calling out ressa

a public apology via social media is in order, methinks.

in case you’re not on facebook or twitter, check out this sequence of tweets over radikalchick’s opinion blog going to the dogs, a follow-up on lito zulueta’s Who will watch the watchdog? that was in response to luis teodoro’s Rule makers and rule breakers — all still about questions that, after promising “uncompromised journalism,” refuses to answer, questions re its clear bias against impeached sc chief justice corona whose trial begins today.

thanks to j.o.m. salazar aka randomsalt for finding all the relevant tweets and putting them in sequence via storify:

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa implies blogger guilty of libel 

Tweets exchanged between @angel_alegre, @maria_ressa, @radikalchick, @randomsalt, and @wolverinabee regarding a blog post by @radikalchick on a recent Rappler story re Chief Justice Corona and the University of Santo Tomas. Read that post here: <>

angel alegre @maria_ressa interesting pov on teodoro-zulueta (and ressa) case: [12 jan]

Maria Ressa @angel_alegre funny @radikalchick never asked me before she wrote and am only a tweet away. Guess that separates the pros … [12 jan]

Maria Ressa @angel_alegre I suppose every news group that did a story on memes is paid? Careful abt assumptions. They tell more about the observer. [12 jan]

Maria Ressa @angel_alegre Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but the crowd decides. Thanks for sharing! [12 jan]

KatStuartSantiago @maria_ressa ask you about what exactly? [13 jan]

Maria Ressa @radikalchick Ask for an intvw – before making libelous charges based on assumptions alone. Wouldn’t publish without it.

J.O.M. Salazar @radikalchick Is @maria-ressa accusing you of libel? [13 jan]

katstuartsantiago @randomsalt it seems that is a question for @maria_ressa to answer, don’t you think? [13 jan]

J.O.M. Salazar @radikalchick True. Just startled a pro like @maria_ressa would so readily invoke libel given how it’s been used to harrass journos. [13 jan]

KatStuartSantiago @randomsalt friday the 13th kasi. :) tchaka walang ibang kumu-kuwestyon sa kanila.  [13 jan]

Maria Ressa @randomsalt @radikalchick Would say it’s malicious and unfounded, but would not go as far as filing case. Too much over too little. [13 jan]

J.O.M.Salazar @radikalchick If @maria_ressa bristles at being questioned, she proves her own thesis about PHL power-distance index.  [13 jan]

Maria Ressa @randomsalt @radikalchick Just expected better, I guess. A charge deserves a response bef publishing. [13 jan]

J.O.M. Salazar @maria_ressa Seems to me @radikalchick’s questions are less malicious than say, “Who’s lying, Corona or UST?” @rapplerdotcom [13 jan]

Maria Ressa @randomsalt I actually answer questions. But the questions need to be asked first. [13 jan]

J.O.M. Salazar @maria_ressa She did ask questions. I’m puzzled you think such questions are necessarily malicious. @radikalchick [13 jan]

Maria Ressa @randomsalt sorry, received no questions. Would’ve answered. Did intvws yday with several bloggers. @radikalchick  [13 jan]

Rina (wolverinabee) hhhmm. interesting developments between @maria_ressa and @radikalchick. hoping for healthy, and ultimately instructive discussion. [13 jan]

Maria Ressa @wolverinabee @radikalchick always, hopefully :-) [13 jan]

katstuartsantiago wow. you invoke libel, call my writing malicious & unfounded, and THEN you end with “always, hopefully” and a smiley? wow, @maria_ressa [13 jan]

we missed ressa’s second and third tweets because she didn’t tag @radikalchick — bakit kaya — so for a while there, after reading re-reading radikalchick’s piece, we could only assume that ressa had found offensive these questions that katrina had raised:

… unlike Teodoro, i don’t think there’s anything petty at all about the issues that Zulueta raises here with regards transparency. in the same way that they call out Zulueta for being a UST professor writing for the Inquirer, why can we not question Teodoro for his own link to the CMFR and Business World? why can we not insist that everyone – especially the media personalities who are calling themselves watchdogs — be transparent about their own biases and links to each other?

so for transparency’s sake: i owe Lito Zulueta for getting my feet wet in arts criticism, and publishing me in the Inquirer’s Arts and Book section in 2009. I stopped writing for the Inquirer in 2010.

now let me dare the Ressas and Teodoros of this world: what are the personal links that exist for you? who are you friends with, and can you at any point critique them privately or publicly? does it matter at all that Teodoro is co-writer with Vitug in a CMFR book like Media in Court(1997)?

or maybe, we wondered, it was this that offended?

… a love affair exists among those who are holding the fort of “new media” | “online media” — self-proclaimed and otherwise. if anything i am reminded that in media, as with the literary world, and maybe every aspect of this Pinoy culture, what keeps the status quo are friendships: ones that run deep, ones that are unquestioned from within. the question for Ressa and Teodoro really is whether or not theycould have at any point disagreed with Vitug on this and any story? the question for all of us who blindly want to be invited into the bubble of middle class media and sort-of-NGO work is how many questions will we then fail to ask?

all valid questions.  by no stretch of the imagination is any of it libelous or malicious or unfounded.  it is critical, yes, and is that bawal na ngayon?

moreover, ressa’s insistence that she should have been asked/interviewed first before publishing, as a pro would have done daw, had us falling from our seats in shock.  ano daw?  ano siya.  sacred cow?  and since when have opinion blogs fallen under her purview?

then came J.O.M.’s storify and the second and third ressa tweets: “I suppose every news group that did a story on memes is paid? Careful abt assumptions. They tell more about the observer.” … “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but the crowd decides.”

so where did katrina suggest/assume that “every news group that did a story on memes is paid”?  not here, surely:

rappler has quietly revealed itself to be about helping out government instead of being a critical voice that at the very least asks: how much was paid BBDO for this campaign and is it worth it? i guess no questions like that for “uncompromised journalism” now tagging itself as “citizen journalism.”

katrina was asking how much BBDO got paid, not rappler!  double vision, ressa?  slip of the tweet?  kneejerk defense?

so later she backpedals, but not to take back the libel accusation, and only after using the M word: “Would say it’s malicious and unfounded, but would not go as far as filing case. Too much over too little.”

too little?  she sullies katrina’s good name and the quality of her writing with the L word and the M word, and then says it’s “too little” to file a case over?  after she had deemed it big enough to tweet in no uncertain terms to her 74,782 twitter followers???  and i assume THAT is her “crowd” that will “decide”???  incredible!  yeah, like kris :(

irresponsible na nga, patronizing pa, looking down condescendingly on katrina from her cocky perch up there, wherever, in the dizzying heights of cyberspace obviously, giddy and gaga over her “popularity” and the support and adulation she’s been getting from her friends and cohorts (silence=support) in mainstream and social media?  yeah, she’s so back in the big-time now, we hear she even has links to, i mean, gets leaks from, the palace, no less.

check out benignO’s post World Bank report on Supreme Court ‘ineligible funds’ inappropriately leaked to Rappler? that i posted on my facebook wall, to which political analyst malu tiquia and journalist nini yarte, among others, reacted:

Malou Tiquia : what seems to have been ignored was that the WB project was implemented in 2003 under CJ DAVIDE, whose son was endorsed by PNOY during the 2010 elections. Unfortunately, the WB fund was audited during the Corona watch. The head of the Project Committee was even another Justice and not Corona.

Stuart Santiago : reading the inquirer version now, malou… hmm, kay corona ibinunton lahat, no? grabe.

Malou Tiquia : some in media created/abetted/supported the 2010 winner; media is ensuring they picked the right candidate unlike in 2001 when they allowed themselves to be used to oust Erap. If only media plays its role, then all of us will be served well. Now, if they would still blame Corona under command responsibility, the incumbent leader in the Executive Branch should be subjected to the same rigor too.

Nini Yarte : So it was a leaked story after all from a tainted source at that. No wonder rappler did not bother to get the reaction of people mentioned in the article. I was looking for the reply of JRSP to WB’s demand letter in the report, given the seriousness of the matter, there was none. So much for fair and objective journalism. If rappler’s advocacy is to bring down corona, it’s fine with me. But, mind, that’s not journalism.

Nini Yarte : … It’s a goldmine to us journalists, a scoop. But even when it’s a leaked story, the good practice, ethical, if you will, in journalism is to inform people that will be adversely affected by the story that such and such a report will be published and would they care to comment or give their side of the story. If they refuse to comment, that in itself is reported. The WB story is too one-sided for comfort. Now, if rappler wants to become like wikileaks, okay with me. But wikileaks does not brand itself as the bastion of good journalism. :)

trial by publicity, and rappler is part of it.  too bad.

like i’ve said on facebook, okay lang naman, kanya-kanyang diskarte.  but ressa should get down to earth, learn to respond rationally, and not cry bloody libel like a baby, when faced with criticism.  i know from experience that the blogosphere can be unforgiving of major lapses, lalo na pag ayaw umamin ng isang nagkamali o ayaw mag-sorry ng isang naka-offend.

i’ve been an independent and active political blogger for more than 3 years now, radikalchick for two.  we have built up our credibility slowly and patiently.  our comments sections are open to all (we only delete spam and trash), as are our twitter streams.  we are quick to apologize, to admit to mistakes, and to express thanks when a reader points out an error or gap in our reasoning.  we are also quick to thank anyone who offers new info/links/perspectives that raise the level of discourse.

we know to be careful, to self-edit, dahil nakataya ang pangalan namin.  we do not hide behind pseudonyms or orgs.  our blogs are us, up close and political.

a public apology would soothe radikalchick’s ruffled feathers some.  of course, we’re not waiting with bated breath.  given my own history with ressa, i don’t know that she’s up to it.  and then again, who knows.  she might see the light.  hope springs eternal.


  1. “Nini Yarte : … It’s a goldmine to us journalists, a scoop. But even when it’s a leaked story, the good practice, ethical, if you will, in journalism is to inform people that will be adversely affected by the story that such and such a report will be published and would they care to comment or give their side of the story. ”

    question: by adding the sentence “SC officials were asked to comment…”, then it would be ethical/more ethical.

    ok, thats seems right to me. but a follow up: with regard to “scoops” which are either confidential anonymous informants or leaked documents, was there EVER A TIME, when this “other side” of the story was done for the initial (first) story?

    i dont think so, and i think this is a great object lesson in journalistic ethics in the context of time sensitive leaked sources.

    to be clear about what i am writing about: ALL news outfits, in the context of leaked information, DO NOT seek the other side’s quotes for the INITIAL STORY. they do however, in follow up stories.

    if this is a problem, then its EVERYONE’S PRACTICE that is suspect.

    • Nini Yarte

      I say yes categorically@Gabby D. A published report, leaked or not, without response from people adversely affected by it smacks of maliciousness. Maliciousness is determined by intent. Which is why it is good practice to include in a news story a reporter’s attempt to reach the people concerned. Then it becomes clear that there is no malicious intent. A response or comment must be sought before a damning story is published. What makes rappler’s story even more suspect is it did not have any corroborating comment from WB itself. Not any newspaper that published the story have it either, maybe not out of maliciousness, just low-standard journalism.

      • yes nini, i agree with you that this would be better.

        my question is on actual journalistic practice.

        during times of time-sensitive, confidential informant, leaks, etc based stories, are there ANY instances where the initial story had a comment, or request thereof, by the implicated party?

        in my research, i saw the woodward and bernstein articles on watergate, and they DID do what you suggest. but i aver that this is a special/different situation.

        how about generally? does journalistic practice conform to the ethics you describe?

  2. These “online journalists” (at least the clique that hijacked the term for themselves) come across as 20th Century relics every time they presume to stomp around the blogosphere. It’s amusing seeing them clumsily lumber across and trying to build creds in this landscape NOW considering that just a few years ago, they saw bloggers as mere nuisances while they themselves continued to cling (I think “like mollusks” is the term Joker Arroyo used) to their big media employers, their cosy relationships with their informants and politician/corporate “patrons” thinking that their place in society as the “heroic” heralds of “freedom” that they painted for themselves back in the 1980’s.

    By the way, don’t mind GabbyD. He has the distinction of being the only commentor I delete from our blog simply because I can…

    • what do you call a person who deletes comments (which you claim is part of the open process of communication in the blogosphere) for NO REASON?

      “He has the distinction of being the only commentor I delete from our blog simply because I can…”

      hmmm… angela, i’ll let you answer that question on your own time.

        • ty. i’d call that person a hypocrite — he SAYS THAT the blogosphere is about free commenting on other people blogs to respons, yet he DELETES COMMENTS when it doesnt suit him. when what you SAY is vastly different from what you DO, thats hypocrisy.

          hopefully angela reaches the same conclusion.

  3. Orlando R

    hi angela,

    some folks cry like babies, or delete like cookies, and of course it’s because of ‘entitlement.’

    where did the ethic of earning respect go? where the flowers have gone, as per bob dylan.

  4. sorry gabbyD: if i had to choose between you and benignO, id choose benignO. i will admit, i am almost always on the verge of deleting your comments. i do delete comments too just because i can. and yeah, orlando, it’s entitlement. i’m entitled to. it’s my blog.

    • almost always? thats alot of times.

      i dont know why you’d want to do that. i cant control what you feel/believe. i can only control what i feel and believe.

      here’s my life philosophy on communicating on blogs–>be straightforward with people. speak plainly. tell the truth. act honorably. listen. ask questions when you dont understand. make all assumptions transparent and question them. talk to people who wont always agree with you. never name call. admit when you’ve made a mistake.

      to my knowledge, i’ve always behaved this way in this space.

      i believe that when i do that, i elevate social discussion, which is sorely needed.

      i believe that the internet is the perfect place to attempt to elevate political discussion.

      i dont want to change people’s minds for the sake of “winning”.

      i know that its your blog. and its his. if one day, you delete my comments, ban me, whatever, i HOPE you tell me why, and that we communicate about it; but i cant FORCE YOU to do that. i dont want to force you, even if i could.

      my point was hypocrisy –> he has said that comments are crucial to the blogosphere, and yet he admits that he deletes comments for no reason. thats hypocrisy.

      nothing can come closer to the dictionary definition than this. that is me telling you the truth.

      • What is being overdone here is philosophicating about blogs. Blogs are private enterprises. The discretion of the blog owner to delete comments is exercised on his/her own judgment of how much moderation will ensure an optimal experience for his/her readers. Some fools compare the entitlement to post drivel in blogs as analogous to freedom of expression guaranteed by a democratic state. That sort of quaint false analogy makes me laugh. If you follow my link to the background behind my routine leisurely deletion of GabbyD’s comments, you’ll find the answer — nobody really gives a hoot about GabbyD. His being a nobody is an outcome of the quality of his comments — i.e. zero. And like bums are routinely kicked out of squeaky clean office buildings (which are run by private enterprise) and so I do the same for bums like GabbyD.

        It’s simpe, really (though not for the small-minded).

        • ” He has the distinction of being the only commentor I delete from our blog simply because I can…”–> 5:50 am

          ” And like bums are routinely kicked out of squeaky clean office buildings (which are run by private enterprise) and so I do the same for bums like GabbyD.” –> 1:54 pm

          there is much to think about what he said, but note this: in 8 hours, he changes his argument completely (with matching ad hominem!).

          wait another 8 and see what happens.

  5. on fb the anti-coronas are saying that the WB only denies issuing the statement but does not deny the contents. ellen tordesillas is checking it out against the report on the WB website; she’s not done but so far, it seems the contents of the website report are contrary to the jrsp release…

  6. i want to copy past some of the finding of the report. the status of the project, as of june 2011 was:

    “As of June 27, 2011 an amount of US$13.88 million has disbursed (63.4%). About 40%
    of the results have been achieved after seven years of implementation. The project is
    currently in “U” [THIS MEANS UNSATISFACTORY] status for DO [DEVELOPMENT OBJECTIVES] and IP [IMPLEMENTATION PROGRESS]. However, based on recent progress (including
    results reporting, upturn in implementation pace and disbursements, faster procurement
    processing, safeguards compliance, and active leadership by Chief Justice Corona and
    other Justices) the team proposes to upgrade the IP rating to “MU” [MARGINALLY UNSATIS.] while keeping the DO
    rating at “U”. The Court has prepared a credible procurement-cum-implementation plan
    for the proposed extension period, and the Bank has agreed with the Court and with the
    oversight bodies that the extension will be considered on condition that if key
    implementation milestones are not met by the agreed dates, the activities and the
    associated loan amounts would be cancelled at the discretion of the Bank and without
    further notice to the Borrower or the implementing agency (i.e. the Supreme Court).”

    ok. as of 6 months ago, there were problems with implementation, but the WB was willing to forge ahead and attempt to finish the project with a new schedule, controls, etc…

    what did the leaked document say, dated Dec 28, 2011 (6 months later)? the report can be found on rappler, but i wanted to point out one thing.

    the newstory is about the SC giving back money, what aide mem. called “inelligible expenditure”

    so its important to distinguish… — its true that spending RAMPED UP during coronas’ time, which is what the june 2011 status report reports.

    what the Dec 2011 aide mem. says is that some of this INCREASED SPENDING is ineligible under the program. the rappler’s lead paragrah: “ANILA, Philippines – The World Bank has asked the Supreme Court to return a total of US$199,000 (P8.6-M) in “ineligible” funds by the end of January, saying the High Tribunal spent this on activities and projects not covered by a loan agreement between both parties.”

    these two docs, one official and the other unofficial, DO NOT CONTRADICT EACH OTHER.

    now, the WB MUST deny the relase of the 12/2011 aide mem. i’m suprised they didnt do so sooner ( weekend?)

    but ellen’s comment here: “The WB report, which can be found in its website, does not carry criticisms of Corona and Marquez. In fact, it has a positive assessment of the project.”

    … must be put into context.

    i agree 1) it doesnt criticise them. OF course. the 06/2011 doc was an attempt to start again with renewed optimism and cooperation with stakeholders. 2) this doesnt not contradict the possiblity that 6 MONTHS LATER, the new schedule, controls had issues again.

    • just to try to round out the picture from where gabby sits. the leaked aide-memoire is on it provides a mixed picture of success and inadequacies. the main inadequacy is in the area of financial controls, which is perhaps behind the “ineligible expenditures” (though the aide-memoire doesn’t quite say this out loud). but it suggests that the wb means to make sure that its loan funds are spent properly and wisely.

      the wb is a very methodical place, and has very diplomatic staff. they “kindly” request our public officials to “comply” with or accede to requests for information, etc.

      the aide=memoire reports that the loan has to be evaluated by the executive board of the world bank. the wb staff is formally required to make an evaluation report (called an ICR – Implementation and Completion Results) which is to be shared with the public. ICR is due at end-2012, and depends on key inputs from the public borrower’s responsible officials.

      some interesting questions: who will be responsible for returning the money involved in ineligible expenditures? how will the money be recovered? will the sc find the funds from its budget? will it come from the pockets of officials who engaged in these expenditures?

  7. ellen t. updates her blog that the office of the president has said its been investigating the veracity of the leaked report. they say its a legit (but obviously leaked) doc.

    looks like b0 and ellen got too excited. relax lang tayo. magbasa. magisip. magtanong. relax. (see, no ad hominems. very easy.)