You know why “activists” in the Opposition camp are not going anywhere nowadays? It’s because they keep whining about “fake news”. Fake news this, fake news that. To them, all the Philippines’ problems of today can be summarised in two words: (1) “fake” and (2) “news”.
This is a disturbing developing trend. It highlights an epic failure of imagination in the Philippine Opposition. Because rather than elevate the quality of their arguments, members of this Opposition have put up a comfy straw man to beat upon — the Fake News Strawman. They seem to think that by continuously shrieking bloody “Fake News!”, the Internet Police would show up and handcuff somebody. This is the fantasy Fake News Crybabies live by, the idea that they are entitled to be saved from the clutches of the Fake News Strawman.
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Perhaps it’s a Catholic thing. After all, the the loudest members of the Fake News Crybaby crowd fit a certain profile — they are usually self-described “decent” people who go to church every Sunday and spend weekend afternoons in a Starbucks cafe tapping out tweets from their iPads. Not only are they waiting for the second coming of Jesus, they are also waiting for some kind of social media messiah who will deliver them from the “evil” of “fake news”. Indeed, in their infinite wisdom, the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) actually did declare “fake news” to be “sinful” and even issued a memo with a list of websites the faithful are banned from visiting!
Holy Inquisition Batman! Perhaps this is the reason Fake News Crybabies feel so uppity in their righteousness. The Catholic Bishops are on their side!
This is classic Pinoy Juan Tamad mentality. Juan Tamad is a Filipino folk character who, in his most well-known adventure, comes upon a guava tree bearing ripe fruit. Being too slothful to climb the tree and take the fruits, he instead decides to lie beneath the tree and let gravity do its work. In the same manner, Fake News Crybabies would rather whine about “fake news” than step up and create compelling content online to compete with content they do not like. Herein lies the problem with the way Fake News Crybabies think — they believe content they see online that they don’t like is “fake news”. And this is the reason why they are now in the midst of a crisis of relevance. Because of this Juan Tamad mentality, they have totally copped out from the epic Game of Thrones that is playing out across the Philippine social media jungle and just opt to lay on the ground and wait for salvation.
Indeed, many of the once-prolific and erstwhile respected bloggers of today’s Opposition now spend their days issuing disjointed 140-character pieces of drivel on Twitter. Rather than write out comprehensive articles on their ideas and arguments, they would rather schmooze with their cliques of mutual-high-fivin’ amigas in their little echo chambers in social media. It is hardly surprising that they have become so inbred; so tardic as a result of their unhealthy diet of retweeted retweets of their comfort zone ideas.
Where does one go from here? Might I suggest that the brighter bulbs amongst the Fake News Crybaby mob step back, re-evaluate their social circles, and get themselves a new set of friends. This is tough, of course. An ability to be self-aware enough to step outside of yourself and regard your situation from an outsider’s perspective is a cognitive skill most Filipinos lack. But it is a skill that can be learned. All one needs to do is start with having an open mind. Once you get past the difficult task of opening your mind, you will begin to see just how small the square you had been using to frame your thinking really is.
[NB: Parts of this article were lifted from the Wikipedia.org article Juan Tamad in a manner compliant to the terms stipulated in the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that governs usage of content made available in this site.]
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.