You’d think the way this cadre of “journalists” now “come together” to comfort one another “in a time of trolls” that trolling is such a new and unprecedented scourge in the business of online content production.
“I still think that journalists who think themselves worth their profession should come together and look at this as a professional problem, as an even moral problem, as something that does not help the profession or the society. This is something that goes beyond the natural sense of competition that journalists have among journalists,” said [Vergel O. Santos of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility].
Long before these crybabies formed these quaint support groups to deal with this “crisis” of trolls, we at Get Real Philippines have been battling trolls. Because GRP is in the business of begging to differ, the positions taken by many of our writers on the pertinent issues of the day are unpopular. Back in 2001, amidst the euphoria of the “Edsa 2” uprising that illegally unseated then President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, GRP was one of a few online publications to question the wisdom of this circus. I wrote back then…
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My contribution to the discussions focused mainly on attempting to put into perspective the vicious attacks made on a handful of participants who provided counter-insights to the general euphoric and sometimes militant sentiment of the group.
Although good rebuttals were posted, the exchange of opinion along these discrussion threads was dominated by shallow and crude remarks. However, no generalisations can be made as to how much of middle-class opinion they accounted for. The fact remains that these people had access to the Internet (which is a luxury for the average Filipino) which speaks of the supposed educational level of Filipino middle class.
Even back then, the attacks lobbed by those who sought to silence unpopular points of view were vicious and, as is the situation today, the popular sentiment was rather hollow-headed as this sampling of the “debate” of the time makes evident.
So consider how Rappler reporter Pia Ranada laments the trolling she copped following her calling out President Rodrigo Duterte’s cat-calling ways…
After that, people were really harassing me online for what I did. They were saying how I disrespectful I was to the president-elect. Saying how biased I was and I should be more respectful when I asked the incoming president…
The trouble with these “journalists” is that they came of age cocooned in a cushy environment rich in emotional and motivational support provided within cliques populated by like-minded members. I would have said came of age and “honed their craft” as writers, except that I wouldn’t call consorting exclusively with folk who hold the same opinion an exercise in honing one’s writing skills much more one’s overall character.
That dullness in the craft of the mainstream brought about by years of inbreeding and being part of the camp that upholds the popular and “decent” view can be seen today in this crybaby response to online trolling. Unable to cope with diversity they excuse their being ill-equipped to face the challenge of vicious trolling by playing that all-too-familiar victim card.
GRP, on the other hand, sought dissent and conflict and never aspired to create an inbred community of like-minded mutual-back-patting folk. Our character was shaped in the jungle which welcomed us in its Darwinian crucible that forges steely consistency in conviction in those that survive its fires.
None such fire shaped today’s crybaby journalists who, for years, basked in their employers’ establishmentist brand equity as guardians of the Philippines’ “restored democracy”.
It takes consistency and foresight to crystallise one’s vision over the long term and across the ebbs and flows of outrage fads and small-minded short-term activism. GRP saw through the phoniness of “people power” and Yellowist rhetoric back in the early 2000’s — long long before it was fashionable to see one’s self as “anti-Yellowtard” (for that matter, long before the term “Yellowtard” was even coined!). Underpinning that was the foundation of GRP philosophy — that the Philippines suffered from a profound cultural dysfunction that accounts for much of the surface issues that ordinary pundits and activists build their positions around.
So let us make a slight correction in an earlier statement. GRP did not battle trolls. We embraced trolls as a necessary part of the ecosystem in which we chose to be a part of. And that is what accounts for our strength and resilience today.
Therefore, somebody needs to tell “investigative journalist” Raissa Robles to man up to online trolls. It seems she is unaccustomed to finding herself situated on the side of the unpopular sentiment and besieged by the armies of the popular camp of the moment. Robles posts her lament on this matter on Facebook…
It’s sociologically interesting that many Filipinos applaud President Duterte when he says the most outrageous things but when I point out that Senator Miriam Santiago used to work as Ferdinand Marcos’ speech writer and was an assistant to Imelda’s brother Ambassador Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, and got Bongbong Marcos as her running mate, they dogpile me and accuse me of having no respect for the dead.
Ms. Robles, welcome to our world back when we were a small unfashionable voice going up against the popular and trendy but, now, discredited and embarrassing Yellowist rhetoric that dominated much of the three decades following the 1986 “revolution”. The same goes out to those who now make like trolls are an unprecedented social problem that they need to “come together” to combat. Trolling is not new. It only seems new and made out to be demonic because it is now the Establishment and the Mainstream that is under attack. Whereas, in the past, under the disente (now discredited) banner of Yellowism, trolls were actually esteemed members of the Establishment who fancied themselves crusaders of everything “holy” and “civil” about the Philippines.
“I think the challenge now is for journalists is to prove that despite the fact that what we say may not please you, it’s something you need to listen to. There’s still value in the truth. And there’s still value in being objective,” said Ranada…
But of course. However, one does not need to be a credentialed “journalist” to be saying and publishing things people “need to listen to”. GRP is proof of that.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.