‘Journalists’ defending Noynoy’s latest tirade miss the point


Conflict of interest – this is the argument being thrown around by certain people in defense of Noynoy’s speech at the TV Patrol silver anniversary last July 27. Rappler writer Chay Hofileña and self-professed investigative journalist Ellen Tordesillas are at the forefront of this “argument” with their big virtual mouths.

Conflict of interest, simplified, means using your position within an institution to gain a personal advantage for another company or firm which you are also part of or whose people in power you are related to.

Rappler and Tordesillas are asserting, therefore, that Kabayan Noli de Castro’s stint as Vice-President under Gloria Arroyo’s cabinet has seriously compromised his current credibility as a journalist. Noli de Castro has no right to complain now about Aquino’s government and presidency, because he remained silent during the 6 years of “irregularities” during Arroyo’s term. It is hypocritical of him to do so.

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I think they got confused by this definition of conflict of interest on Wikipedia:

“A conflict of interest (COI) occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other.”

In all likelihood, they got carried away by the presence of the word “corrupt” in the definition above, and they automatically thought that just because Noli de Castro used to be Arroyo’s vice-president, then there’s already a “conflict of interest” because Arroyo is “corrupt”. Therefore, he is too.

The only readily evident conflict of interest here is between Rappler’s claim to be “igniting smart conversations and a thirst for change”, and their blatant ass-kissing, pandering yellow journalism towards BS Aquino and his allies.

While I do not condone the sensationalized and oftentimes exaggerated reporting by local media outfits such as ABS-CBN, by no means do I find anything even remotely justifiable with BS Aquino’s spoiled brat tirade either.

Let’s go back to Rappler’s and Tordesillas’ original question: so why did he remain silent all those years? The answer is so simple yet so profound, but it will continue to fly over the heads of small-minded Filipinos:

Because he was the vice-president under Arroyo’s term.

Any corporate cog with even a two-bit brain knows that you should never complain about your higher-up while you are still in his/her employ. To do so would mean career suicide.

Apparently, loyalty and keeping one’s mouth shut are such alien concepts here in the Philippines. After all, Pinoys love to whine and complain incessantly just about everything. We are not exactly known for restraint, much less discipline. We are a “democracy” indeed.

Remember the loyalty pledge we were made to memorize in our Citizen’s Army Training days?

If you work for a man, in heaven’s name work for him. If he pays you wages which supply you bread and butter, work for him; speak well of him; stand by him, and stand by the institution he represents. If put to a pinch, an ounce of loyalty is worth a pound of cleverness. If you must vilify, condemn, and eternally disparage, resign your position, and when you are outside, damn to your heart’s content, but as long as you are part of the institution do not condemn it. If you do that, you are loosening the tendrils that are holding you to the institution, and at the first high wind that comes along, you will be uprooted and blown away, and will probably never know the reason why.

The inevitable follow-up question: why isn’t he speaking up now that he’s back in the anchor’s chair? That’s a good question, actually, to give Hofileña and Tordesillas credit, yet I don’t think it is the first one we need to answer.

“What’s the point of bringing it up now” is.

For a moment, let’s forget about who the past president was and ask a few simple questions. Should de Castro’s performance as vice-president (or lack of it) have any bearing on what he has to say now? Does de Castro’s association with Gloria Arroyo negate any right for him to view his opinions and criticism today? Whatever Noli said or did not say does not change what he can say today. The most valid criteria upon which to evaluate Noli’s current criticism would be whether he can back it up with facts and figures. His performance as vice-president, and whoever was the president at that time, is irrelevant.

It’s easy to see therefore, that instead of framing whatever “argument” they had around the idea of being able to back up criticism with solid proof, Rappler and Tordesillas chose to focus on Noli’s association to an allegedly corrupt official Arroyo to make their point. This is why they miss the point yet again.

Once again, these so called “online journalists” are throwing around a highfaluting term in order to make their small ideas seem bigger than they actually are. All they want to say is that anybody associated with Arroyo has no right to criticize BS Aquino. They are guilty of corruption and loss of moral ascendancy by association, period. Never mind that as of now, BS Aquino’s government is still struggling to put a decent case together to charge Arroyo with.

If you want to complain, like Rappler did, of the “revolving door” between media and politics, Noli de Castro is not the one to hang out to dry. You can blame the dysfunction in Filipino culture that allows severely under-qualified candidates like Noli to run for the vice-presidency and win by popular vote. Before I forget, this is also the same way that Noynoy won the presidency now. So in effect, Noli and Noynoy aren’t too different from each other as politicians. Media outfits such as ABS-CBN and Rappler, whether they are aware of it or not, had contributed to this dysfunction, and this irony will simply fly over their heads.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s words ring truer than ever before:

Small minds discuss people;
Mediocre minds discuss events;
Great minds discuss ideas.

Perhaps these so-called “online journalists” and “social media networks” should leave the thinking to those who can do it properly. They’re best suited to gathering gossip at hen parties which is the level of journalism that they excel in.

That’s the Philippines for you, a society where the wrong arguments always win, and where the people willingly surrender their capacity to think for themselves because it’s much easier.

26 Replies to “‘Journalists’ defending Noynoy’s latest tirade miss the point”

  1. The most hypocritical person here is Pnoy himself. How dare he accuse Noli de Castro of not doing anything when he himself is guilty of the same thing?

    A few questions that test Pnoy’s integrity:

    1. Why didn’t Pnoy speak up when he was senator about the perceived corruption of GMA?2. Why did Lito Lapid beat him in number of bills passed?
    3. Why didn’t Tarlac improve during his stint as their congressman?
    4. Why did he keep silent about the SCTEX Haciend Luisita exit being paid for by the government instead of his family?

    The simple answer folks, is that Pnoy is corrupt himself. Corruption isn’t only about stealing from the people – it is abusing the power your position gives you. Pnoy and his PR group just cleverly spun the definition to just mean “stealing from the people”.

  2. Thank God for sites like GRP so I don’t need to read the crap Rappler has been feeding (or trying to feed) us.

    1. Hahaha. I thought the quotation marks in ‘journalists’ would be enough to indicate just how trying hard they actually are. 😛

  3. @Teabag Deluxe.
    Please do a research first prior posting your comments.
    Further support your arguments with facts.

    1. Please try harder. You’re getting paid by taxpayers’ money. At least try to give us some entertainment, okay? 🙂

  4. I would like to suggest that the media needs to pay attention to the responsibilities
    of the “fourth estate” and start doing more
    in-depth and comprehensive investigation into the private corporations/developers/government
    mis-deeds: i.e., what is the real story behind the MMDA “greenprint 2030”? Why no
    information has been published or made
    public to date regarding the Phase One study,
    what it means to the public, why no public
    was invited to the meetings or allowed to provide input/questions/comments, etc!

  5. Oh well, what would you expect from these “journalists” anyway? Still wanted to defend a guy doing a tantrum on a formal party? I guess they also lack “manners”.

  6. On the question of De Castro’s silence back then, you are correct in saying that speaking out against Arroyo is somewhat damaging to his political career. But it’s not because of the President being the higher-up since, in the first place, the Vice President is not under the employ of the President. It is because the Vice President speaking out against the President would attract unnecessary attacks and intrigue that would diminish the VP’s political capital, especially since the VP is next in the line of succession. Essentially, a VP should not appear too eager to take over the presidency.

    Of course a VP could survive such damage to his political capital, but why risk it?

    On the other hand, one could also ask: when is it worth the risk? That would be when one provides the crucial thing that would topple the President, when there is effectiveness in opposing, when victory is assured.

    Therefore, here’s one more reason why De Castro remained silent back then: he has nothing to contribute, no compelling evidence, no better alternative, (no good “compensation,” perhaps? 🙂 ), that would make it all worth it.

    De Castro learned the lessons of history: see EDSA 2 and Arroyo’s rise to power.

  7. AbNoynoy is more corrupt and hypocritical. He cannot accuse Noli of being corrupt for simply being silent during Gloria’s term while AbNoynoy BS Aquino himself, in a more active role, voted against playing the “Hello Garci” tapes. Noli only acts on accusations backed by strong and convincing evidence and not political interest. AbNoynoy supported her then due to a conflict of interest, which he continues to display with his preferential treatment towards his current political allies and KKKKs, and prejudice against his enemies. He expects his enemies to sign a waiver while his KKKKs shouldn’t. AbNoynoy deserves his “BS” initials because his is simply “full of it”!

  8. They were arguing that Noli de Castro (NdC) has no business giving bad news as he didn’t make such commentary during his time as VP? I agree that this is NOT conflict of interest. This is a clear case of ad hominem tu quoque (an appeal to hypocrisy, by asserting lack of consistency). They cannot deny the factual bases of the commentary so they are resorting instead to claiming that NdC has been inconsistent. Worse, they fail to consider that NdC had very different roles during these periods. I agree that as VP, being overly critical of the President would have made it appear like he was sowing rancor. However, as commentator in a show formatted the way TV Patrol is (and has always been), he was just playing his role. Thus, even the claim of consistency falls.

    As for the claims that such negative news turn away people, especially foreign investors and tourists, I say “So what?” The value of the news report is whether it is grounded on fact. The value of the commentary is whether there is enough bases to react in such a manner. What they’d have us do is to ignore the truth of the premises and consider instead supposed consequences, an argumentum ad consequentiam. (And here, I even supposed that the assumption that negative news turn away foreigners is in fact true and logical. That in itself could be parsed and found wanting.)

    Seems like it’s impossible to make a mental move nowadays without tripping on a logical fallacy. Or maybe it’s just because lazy thinking is pervasive.

    Cheers, GRP. I like your take on things. Or close enough to always as makes no matter.

  9. A bit late, but anyone else feel that Noynoy’s admonishing of Noli and explicit request of media to report only good news a presidential decree away from media censorship in the ’70s?

    1. I was talking to someone who grew up in the 60s and 70s. Dictatorships had a euphemism for that. They called it “developmental journalism.”

        1. Took me a while to figure out that one. The bribe money is in envelopes=> envelop-mental. I once heard from an acquaintance who interned at news stations that there’s a payola for people who read the news on TV. Now, I’ve been reading the term “conscript media” or “conscripted media” to refer to media/social media practitioners who do this sort of thing. A rose by any other name, as they say. 🙂

  10. No I don’t agree with this instead, they completely ignored the misbehaviour of noy and went on spoiling him with their favourab纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮纮

  11. The ‘noy, plain and simple, is on a witch hunt for all entities that have big voices – anyone whom people listen to, e.g. Corona, de Castro, etc. These folks should perish, if they insist on going against his grain. The pattern is apparent now, right?

    While I respect his ‘passion’ for change in the positive direction, I still have doubts about his real motives as far as his un-eventful past performance is concerned.

    As to media censorship, I wouldn’t be surprised if media eventually gets gagged under his mask of ‘tuwid na daan’.

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