Western media clueless about Philippine affairs, easily falls for Maria Ressa’s desperate lies

The year 2017 is drawing to a close and, despite the emotional screeching of Philippine Opposition elements, the country does not seem any more “authoritarian” (or not authoritarian) than it was back at the dawn of 2016. Just the same, the objective fact that the Philippines remains as “democratic” as it’s ever supposedly been does not stop those who are busy scrounging around for morsels of bad things to say about the administration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte from packaging and repackaging old notional “threats” to “freedom” into the latest slogan.

Try as they might, proof that they are not succeeding amongst those who know the Philippines better than anybody else in the world — the Filipino people — keeps emerging at every measure of approval and confidence published by firms of good repute. Indeed, the failure of the Philippine Opposition to convince their own constituents has led them overseas where they now desperately pitch the Duterte-as-dictator narrative to Western media.

And why not? If you can’t seduce a sober chick, go for the dead drunk one.

The Opposition are a real class act that way. For so long, the Philippines has always flown below the radar of Western media — because, truth be told, beyond Filipinos’ quaint “people power revolutions”, the appalling death tolls they repeatedly cop from routine tropical storms, and the occasional beauty pageant title, Filipinos are not a particularly interesting or newsworthy people. Thus there are very few Philippine “experts” in the West. In contrast, lucrative careers have been built upon being experts on the Russians, the Japanese, the Arab World, India, China, and Europe where matters of global consequence brew. Being an expert on the Philippines is basically a career-limiting path for the average newsroom intern looking for a big break.

Thus, it is easy for outrage fad mongerers like Rappler CEO Maria Ressa to style themselves as such “experts” and fool Western “journalists” into thinking that the Philippines has degenerated into an authoritarian state. Because traditional news media in the West lacks a strong community of experts on Philippine affairs, they are quick to latch onto quack experts like Ressa and build entire tabloidesque narratives on what is going on there on the basis of dubious premises.

Blame this too on an industry that is utterly starved for eyeballs and click throughs. The mainstream broadcast and print industry has long seen the rise of social media and, in particular, Facebook as the reason for the irreversible decline of their once formidable empires. They see in Duterte, and his American counterpart Donald Trump, strawmen they could put up as “evil spawn” of a new industry that is eating their lunch right off their plates.

Thus, it is interesting to note the way Ressa also serves up Facebook — and its charismatic CEO and founder, Mark Zuckerberg — as the pièce de résistance of her menu of things and people for the world’s adult crybabies to chew on.

Ressa offers Western media — most especially American mainstream media — a packaged narrative they could not refuse:

Duterte the evil spawn of a social media giant, Facebook, that refuses to step up to its “information gatekeeper” role and, instead tolerates an underworld of “trolls” and “bots” that are “weaponising” it against political rivals

Really, it is not Duterte who is “weaponising” the Internet. It is Maria Ressa who is weaponising Duterte in the hope of turning the outrage she generates into the badly-needed profile — and cash — to prop up her dying media unicorn.

The fact is, the Philippines has not been nor is in any danger of becoming an “authoritarian” state any time soon (or ever) as Ressa is leading her clueless and gullible admirers in the West to believe. She and her ilk in the Philippine Opposition had failed to sell this lie to the Filipino people. Perhaps she may succeed to some degree selling bullshit to Western media. But there is a limit to how long one can profit off lies. Maria Ressa and her henchgirls at Rappler are likely already aware of that limit and are now gingerly staring down the abyss that lies beyond that limit.

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22 Comments on “Western media clueless about Philippine affairs, easily falls for Maria Ressa’s desperate lies”

  1. Perhaps Maria Ressa, if she reads this emotional piece of you, is enjoying eating her popcorn while laughing off her ass knowing that she made you and your ilk angry. Hahaha!

    Moreover, Duterte now is the “people of year” by the West. Oh, sounds good? how are you going to stop Maria Ressa’s cruelty now that she made Duterte more famous in international arena? Isn’t that bad enough?

    You criticized those who are against “fake news”, so why not apply those suggestions you made? Like finding a way and your boss Duterte how to defeat Maria Ressa using facts and intellect in convincing way to counter the data she gathered from this madman that could probably change the minds of those in the West? Not this kind of emotional ad hominem crying baby piece of you. Otherwise, you, and your boss Andanar and Duterte will continue to suffer being paranoid.

    Seems like Maria Ressa and her team are tough to beat, aren’t they? Now that they are making names in those first world countries, whom you admired the most for the Philippines to emulate with, might be the reason Duterte and his administration find it difficult to succeed in the global world. Maybe you and your boss Andanar, Roque and Duterte have to change strategy in order not to be left behind by the influential power of Maria Ressa. Until then, enjoy the dirt she’s throwing each day.

    1. Just wake up. Rappler is losing huge money daily. Meaning? She is ineffective at what she’s been doing or being a Rappler’s CEO! And if what you claim here also are true, you don’t have to defend Ressa. Ressa doesn’t have to fault facebook, too. Let the truth speak for itself, or at least let Ressa prove her worth by saving Rappler’s reputation first – ie by turning their business into a lucrative one and telling its readers the truth about Philippines under Duterte!

      And hey, everyone in the world, except the LP allies, admires the Philippines President!

      1. Same. His post is more like he’s a whiny, little bitch who knew about the issue yet try to twist it for his own personal ends.

    2. “Seems like Maria Ressa and her team are tough to beat, aren’t they? ”

      And what rock have you been hibernating under all this time?

    3. Maybe you and your boss Andanar, Roque and Duterte have to change strategy in order not to be left behind by the influential power of Maria Ressa. Until then, enjoy the dirt she’s throwing each day.

      Nice strawman, kid. Seems you’re telling me that you’re just that delusional or you’re just trolling. A Yellowtard, perhaps?

      Please, stop. Your assumptions parade makes you even more desperate….

    4. Indeed, “Maria Ressa and her team are tough to beat,” because Rappler is a relatively large organisation with lots of resources compared to the small blogs such as GRP that challenge it. They also appeal to the easy positions to take on the issues — the traditional “disente” position that appeals to both polite company and the Catholic Church, both of which are entrusted with the furthering of the status quo that is the root of the Philippines’ societal dysfunction.

      Nonetheless, it is evident that Rappler is in decline — a testament to the power of consistency in focus and the coherence of the framework of principles applied to challenging their ideas.

  2. I think a problem of understanding what is happening in the Philippines is several fold. First the mix of languages used making it extremely difficult to translate. I read media from many countries around the world and FB or Google easily translate them into English but not the Tagalog/English or various Tagalog local variations. This means much of what is written is not accessible to a none Tagalog audience. Another issue and one I hugely struggle with is determining fact from fiction here in the Philippines. There is no middle road, balanced perspective, no good political analysis on tv, no balanced in depth news broadcasting to add historical perspective on issues and almost no outlet for the voice and opinions for the common Filipino. For an outsider such as myself wishing to understand and learn the vox politics here in the Philippines is very difficult. Perhaps it is up to the Filipino media to explain what is happening with more clarity so others can fully understand. The foreign media try hard to understand but often confronted with diametrically opposing messages in a strange hybrid language and these days the media want fast and easy headlines.

    1. Indeed, a lot of the Philippines’ “thought leaders” cannot seem to articulate their ideas and positions on key national issues in a manner unencumbered by personal loyalties. This lack of thought leadership delivered from the point of view of people who apply a disaffected outsider’s perspective seems to be one of the main contributors to the problem of lack of depth and balance in analysis you observe.

  3. Filipinos has now grown wiser. They just don’t believe what the Philippine mainstream media is telling them. The Propaganda Machine of the Aquino Cojuangco political axis, has oversold its promises/propaganda of Ninoy Aquino, Jr. martyrdom and Cory Aquino’s sainthood.

    Panot Aquino III was elected President. This incompetent Dude, simply cannot deliver, what the Aquino Cojuangco political axis, had promised to the Filipino people.

    Maria Reesa’s Rappler.com is just one of the propaganda tools of this political entity. The Filipinos did not bite the Aquino propaganda. So, Maria Reesa went to sell this political propaganda to Western media. The purpose is to cancel all trade agreements and trade preferences, of these Western countries with the Philippines. Maria Reesa, wants these Western countries to impose Trade Sanction, against the Philippines.

    This is the evil purpose, of the Aquino Cojuangco political axis. They failed in their attempt of impeaching Pres. Duterte. Imposing Trade Sanctions on the Philippines, may result in economic hardships of the Filipino people. Then, the Filipinos wouldl turn against Pres. Duterte.

    It is an evil Plan C, of the Aquino Cojuangco political axis to gain back their lost power !

  4. That “Facebook Deal with Duterte” sounds like drivel, because Facebook wouldn’t be closing up accounts of pro-Duterte people if that was true.

    1. I should add about that thing I read before, the chapter which Marc Stanton titled “Stereotyping Asians on Western TV News,” in the book Media and Culture: Global Homogeneity and Local Identity. In it, he says Asia is always portrayed as backward and barbaric in western media, and if Asians have their their own agenda for their own culture, it is portrayed as a bad thing. I believe this was used to badmouth the disciplined culture and government of Singapore in the eyes of the press, and is now being used to portray Duterte as opposed to what the west stands for, i.e. “human rights.” But “human rights” is more like a stand-in term for “western government’s selfish agendas to impose on others.”

  5. Sad to see the disappearing commenters (apart from writers and Hyden) on this site. But I guess that’s the price of myopic and one sided articles.

      1. “Strawman” seems to be a favourite of yours. Perhaps to show it the love you truly feel for making you sound pseudo-intellectual you should check out the meaning?

    1. True that. The article quality is a bit random these days, and a once-vibrant community of commenters have completely lost interest. What’s really depressing is that all the other blogs about the Philippines – and there aren’t many – are even worse.

  6. It’s not that Western media is clueless of Filipino affairs; they just chose to stay out of it because it’s heavily influenced by Chinese-controlled media with tight lips. The same goes with Western businesses not fully engaging themselves in the Philippine economy with Chinese businesses; the latter have a tight purse.

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