Sunday, January 28, 2007

Philippine Daily Innuendo

YELLOW JOURNALISM is a highly advanced art form in the Philippine Media. (They've learned form the Masters and already far exceeded them in subtlety and malice.) I try to record the most egregious examples for posterity.

Today's Sunday PDI for example has the banner headline: Bush to GMA: Good job

This follows a telephone call from the US President congratulating the Philippines for ending the careers of Abu Sayyaf "spiritual leader" Khadaffy Janjalani and its "overall commander" Abu Sulaiman.

Now when you read the article and look through the White House dispatches, you find out that the President George W. Bush never actually used the words "Good job." The PDI consigliere-ombudsman, Raul Palabrica, or its editors and publishers, would probably counter that the paper didn't put these words in quotation marks, but the malicious intent of the headline is pretty clear. The paper wants its readers to think that their President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is really just a Lackey of America--which has been their mentally unbalanced editorial position, especially with respect to the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Subic Bay rape case, and any number of issues affecting Philippine American relations.

The newspaper Philippine Daily Inquirer, which styles itself as nationalistic and patriotic, makes the contention that the War on Terror is just America's war, and that we don't really have a stake in it. Their take since 9/11 is that the Philippines is vulnerable to America's enemies only because the Philippines is America's friend. To them, the reasons terrorists have attacked the Philippines is because of our close relations with the United States. The paper has consistently opposed anti-terrorism legislation as subject to abuse, misdirected, or a danger to civil liberties. (As if life were not civil right of terrorism's victims!). The broadsheet has never quite grown up about Philippine American relations, which they still regard in victimological terms.

Now if anything galls me about what is happening in Mindanao, it is the fact Gloria and not the soldiers and officers responsible for the severe degradation of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group (which PDI used to portray as a mere kidnap for ransom and bandit gang, and which even in today's article they describe as "extremist"--as if there were "moderate" terrorists in Mindanao.) gets the glory. I seem to recall an interview by Pia Hontiveros last week of a newly decorated Marine who participated in the firefights that killed Janjalani and Sulaiman. He mentioned one Col. Angel Querubin as a role-model of Filipino insurgent fighters, being only one of two Medal of Valor awardees. Ironically, Querubin is currently charged with rebellion in Court Martial proceedings along with the Oakwood mutineers, who were also our most sterling defenders in battles with Muslim and communist insurgents. They are actually in trouble with GMA and the AFP hierarchy for battling endemic corruption there and trying, perhaps ineptly, to expose it. I think this aspect of it is the most painful -- that the Just, and the Brave, are punished to keep the Wicked in power.

The authoritative analysis of recent events in Mindanao is at the Belmont Club (Part 1 and 2) and Pajamas Media, whose Sydney, Australia editor, Richard Fernandez, has been writing from the Archipelago the last few months, in case you haven't noticed.

By the way, I got an interesting email from The Hillblogger (Anna de Brux) who blogs from Europe, on CSAFP Hermogenes Esperon's fashion sense--
Hi Dean,

An 'official picture' of the military with GMA and General H Esperon, CSAFP and DND Sec E Ermita appeared on the front page of of The Philippine Daily Inquirer.

I was shocked to see in that picture, the chief of staff AFP in a formal pose in the middle of the troops fresh from a battle front in the South sporting civilian attire. The chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines seriously committed a breach of military protocol.

If for the sake of argument, General Esperon was caught in the middle of two engagements requiring him to don a civilian attire, (1) he should have refused to pose in an official military pictorial that he knew would be published in a major broadsheet; it is very unlikely that he didn’t know that it would be published, he needn’t have joined the pictorial (2) if he, as CSAFP, agreed to pose in the middle of the valiant uniformed troops in civilian attire, he should have made sure that the picture would remain in the bottom drawer of the AFP official archives, unpublished in any of the nation's broadsheets.

All said, Mr Esperon committed grave indescretion vis a vis the Philippine military - he was UNECESSARILY LAX. There COULD HAVE BEEN NO EXCUSE, absolutely NONE!

I’ve met many chiefs of staff, Philippine and foreign, and allow me to tell you that a military officer in that position, cannot allow himself the slightest error particularly over something that could have been EASILY avoided, i.e., appearing in OFFICIAL pictorials with troops fresh from the battlefront… This wasn’t a birthday party - this was an official military PICTORIAL that would reverberate the world over because the picture will have been picked up by the various military attachés assigned in the Philippines and forwarded to their home office! As we speak, a few foreign military officers who saw the published picture would be surprised to see the AFP leadership so lax and I suspect, given the AFP's not too outstanding reputation in the military world, they would think the Philippines as having a 'second rate' military just because General Esperon had been lax.

Could you imagine, General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief UK Army posing in civvies in an official function with uniformed troops who had just got back from the battle front? Firstly, it would never have happened, secondly, he WOULD BE SACKED if it happened -there would be great public clamor to replace him, he would be severely criticised and relentlessly so in the British press, virtually roasted alive.

The chief of a nation's military cannot BE LAX, particularly when it could be easily avoided. No ifs, no buts! If the military chief is lax, the troops become lax. If General Esperon wants an excuse to be lax, then he must resign and return to civilian life.

No wonder the Philippine military is in shambles! Its chief is lax…

Anna

3 comments:

john marzan said...

YELLOW JOURNALISM is a highly advanced art form in the Philippine Media. (They've learned form the Masters and already far exceeded them in subtlety and malice.) I try to record the most egregious examples for posterity.

Today's Sunday PDI for example has the banner headline: Bush to GMA: Good job

This follows a telephone call from the US President congratulating the Philippines for ending the careers of Abu Sayyaf "spiritual leader" Khadaffy Janjalani and its "overall commander" Abu Sulaiman.

Now when you read the article and look through the White House dispatches, you find out that the President George W. Bush never actually used the words "Good job." The PDI consigliere-ombudsman, Raul Palabrica, or its editors and publishers, would probably counter that the paper didn't put these words in quotation marks, but the malicious intent of the headline is pretty clear.


bush did praise arroyo for nailing janjalani and sulaiman.

did PDI have "malicious intent" in their "good job" headline? i don't think so. in fact, i'm pretty sure tuwang tuwa si arroyo diyan, because it means she doesn't have to worry about losing US backing despite her ehem... numerous issues.

and remember the front page PDI headline noong 2003, where it said that bush "wanted GMA to run" in 2004 IIRC (the PDI was still pro-arroyo back in 2003, and they were supportive of the RP-US relations because they knew it would help arroyo and they knew that most filipinos are pro-US and even pro-Iraq war back then)

at ginamit yan ng mga spinmasters ni arroyo ang headline na yan to convince people na the US is behind her, and RP-US relations might be damaged if somebody else other than arroyo wins the elections. if the US is behind her, that means more aid, and more investments, yes? so that gave her another reason to break her promise of not running in 04.

The paper wants its readers to think that their President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is really just a Lackey of America--which has been their mentally unbalanced editorial position, especially with respect to the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Subic Bay rape case, and any number of issues affecting Philippine American relations.

she can be a "lackey" of the US if she wants to, or turn around and play the china card. SHE'S VERSATILE!

Rizalist said...

John,
The PDI has been claiming forever that she is a lackey of the Americans, even if they know she is versatile. But do they ever criticize China like they do America? NO! They are sentimentalists for the Cold War when liberalism was something people could afford. They want a counterweight to the superpower in China.

It is an important point for them to establish that the US still controls the Philippine Government. That way anything that happens next can be blamed on it. Anything.

john marzan said...

The PDI has been claiming forever that she is a lackey of the Americans, even if they know she is versatile.

siguro depende na yan sa sitwasyon. kapag questionable ang legitimacy niya, because of the extra-consitutional way she was installed into power after edsa dos, or the election rigging issue of 2004, kailangang-kailangan niya ang political support ng US.

pero kapag naayos na niya ang legitimacy issue nya, she tends to show her "independence" and distance herself from the US and iraq, kapag akala nyang tapos na ang political problems niya.

But do they ever criticize China like they do America? NO! They are sentimentalists for the Cold War when liberalism was something people could afford.

they have criticized some of the shady china deals w/ the RP and chinese incursion with RP territory, smuggling and chinese illegals, but they've criticized the US more. naturally, kasi mas malaki talaga ang impluensiya ng US sa bansa natin, economically and POLITICALLY. after hello garci, arroyo was willing to quit playing the china card for an even "stronger" RP-US relations. because alam niyang US political support (not china's) is key to her legitimacy issue.

besides, china is an emerging power in Asia, US influence in Asia is even bigger, kahit na hindi naman nasa asya ang US. dahil may military bases ito sa japan, south korea at pinas.

Siguro, kapag may Red Army na naka-base sa chinatown (at may Chinese version rin ng VFA with RP), malamang magiging isang target rin ito ng media at pundits natin.

I myself am supportive of the US presence here, dahil nakita natin ang malaking tulong na nagagawa nila sa mindanao. imagine, kung walang US funding sa mindanao, eh di aasa pa ang mga taga-mindanao sa administrasyon ng pera (good luck) o sa saudi charities for funding. di yung mga wahabbis pa ang magpapatayo ng schools (madrassas) at kalsada sa mindanao? eh di ma-raradicalize ang mga kabataang muslim doon na pumasok sa mga madrassas na yan. besides, the US military will keep an eye on our corrupt military, para hindi na mangyari dati yung mga nabalitaang collusion between some abu sayyaf members/MILF rebels and corrupt military officials.

mindanao is iraq without it's terrorist neighbors iran and syria.

They want a counterweight to the superpower in China.

i don't know about that statement. i'll have to disagree with that one, Dean.

It is an important point for them to establish that the US still controls the Philippine Government. That way anything that happens next can be blamed on it. Anything.

i think it is more accurate to say that arroyo is willing to accomodate anything the US wants in exchange for political support for her illegal and corrupt admin. the duplicitous arroyo's the one who's been aggressively pursuing the US whenever any major political problems arise that can overthrow her admin. yes, Arroyo has been a "strong" US ally lately again, and Arroyo expects somethign in return.

btw, i don't think the status quo on RP-US relations will change if the opposition or the drilon/villar faction comes into power. but the US is obviously using it's "realist" foreign policy pagdating sa pinas.