she must. But my advice to her is this:
To Atty. Katrina Legarda:: Appeal directly to the U.S. Military authorities investigating the case. Pursue the prosecution not through Philippine courts, but through the American justice system, with the help of four million Filipino Americans if necessary. Because here in the Philippines, your client will only be used as a virgin sacrifice in the Black-hearted Masses of the Organized Left, the durable cults of pathological resentment and a deep persecution complex abetted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The PDI editorial policy is to coddle left-wing causes and their allies, giving ideological aid and comfort and ample propaganda support for all sorts of front organizations of you know who. This relationship with the Left is invaluable in the pursuit of all the aforementioned branches of yellow journalism: sensationalism, profiteering, jingoism, and journalistic bias. The U.S. Military on the other hand is definitely more concerned than anybody else about the overall repercussions of this for the serious mission they have come here to accomplish. At a time of war, the US military will not look kindly upon anyone, but especially its own soldiers, who have endangered a critical mission. Contact our lawyers in America Katrina. There are so many of them who are pillars of the US legal community, so many of them who are respected and proud Americans, so many of them who have given up the treasure of their own young men in the field of America's battles. Remember: A Flower Grows in Babylon -- watered by the blood of brave Filipino-American soldiers who proudly, proudly gave their lives there, right or wrong, for love of their country, and ours. WE may forget, but I am sure the US Marines have not! Have not! Go to them for justice, it is our best hope.OPEN PHILIPPINE MEDIA TO FOREIGN OWNERSHIP: I am of course at a great disadvantage here, and I have no expectation of getting the Inquirer to grow up and change its behaviour and editorial policies. After all, I don't have to read their paper if I don't want to, and I am sure we shall hear from their various ombudspersonae other reasons to ignore one reader's concern. But there is an important thing I believe I will now support. It is to open up the market for news and opinion in the Philippines to any of the large global media players and allow foreign ownership of media here. Under the 1987 Constitution there is this quaint provision banning foreign ownership of newspapers, radio, tv and other media in the Philippines. I think that's silly. I would love for there to be foreign competition against these local journalistic Mafias that control our heads. (We can at least have a greater choice of Mafias.) Such free competition will be healthy for the Media and the public. It will force the weak and incompetent and morally deficient to get out, while those who uphold global standards of journalism ought to be able to survive. And even if they all die, I don't see how that would harm our freedom of speech or the public's right to know. It would likely increase the quality of the Media to have some foreign competition around here.
READERS: I have found few who support my position among those who have participated in the impassioned comment thread on this matter at MLQ3's site. But I appreciate the rare exception to the rule, Reader Carl:
I agree with the Dean 100%. The Inquirer was making references to Gonzalez being a brown “Uncle Tom”. It is abhorrent when any person, institution or organization resorts to blanket accusations against any race or nation. They should deal with the issues as they come, calmly and in clinical fashion. Xenophobia is the hallmark of people with inferiority complex. That is what is so disgusting about the Communist movement. Filipinos with an internationalist outlook are the Filipinos of tomorrow. They are multicultural and are at home anywhere in the world. They have no inferiority complex and will find ways to succeed, never mind if the previous generations made a mess of their homeland.
CAVEAT: The PDI is not a monolith though job positions are "hereditary" and the work force is "really a mass organization only masquerading as a newspaper," according to a former editor. But all my negative comments about PDI on this post apply to "Inquirer Personified"--whoever, or whatever that may be. The innocent will just have to accept my regrets for the company that keeps them. The problem with traditional media, like PDI, is that they want to always be "the Voice of Omniscience"--they want to set the nation's agenda. In fact, after a lot of mutual admiration while working on the next day's edition, they actually think they do, and joke about it. I've personally witnessed such depravity. They want all the bandwidth? Now they can't have it all!
Full Disclosure: For eight years between 1996 and 2004, the author of this post. of his own free will and volition, contributed a weekly essay on culture, science, history or politics to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, first to its Lifestyle Section, and then starting in 1999, by casual invitation, to the Opinion/Editorial section. The paper, of its own free will and volition, never rejected any of his contributions, publishing every single one, over 300 articles in all, including a regular Monday Commentary, in the space now used by Manuel L. Quezon III. But he never signed any legal contract with the newspaper, though one was offered several times. He may proudly state that though the paper published his work, he was never its employee, not for a single day in those eight years. And happily so as all he was ever interested in was writing the truth as he sees it, in the most enjoyable and thought-provoking ways that he could find. He was never a part of the Main Stream Media in that contractual sense. His departure from the Inquirer was unaccompanied by controversy or fuss and was a nonevent. Nevertheless, he became familiar with the workings and propaganda techniques of this particular newspaper, which has a vast experience and know-how in the destabilization and overthrow of dictators AND presidents.]
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And may I add that Bloggers have the same RESPONSIBILITIES and DUTIES that are contained in the professional Journalist's Code of Ethics (from NUJP:)
Journalist's Code of Ethics
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.
I. I shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts nor to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis. I recognize the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly.
II. I shall not violate confidential information on material given me in the exercise of my calling.
III. I shall resort only to fair and honest methods in my effort to obtain news, photographs and/or documents, and shall properly identify myself as a representative of the press when obtaining any personal interview intended for publication.
IV. I shall refrain from writing reports that will adversely affect a private reputation unless the public interest justifies it. At the same time, I shall fight vigorously for public access to information.
V. I shall not let personal motives or interests influence me in the performance of my duties, nor shall I accept or offer any present, gift or other consideration of a nature that may cast doubt on my professional integrity.
VI. I shall not commit any act of plagiarism.
VII. I shall not, in any manner, ridicule, cast aspersions on, or degrade any person by reason of sex, creed, religious belief, political conviction, cultural and ethnic origin.
VIII. I shall presume persons accused of crime of being innocent until proven otherwise. I shall exercise caution in publishing names of minors and women involved in criminal cases so that they may not unjustly lose their standing in society.
IX. I shall not take unfair advantage of a fellow journalist.
X. I shall accept only such tasks as are compatible with the integrity and dignity of my profession, invoking the “conscience clause” when duties imposed on me conflict with the voice of my conscience.
XI. I shall conduct myself in public or while performing my duties as journalist in such manner as to maintain the dignity of my profession. When in doubt, decency should be my watchword.