IATROGENICS: Why Rappler is Becoming a Victim of Its Own Medicine


Hashtags:     #TakeBackMariaRessa     #OmidyarNetwork

I can only feel for Maria Ressa. Her motherly interest to defend her team from criticism resulted in more harm rather than good. Nassim Nicholas Taleb comes to mind. He coined the the term “naive interventionism”, from iatrogenics in the medical field. Iatrogenics is a case wherein a doctor/medicine administers unnecessary treatment that will do more harm than good.

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In his book, Antifragile, Mr. Taleb shared this story…

In 1930’s, 389 children were presented to New York City doctors; 174 were recommended for tonsillectomy. 215 were presented to a second set of doctors, and 99 were said to need surgery. The remaining 116 were shown to a third set of doctors; 52 were recommended for surgery. Note that there is a morbidity rate of 2-4% for each case. Every child who underwent an unnecessary operation has shortening of her life expectancy. The intent to do good caused more harm.

The deaths of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and George Washington were all suspected to be partly due to iatrogenics as well. The excessive use of medicine to hasten their recovery and ride back to battle resulted in their deaths.

The Sick and the Impatient Victim
In my “Rashomon Effect” piece, I hope Maria Ressa finally understood that even she is not immune from human flaws. The best she can do as a journalist is to not get distracted, quit justifying herself, focus on REPORTING the facts, and most importantly, STOP moderating us. Expect criticism, expect hate. As journalists, that is the burden the job carries. Let the people be. Sometimes, not intervening is the cure. As the master once said:

So other people hurt me? That’s their problem. Their character and actions are not mine. What is done to me is ordained by nature and what I do by my own. – Marcus Aurelius

If they are free from any political agenda, someone in their team needs some SPANKING. Their efforts to “intellectually” justify themselves resulted in increased perceived intellectual snobbery which drew more wind to the fire and got them all burned.

Anybody who can’t take the heat will be unable to separate themselves from their emotions. Heightened emotions amplify bias and cloud objectivity. We cannot deny that this happened in the mass Duterte movement. Sad thing is, the same thing happened to Rappler as well! As I mentioned in my first article that as the fifth estate- it is our responsibility to challenge the media. If the media, as the fourth estate, need to hold the public servants accountable; we, the fifth estate, also need to hold the media accountable. This! Yeah, this. This.

Maria Ressa could have stopped the public animosity before it caught fire, but I was very surprised that she took the ride. Although I unfollowed Rappler years ago when they started writing clickbait titles, my confidence in her remained intact. But all that changed when Rappler started moderating comments—that was a BIG DISAPPOINTMENT. They got impatient with public opinion and decided on an unnecessary treatment.They took unneeded medicine. #TakeBackMariaRessa

Keeping my Zen-like peace, I let it be. I kept silent because I felt it is useless to argue, and there will always be someone such as the likes of ThinkingPinoy, Sass, and GRP to represent. Much respect to these guys, listen.

However, the “Weaponizing the Internet” series was my wake-up call. I breathe through the internet and the lies were as clear to me as sunrise. Worse, she talked of cognitive bias like it was a one-way thing, like she was immune to it. That was ALARMING to me. The samurai’s self-deception is getting worse and I felt the need to break the silence. In his seclusion, the monk is out on a peaceful rage. **Om Mani Padme Hum**

If Symptoms Persist, Consult your Doctor
It is NOT too late for Maria Ressa to save her beloved Rappler. But she cannot do it with her team’s elitism and intellectual snobbery. She is SPOILING them by NOT pointing out these pervasive behaviors. This TEAM CULTURE breeds PUBLIC distrust. The media cannot distance itself from its people. By that, they need to stop treating Rappler’s FB comments as a forum section, where deleting comments and demeaning people is becoming a normality. In a democracy, the people is NOT the enemy. #TakeBackMariaRessa

As an anonymous paid troll with unquestionable credentials, I sincerely offer you my prescription:

  • Pride Chicken is Expensive. Listen to those who matter, the people.
  • Stop demeaning people. We know you’re an elite. STAHP already.
  • We are NOT bots. We have emotions. We have feelings. #Joneeehhl
  • Don’t moderate us. The comment section is therapeutical to us.
  • Stop justifying yourself. We don’t need your customer service.
  • Do your job. REPORT the facts until Mocha Uson shares your posts.
  • Stop sensationalizing yourself. We had enough of De Lima already.
  • Accept your humanity- and your bias. Reevaluate your interest.
  • Practice humility. Intellect does not win you women. Trust me!
  • Stop being an elitist. Study Siddharta and the Kardashians
  • Do NOT be distracted. Trolls love attention, don’t give them that.

Don’t ever wrestle with a pig. You’ll both get dirty, but the pig will enjoy it.


Hospital Admission: Time to Reevaluate Options and Reorganization
If the Rappler team will be unable to adapt these prescriptions, their primary stakeholder (Omidyar) will need to step in. They’ll have to reevaluate their options. They need to check if the team’s behavior is in alignment with their intended VISION and, Company Culture. Because even if Rappler is saying they are doing well overall, search engine traffic still drives majority of their revenue stream. Social media is TOO BIG of a business chunk to miss out on—just look at the FB engagement data, for God’s sake. Rappler may not be losing money, but they are missing SERIOUS GROWTH opportunities. Investors should NOT be happy. Businesses exist for revenue. Or if it should be for the cause, then it should be for the people, otherwise, whose interest is it?

Unless Omidyar is gunning for being one for “Elite Media”, a TOUGH reorganization needs to be made. The team culture apparently seems to be corrupted by elitism. As a Venture Capitalist, I take it that Omidyar are very familiar with the concept of the Diffusion of Innovation. With that snobby team culture, there’s no way Rappler can reach the critical mass in comparison to their competitors, they are keeping the early majority for themselves. Learn from us, your so called TROLLS. Our reach covers the whole scope of people: from innovators to laggards, from thought leaders to Mocha Uson. There is no separation of classes with us. The stakeholders need to be involved, Maria Ressa is now obviously too attached to shake the tree for everyone. #TakeBackMariaRessa

The Naive Interventionism of the Rappler Supporters
Lastly, whoever is running the FollowRappler campaign must stop. Please stop. I know your intention is to help Rappler but you are actually doing them more harm. Iatrogenics. Naive intervention. Do not make the same mistake. You are giving the people hints on who’s behind you and further linking yourselves with political agenda. It is not looking good, take it down.

MARIA RESSA BADLY NEEDS TO FIRE SOMEONE! Someone got burnt and is getting restless. I can smell it.

Remember antifragility—the more you hit, the stronger it gets. That is Mother Nature’s design. The arrogance is making the people stronger. This should not be the case.

Stop. If you are wounded, let it heal or it will only complicate itself.

Much love,

In my effort for deliberate anonymity, my Facebook profile got ejected hours after my post against Rappler went live. Facebook is requiring my full name and proof of identification. Against FB’s guidelines, I had my name structured in a way that my network of friends would be able to distinguish my full name yet remain unsearchable. I am NOT famous; I just bent the rules (just like the rest of the others) and got targeted specifically.

Looks like the Rappler team got the wrong ninja skills. I commend your efforts of finding my account and getting it reported. You need not intervene. We cannot afford for you to get distracted, the stakes are HIGH.

I have nothing but love for you Maria Ressa. Much like ThinkingPinoy, Sass, GRP and others, I would value your word to a higher degree if you go independent and unfunded. It will help free you from the bias and self-absorbed surroundings. It will free you from the burden of BUSINESS. It will free you from your shackles.

It will bring back the inspiring, uncompromising Maria Ressa that moved the hearts of the Filipinos.

It’s time to take back the respect you once had. It’s to take back the old MARIA RESSA! TAKE BACK MARIA RESSA! #TakeBackMariaRessa

In case we can’t bring you back, at least, listen to our indignation. Do not argue but listen. As the fourth estate, it’s the honorable thing to do.

And to you, the reader, a Filipino. Gather your friends, your family, anyone. Let your voice be heard. Let our voice be heard. If they won’t listen, then let us SHOUT. If they SILENCE us, then the system already failed. We are no longer a democracy. #TakeBackMariaRessa

Be passionate but let us try to be objective. But since you reach the bottom of this piece, you are no headliner and probably smart enough to not do that. Just remind those that are not, explain in the language they’ll understand.

To my teammates who probably know me based on my series of arguments, yes it is me. Forgive me, I lied. I was not sick for 4 days. I’m just away on a philanthropic mission.

Uncopyrighted: No permission needed to copy, distribute, or modify the content of this article. Do whatever the hell you like.

26 Replies to “IATROGENICS: Why Rappler is Becoming a Victim of Its Own Medicine”

  1. The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.

    The four most expensive word in the English language are ‘This time it’s different.

  2. Why are you pointing out what they are doing wrong?


    Let them drive their shit-bucket website against the wall and enjoy the wreck.
    I certainly will.

    Ha, look there are broken teeth on the dashboard!

  3. Rappler is trying to create a venue when an intelligent discussion among people can occur which may lead to a more enlightened society.

    Yet these trolls are ruining things by bringing the discussion to Duterte-tard lows.

    Can’t you see that these trolls are nothing but brainless bullies like our thug-president who happens to compare himself to Hitler?

    Please take a stand against trolls and bullies!

    1. Rappler is trying to create a venue when an intelligent discussion among people can occur which may lead to a more enlightened society.

      They can keep trying.

    2. Can’t you see that these trolls are nothing but brainless bullies like our thug-president who happens to compare himself to Hitler?

      Please take a stand against trolls and bullies!

      ken does that also mean that we must take a stand against the likes of YOU as well? You’re now becoming a troll and a bully yourself with what you’ve said.

      Set your priorities for once.

    3. If you are “smart” then you should know better.

      Listen to yourself. Listen to your argument. You are becoming the people you hate. A troll, a bully.

      Sometimes the cure is not doing anything, iatrogenics.

    4. Rappler is trying to create a venue when an intelligent discussion among people can occur which may lead to a more enlightened society.

      No its not. Its a “Social News Network.” Crowdsourced news. Sorry, you can’t achieve this without “Trolls.” Besides, you can’t create an “enlightened society” by confining the discussion to the “intelligent.” Especially if the only way to be granted access to this exclusive club of “intelligent” people, is by throwing insults at the sitting President and his supporters. Sorry if I made their exclusive club sound so cheap.

    5. That’s plain and simple Hypocrisy.

      Rappler and Maria Ressa are Propagandist of the Yellows Paid or not paid nobody knows but, obviously they are handsomely rewarded for selling their Soul to the Devil.

  4. Oh…Ms. Maria Reesa, your Rappler.com is sinking, because of these wicked trolls. I, myself is a victim of these vicious trolls. I am just a common Filipino blogger…

    Ms. Maria Reesa, you shot yourself in the foot; when you served political interests of corrupt politicians. You were employed by the Lopez Media, ABS-CBN, known as the propaganda machine of the Aquino-Cojuangco political axis.

    I suspect that you established Rappler.com, to counter/destroy the budding power of the Filipino Citizen Journalists and the Filipino Cyber Warriors.

    However, you were unaware that times were changing, because the Age of Information Technology , was starting to turn the tables against the so called: mainstream media.

    You were beaten in your own game by these nasty faceless/unknown Citizen Journalists. Don’t throw Tantrums. In life, we loss some, we win some !

    1. Exactly, Klara. I trusted @MariaRessa once.. I still want to trust her now. I believe her old self is still there somewhere. I just hope she’s listening to these feedback and somehow enter in the process of understanding…but I doubt if she can reach the bottom.. which is “acceptance”.

      1. Hey Leibrook, thanks btw for giving me the idea on this piece. This is my reply to your @MariaRessa comment.

        She needs to be aware. Then if she wont listen, then there’s no nothing to talk about. She has an AGENDA.

        Algorithmic wise:
        If @MariaRessa!=Acceptance
        then AGENDA.


  5. Kudos to GRP for making a stand. Continue with your analyses of issues.

    I started reading posts since last year and i found it quite a good read – informative and it presents both sides of presssing issues, issues that matter.

    I once admired ms ressa, when she came back from abroad and joined abs. then i noticed that her stand differed from mine. Still i subscribed to rappler as a source of information, daily news. I guess my gut told me i was right all along.

    BTW, i’m not a blogger, i do not have an FB account, or twitter, etc.

    I’m a senior citizen. I just love to read on current events, new, etc to keep me informed of what is happening around me, to keep me abreast of things.

    Thank you.

    1. Welcome, and you have come to the right place! I also do not have facebook and do not participate in other social media.

      1. He’s the surrogate of Maria Ressa. His comments reveal all.

        Sorry popoyb, this isn’t an ad hominem attack. There’s nothing wrong with being somebody’s surrogate. Just pointing out where you are coming from 😉

  6. The #TakeBackMariaRessa made me laugh so hard.
    This is like the spoiled brat throws tantrums but Yaya is nowhere to be found and street children are enjoying freedom of speech.

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