Filipinos can overcome ‘fake news’ by developing more CURIOSITY #FactsMatterPH

Indeed, Filipinos need to be reminded that “facts matter”. That’s because Filipinos were not raised at home nor trained in school to build factual bases for what they believe in. In most cases, Filipino kids are told what to think rather than taught how to think. It is challenging too considering that Philippine society is practically bereft of intellectually-stimulating material, whether these be books or insightful media.

Instead, what Filipinos are inundated with are mentally-deadening material. Today’s “activists” blame the “lies” they perceive the social media landscape to be infested with on sinister well-funded forces with political agendas. It’s a convenient and attractive notion, but one that distracts from the truth about Filipinos — that Filipino society is fertile ground for the spread of untruths and non-facts because Filipinos are predisposed to belief rather than critical thought.

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If Filipinos habitually check and verify information first before they form conclusions that are based on mere assumptions and factoids they are told by their celebrity idols, then we wouldn’t have this problem of “fake news”. Even the very “activists” who screech about “fake news” are, themselves, victims of “fake news” because they themselves make assertions that are not backed by facts.

Take the venerable social media “influencer” Tonyo Cruz, for example. In just a couple of tweets, he makes himself a motherlode of unverified and downright false information…

Beware of an Australia-based couple in the payrolls of Bongbong Marcos and Rodrigo Duterte. They’re spreading misinformation to deodorize the Marcos dictatorship in an attempt to legitimize a Duterte dictatorship. KSP po yung mag-asawa. Tapang-tapangan pero may anonymous effect.

Cruz further tweets

The couple are professional paid hacks. Sayang yung pera na binabayad sa kanila. Third- or fourth-tier lang sila sa DDS/BBM network. Alam na kasi ng iba na mercenaries, zero credibility at real opportunists sila.

Does Tonyo Cruz possess the facts to back these claims? I’d like to see them too as I am curious as to what he might use to substantiate these claims.

But the real question is this:

Are Tonyo Cruz’s followers just as curious to find out whether what he says are truly factual?

See, it only takes curiosity — a key feature of an inquisitive mind — to even begin to fathom the answer to this question. Perhaps the reason “thought leaders” such as Tonyo Cruz are able to spread lies with impunity is because he is followed by legions of Filipinos who cannot be bothered to apply a bit of curiosity when they see drivel like this and actually check if what they are told is actually true. Worse, perhaps the minds of Cruz’s followers are actually missing the curiosity chip altogether and, as such, regard curiosity and its cousin, critical thinking, as alien concepts!

A common trait of people like Cruz is that they block dissent — which means they lock themselves out of alternative views that could keep themselves grounded on reality. Indeed, Cruz shares this trait with his pal former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay who has made his fame on social media as a serial blocker of people who present him alternative points of view.

People like Tonyo Cruz and Florin Hilbay fail to embrace diversity in thinking and are intellectually dishonest. People like them are the reason the Philippines currently suffers from an infestation of false and misleading information — because the manner with which they encourage inbred thinking turns their followers into intellectually-stunted people by making them ill-equipped to deal with the vast diversity of opinion that characterises today’s technology-enabled free market of ideas.

In this regard, I believe “activists” are focusing on the wrong thing in their campaign to supposedly rid the world of “fake news”. They need to start by cleaning their own backyards and take to task their own cronies and amigas within their respective cliques. Do they and their friends encourage the sort of critcal thinking grounded on a courageous embrace of diversity in input into their thinking — even of views that they find confronting and truly of challenge to their own belief systems?

The solutions are obvious. The heaviest responsibility lies in society’s most influential elite cliques. It is starting to become evident that the “cancer” of “fake news” may, in fact, be orginating from these cliques.

11 Replies to “Filipinos can overcome ‘fake news’ by developing more CURIOSITY #FactsMatterPH”

  1. Very true, benigno. Unfortunately, the main but perhaps unwitting purveyors of fake news among the vulnerable young are the “elite” schools like Ateneo, St. Scho, etc. that, as you said, tell their students WHAT to think rather than teach them HOW to think. Very sad as they’re the ones who’re supposed to teach the next generation of leaders and contributing citizens the nation-saving skill of critical thinking. Ergo, I don’t know if I’m supposed to have hope in our country’s future.

  2. “Perhaps the reason “thought leaders” such as Tonyo Cruz are able to spread lies with impunity is because he is followed by legions of Filipinos who cannot be bothered to apply a bit of curiosity when they see drivel like this and actually check if what they are told is actually true.”

    I dunno. A lot of Filipinos lie so fluently and so often – to themselves and to others – that they probably lose the ability to tell the difference between truth and fiction. I’m sick of listening to Filipinos tell untruths that are so transparent and illogical that it amazes me they can keep a straight face while speaking. I can only assume they either (a) think I’m completely stupid or (b) actually believe what they’re saying.

    “Thou shalt not bear false witness” is a concept that goes over most people’s heads here.

  3. People, unless aware, are predisposed toward confirmation bias.

    That’s why we have the Opposition crying out “fh3yk n3w5” to any pro-government source while clinging to Inquirer and Rappler for the sole reason that it goes against their stance.
    On the other hand, that’s also why we have DDS clinging to Mocha and shouting “B1a5 y4n!” or “B4y4r4n!” to any source that does not speak well of Duterte for the sole reason that it goes against their stance.

  4. Fake News has been with us, for a long long time. It was called : “Disinformation”, before, it was called Fake News. It is a tool of War and Politics. It is a tool to subjugate people. The Aquino Cojuangco political axis, was the purveyor of Fake News. EDSA was Fake News. The Ninoy Aquino, Jr. and Cory Aquino heroism and martyrdom, were Fake News.

    Fake news about Ninoy Aquino Jr. heroism is now in our textbooks. Studied by elementary school children. They have an EDSA Shrine, EDSA Holiday to perpetuate this Fake News, now Fake History. Their faces are in our currency. They built themselves: monuments, statues. They
    named : airports, stadiums, building , etc…for themselves.

    The gullible Filipinos are always susceptible to Fake News and Fake History. Because Filipinos have “heard mentality”. They run like a “brainless” herd of rampaging carabaos.

    It is the duty of all : Bloggers, social media enablers, twitters, etc…to inform people of the truth. I also urge social media readers, to use their discernment and common sense, to read between lines, what are presented in the social media.

    Anyway, we are all learning the good and the bad of the Information Technology. Hopefully, we will learn more of the good !

    1. Agreed. All of the sources from the opposition definitely support the Aquino-Cojuangco political axis and are biased. On the other hand, all pro-government sources are reliable and unbiased.

      1. I was being sarcastic.
        Wow, looking at the upvotes, I’m guessing people actually believe that…
        Being part of the opposition automatically means supporting the A-C political axis?
        And that being pro-government automatically means being unbiased?
        So, what I’m getting here is that only the opposition can be biased and of course the pro-government people are never wrong.

    2. >> Fake news about Ninoy Aquino Jr. heroism is now in our textbooks. Studied by elementary school children.

      As is a whole bunch of other foolish nonsense that keeps this country on its knees. But I notice the education department under Duterte has made no move to remove it.

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