Monday, May 26, 2014

The Napolist, the Journalists, and the Philippine Daily Inquirer

Last week while driving home, I listened with mixed chagrin, amusement, bewilderment, and what have you at the brazenness and utter “plasticity” of Doris Bigornia and Alvin Elchico over DZMM in their program SRO-Suhestyon, Reaksyon, at Opinyon.  They were blasting Nancy Carvajal and the Philippine Daily Inquirer for publishing the “Napolist” in its entirety allegedly “WITHOUT FIRST VERIFYING THE FACTS AND WITHOUT SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE.”  This is what got my goat.  The media, when they goad (and oftentimes successfully) policemen to present suspects through the firing line type of presentation (now prohibited but stupidity still persists intermittently), has neither gall nor compunction in publishing the pictures and press releases in their newspapers, and most often, in the front pages of the tabloids.  What evidence is at hand in most of these cases?  A complainant pointing at the suspect?  An alleged recovered evidence from the possession of the suspect?  Strictly speaking, these are not established evidence at all and yet the media raises no howl in these instances and most often, even encouraged it.

Now on the Napolist.  Why are many members of the media raising a ruckus against Nancy Carvajal and the Philippine Daily Inquirer?  What evidence do we have at this point against the mediamen included in it?  For many of them, namely Tulfo and Carmelo del Prado, there is the paper trail—the checks, vouchers, and all.  (Yet as of the moment, the networks of both media men cleared them, highlighting another ugly head of Philippine media:  corruption is also in its core and it is an accepted practice.  For what issue or issues that the Department of Agriculture has that it needs two known AC/DC broadcasters to personally deal with, including the broadcast expenses and other remunerations?)  Likewise, there are the statements of the main players themselves—Napoles and Luy.  Compared to the evidence that often lands a petty holdupper in the firing line presscon, the evidence on this case against the journalists are more tangible and even independently verifiable.

Likewise, the Napolist published by Carvajal is just what it is:  it is just a list.  No pictures, no details, and no other nonsense, as compared to the petty thief whose picture while in handcuff and often times mugshot is splashed in print, radio, and TV after the presscon.  In TV especially, petty suspects in petty crimes are even shown while being humiliated, slapped, and what have you.  In the program of the Tulfo brothers, people, especially government officials, are publicly lambasted just  upon the say so of whoever is the complainant sitting beside the anchor.  Raffy Tulfo, in his program “Wanted sa Radyo” OBB (opening billboard to the uninitiated, says, “Bobo ang pulis at piskal na ito.” and “That is plain and simple murder sir!” just upon the narration of a lone complainant.)

So what do these plastic journalists cry about?  If the standards that they are demanding now, of only publishing articles after the facts and evidence are solidly established, are applied to all persons just like they demand that it be applied to journalists, then many of them, especially the tabloids, will be out of business in no time for lack of valid news items to publish.  Especially those 21 tabloids covering the customs bureau (can you believe that all of these hawshiaos are members of the National Press Club headed by the equally hawshiao Benny Antiporda), the tabloid business will be a howling wilderness so to speak.

I personally know a number of media people, both the legit and the AC/DC kind and I can tell you that the latter outnumber the former by a mile.  Anyhow, despite of what other detractors say about the Inquirer (and some are legit gripes like having a Tulfo among their esteemed roster of writers), their editorial decision to publish the “Napolist” in its entirety had me renewing my faith in them.  Indeed, being a loyal reader (which started in my high school days where I have to walk 5Kms to the town center just to buy one for my father), I can authoritatively say that I have seen their transformation from era to era, from a militant upstart newspaper to the almost bully pulpit of the yellow army, to now, the maverick who broke the long standing but unwritten code of journalists of omerta among themselves.

Balanced News, Fearless Views indeed!

Mabuhay Inquirer! 

PS.  To prove that I am a loyal reader, I can tell you that that tagline was the winning contribution in the contest by the Inquirer when they asked the readers to formulate its tagline early in its life.  If I remember it right, the winning entry originally reads "News that are Balanced and Views that are Fearless."

Likewise, I am already a fan when their domain name was still www.inq7.net!

Korek?  Hahahaha!

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