Tough luck and too bad for Ricky Lo of the Philippine Star. He may have just become the latest citizen of Filipino society to put his foot in his mouth. In his most recent breaking news story he had reported that TV5 big boss Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) had virtually confirmed the merger between TV5 and GMA7.
Take note of the phrase virtually confirmed. Ricky Lo did not say explicitly confirmed. Yes, you may argue that one word doesn’t make that big a difference. However, in this circumstance it does. In using the former, Ricky Lo basically assumed that what MVP was saying referred to the merger too, although MVP did not explicitly confirm it.
My former boss always used to tell me something: if you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME. Why would a columnist like Ricky Lo make such a rookie mistake? Even if you’re not a journalist, it is such a no-no to take the words out of someone’s mouth. It is a cardinal sin to not ask for clarification if one is not sure.
In fact, part of the Journalist’s Code of Ethics is to make sure that nothing is suppressed or distorted from the facts:
1. I shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts or to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis. I recognise the duty to air the other side and the duty to correct substantive errors promptly.
Then again, we shouldn’t really be surprised at the decline of the quality of reportage of media here in the Philippines anymore. Definitely, mistakes in reporting like this should not go unnoticed, nor unpunished, for that matter. It’s still a far cry, though, from the mockery, unintentional or not, perpetuated by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Demetrio Vicente when he was a witness in the Corona impeachment trial a few months back.
We should be expecting a statement from the Philippine Star anytime soon. An apology would be nice, however it may hurt the Pinoy ego.
Apparently, since this was “big news”, MVP himself had no choice but to clear the air. Excerpt from the statement below;
“You know, all I said was: Please support TV5 here in the states. And by the way, please support GMA7, too, since Dish carries GMA. That was all. No mention of merger, investment, combination. Certainly no mention of a November deadline or any deadline at all. Sure, some people speculated, and all I said was I can now say we are under discussion but nothing has been finalized at this time.”
And, the following statement from Chief Executive Ray Espinosa:
“He did not say there was an agreement to merge TV5 and GMA7. The TV5-GMA7 bundled offering is a marketing strategy of the Dish Network to provide a rich and compelling lineup of Filipino content for Pinoys in the West Coast. This does not mean TV5 and GMA7 have agreed to merge”
If we think about it long enough, the importance of the merger of TV5 and GMA7 is overrated. Big deal, instead of three (3) media outfits dumbing down Pinoys with their senseless drivel we will have two (2). Perhaps they should include in their negotiations efforts to get rid of the mindless drivel and trashy programs that Filipino TV channels have long been known for. With potentially all those vast resources that the emerging big company will have at its disposal, this is a big opportunity for MVP to improve the landscape of Philippine television. Is it too much to ask?
Morals of the story:
Don’t sacrifice accuracy for sensationalism.
Always clarify things that are unclear.
Don’t expect too much from businessmen. They’re more concerned about their bottom line than lifting you up from yours.
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