Much as it may have pained the editors of mainstream news sites like the Inquirer.net, a Get Real Post comment featured on GRPundit on the 1st October 2016, Reporters Karen Lema and Manuel Mogato of @Reuters LIED about the Duterte “Hitler” quote, was consistently cited as the place where it all started. They refer to what is purported to be a full-scale attack on Reuters “veteran reporters” Lema and Mogato by an “online lynch mob”.
The account of the purported attack was first revealed in a statement issued by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on the 3rd October 2016 and picked up by a handful of news sites. A certain Kara Patria Constantino David published the statement verbatim in a Facebook post…
In a short while, [the GRPundit article had] become a meme featuring the photos of our colleagues that has been widely circulated by the President’s followers, often with added comments expanding on the call for violent punitive action, and calling for controls on freedom of the press and of expression.
Mr. Duterte’s injunction to his supporters not to harm journalists and leave them to pursue independent reporting about his government seems to have fallen on deaf ears, drowned by the overflowing zeal of an army of social media warriors who are quick to deflect the slips in judgment and pronouncements he has made as if he is infallible.
The statement, as evident in the excerpt above, stopped short of insinuating that GRP was the instigator of the troll attack on Mogato and Lema. Indeed, political blogger Ellen Tordesillas gave that distinction to a certain Yolly Reyes Junto who, posted the content of that GRPundit article (and, it seems, not citing her source in the post) on Facebook along with what is likely to be the meme refered to in the NUJP statement. Throughout her blog post, Tordesillas attributed the “tirade” to Junto herself…
Once again, warped thinking was on full display when a Yolly Reyes Junto posted on Facebook her rant against Reuters reporters Manny Mogato and Karen Lerma over the story of President Duterte comparing himself with Adolf Hitler.
Junto’s Oct. 1 post started with a purported disclaimer: “I am no Duterte fanatic. I criticize him more scathingly than anyone when his mouth is out of line. But this time, Duterte really didn’t say anything wrong.”
Then her tirades against the Reuters reporters: “The real culprits behind the fuss over his Hitler comment are Karen Lerma and Manuel Mogato, two Filipino reporters of the Reuters news agency, who wrote this article: ‘Philippines’ Duterte likens himself to Hitler, wants to kill millions of drug addicts’.”
To be fair, the NUJP resisted the temptation to suggest that it was the intent of GRP to instigate these threats of violence against Mogato and Lema. Get Real Post writer Paul Farol makes it clear that he stands with the NUJP “against Dutertard Attacks” and that GRP, and its broader GRP Community members, do not condone threats and attacks against anyone. Farol was (and is) himself the recipient of vicious online attacks…
Having been on the receiving end of vicious attacks online, I can empathize with the plight of the reporters named by Mr. Rosauro and support his statement against attempts to suppress any one’s right to freedom of speech.
Thing is, what happened to Lema and Mogato has also happened to Pia Ranada on the Live Video feed of the PCO’s Facebook Page. This is something that I notified friends in the PCO about and happily, PCO Secretary Martin Andanar himself called out the behavior of some of Duterte’s supporters.
Personally, what really got my goat is GRP being labelled by the Inquirer.net as a “pro-Duterte” site. Our writers will attest to the fact that GRP and its administrators do not prescribe any specific position on any particular issue nor do we prescribe any partisan affiliation. Every GRP writer is at full liberty to express any position on any matter. Indeed, we rely on our broader community of readers and commenters, both on-site within our Web assets and in our Facebook communities to keep us honest.
While it may be true that many of our articles (specifically mine, in particular) can be construed as Duterte-leaning, the arguments and positions taken are, like all GRP articles, firmly grounded on sound principles. In short, if there are compelling arguments against what we write, they are in our comment sections. If there are positions to be taken counter to what many claim to be “the collective GRP position” (for argument’s sake, imagining there is such a thing), we haven’t seen any compelling enough to change the general views of any one GRP writer (for now).
My biased opinion starts with this: The Yellow Camp has been discredited after 30 years of No Results and, four months into the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, are yet to prove that their camp had and could have done things better. More importantly, they have yet to prove that these “extrajudicial killings” (which they have conned the world’s “journalists” into writing about rabidly) are directly linked to Malacanang or even to the police. Prove me wrong.
Flaws notwithstanding, the Duterte Way continues to earn the confidence of a broad swathe of Philippine society. Could Duterte do better? Yes. Personally, I think he should shut up 80 percent of the time, stay on-script with his speechwriters, and leave the nuanced technical talk to his staff. For that matter, his staff should step up and be better at managing their boss and protect him from the crooked way Filipino and foreign journalists conspire to “interpret” his words in a way preferred by their editors.
[Photo courtesy The Guardian.]
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