Anti-Social Media: And Now, The News

Did you know that Dennis Trillo is in a movie about Iglesia ni Cristo founder Felix Manalo, and that the movie — called, logically enough, “Felix Manalo” — has broken Guinness world records?

Found on the Internet, but also in real life probably

Found on the Internet, but also in real life probably

Well, now you do, thanks to the Philippine Star. Also, some stuff about some whatever sea dispute with China and some baloney about elections. Who cares?

It must be noted, though, that Iglesia did nothing wrong here. If newspaper space can be bought and an advertiser has the money, then it will be bought. What is more disturbing is why the space was for sale at all.

This subversion of the newspaper front page seems to have worked, though, because the world records that the movie broke were for having the most people watching a movie at the same time.

The influential religious group has broken other world records in the past, all of which were essentially variations on the theme: Many people in one place doing one thing at the same time.

Politics is Addition: Makabayan edition

Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada with members of the Makabayan bloc

Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada with members of the Makabayan bloc


In January 2001, when the presidency of Joseph Ejercito Estrada began crumbling and his political allies began jumping ship to join the growing crowd at the EDSA shrine calling for his resignation, a young activist with AGHAM-Youth wept bitterly: “The politicians have stolen the moment, they have stolen our protest.”

And he was right. In the months leading up to EDSA Dos, the movement to oust Estrada was led mainly by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and the groups affiliated with it.

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Anti-Social Media: You know nothing, Mang Snow


Basketball Hoop Game Sport

As the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility , the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, and the National Press Club keep reminding us, press freedom in the Philippines is under a continuing threat. What they — well, okay, the CMFR does — sometimes neglect to mention is that sometimes that threat is from so-called journalists themselves.

Sports website warned on September 21 of a “chilling warning to media” in the Philippine Basketball Association banning sports writer Snow Badua from covering PBA games and barring PBA officials, referees, and players from granting him interviews.

The ban came after Badua alleged that a PBA official was having an affair with a model, but , says there is more to it than that:

A PBA official, requesting anonymity, intimated that some team officials present in that board meeting were fed up with articles that has dared run in the past. These presumably include the ‘farm teams’ issue and game-fixing in the league, which we did run, precisely to give the professional teams a chance to air their side and address accusations constantly thrown at them by fans online.

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Hey, Marcos apologists


It would perhaps be educational for everybody else who seems to agree that Martial Law was not the best idea if Marcos loyalists — many of whom were born after the dictator fled the country in disgrace — would share their sources. Either of stories about how life was great back then, or of the drugs they seem to be taking to believe that Marcos deposited tons of gold at the World Bank (which does not quite work like a regular bank where people deposit things, in any case) for the benefit of the Filipino people.

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Chismissing The Point

Earlier this week, Cristina Ponce Enrile, wife of Senator Juan Ponce Enrile and former ambassador to the Vatican, corroborated rumors of an affair between Enrile and his former chief-of-staff Gigi Reyes, a revelation that is about as earth-shaking as it is in the public interest (i.e. not at all).

Here is a Rappler transcription of Mrs. Enrile’s supposed tell-all interview aired over GMA News TV:

“I had heard that she was already too long. He has had many girls before Gigi but they don’t last too long. With Gigi, it lasted long. Somebody told me that it’s not only this time but more years that you don’t know. That’s what got me…,” she said.

While marginally significant because Reyes has been accused, along with Enrile, of plunder for supposedly diverting money from the Priority Development Assistance Fund, there is nothing in the interview that moves the case against the former Senate president either forward or back. read more »

Protests Too Much


Here is something you don’t see every day: a major news website’s public apology for getting a story wrong.

Surprisingly, the apology was not for offending society with a jokey caption but for attributing a statement to a militant women’s group which immediately denied the statement and raised heck (sub-hell levels) on the Internet.

It was a basic violation of an unwritten rule of journalism–never assuming something unless stated directly–and we hope that the people who worked on the story were taken out back and promptly shot, or at least told to review their Philo 11. In any case, we hope they took their lumps.

Here is something that you actually do see every day, and anytime two or more are gathered in the name of calling other people names: a cute little media critique in the Manila Times by Katrina Stuart Santiago, scoring news websites Rappler and GMA News Online for destroying the fine tradition of Philippine journalism, a tradition that she is part of by virtue of writing opinion columns, which is not quite the same thing and is, if you look at the quality of opinion columnists we have now, hardly a virtue. read more »

Commentaries on the Network War


That the giant networks ABS-CBN and GMA have been trying to milk the Vhong Navarro incident for as much ratings and page views as they can is no real surprise.

Media critic blog Spinbusters pointed out as much in its recent post, and, coincidentally, nothing else. That they commented on the issue so late in the game and without contributing anything that everyone from the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility to basically anybody with an Internet connection and a social media account has already pointed out is telling, but that is a story for another day.

What should be of issue here is not the fact that media companies pushed the issue into national prominence in a bid to boost traffic.

That is the nature of the media beast and is news to nobody. The media companies will offer what the market wants, and protest as we may, a variety show host being beaten up and accused of rape is interesting, if mind-numbing and spirit-crushing, stuff.

What we should be looking at is the national prominence of the other players in this game. read more »

Anti-Social Media: The Usual Christmas Story


December 2013

‘Tis the season for satisfaction, that time of the year when everyone whom the press has put on the spot, except for people like Janet Lim-Napoles who will have to act through proxy, gets to see serious journalists bend over backwards for whatever scraps are still left in the public relations budgets. read more »

Pacquiao’s tax case is about money, not feelings


A Facebook post from a former journalist and, recently, a shill for a mining company on Manny Pacquiao’s tax troubles:

Welcome to the apathy of the Philippine government, they don’t care how much joy Manny gave to the people as long as govertment [sic] has something to steal.

And that seems to be the recent general sentiment over the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s garnishment of P1.1 million in two of Pacquiao’s bank accounts.

How dare a government agency, people–including people in government–are saying, actually do its job? What, they say, is a few million (the tax case involves P2.2 billion) against the hope and joy that Pacquiao’s victory brought the Filipino people by winning a boxing match so soon after the tragedy that hit the central Philippines?

The simple answer, really, is that the BIR didn’t. It did dare to run after a boxing champion, congressman, and patriarch of a fledgling political dynast. But that was not after the Pacquiao-Rios fight.

Nobody stood by the window of the BIR National Office Building, smoking a cigar in the dark, and said “Let us fuck over the Filipino people even more by taxing their national hero. If anything like that happened at all, it happened in 2011, when the case was first filed. read more »