Category: maria ressa

Of Black Flags and Careless Connections

By Marck Ronald Rimorin

In her latest “Thought Leaders” piece for Rappler.com, Maria Ressa writes:

Much like the Madrid bombings in 2004 that killed 191 people and the London bombings in 2005 that killed 52, the Boston bombings were carried out by men who integrated into their societies and benefited from the liberalism and inclusiveness of the West. Yet, despite their seemingly Western ways, the attackers in London and Madrid harbored deep hatred sparked by al-Qaeda’s virulent ideology – perhaps much like Tamerlan, who said, “I don’t have a single American friend. I don’t understand them.”

Read on 

ressa’s chilling effect

silence
by radikalchick

because i’d be lying if i said that Maria Ressa throwing the words libel and malicious my way didn’t render me speechless, literally and figuratively.

but maybe what was worse than throwing that my way was the fact that it was also retracted with a brush-off: filing a case would be too much for too little. i haven’t been patronized like this publicly, have never felt let down by someone i respect since, oh i don’t know, i applied for a job at UP Diliman and got a version of this from an ex-teacher. but this is different from the latter in that i was not applying for a job with Ressa, and there is no — there is no — notion of seniority that should have mattered here. of course randomsalt has so succinctly pointed out that it isn’t what it seems from where Ressa stands.

Read on

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 rappler.com, 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: <http://www.radikalchick.com/going-to-the-dogs/>

angel alegre @maria_ressa interesting pov on teodoro-zulueta (and ressa) case: radikalchick.com/going-to-the-dogs [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. bit.ly/zl6gr1  [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.

vitug, UST, online journalism

read on (the) line: credibility, the academe, journalism for radikalchick‘s take on marites danguilan vitug‘s UST breaks the rules to favor Corona (rappler.com) and lito zulueta‘s response, UST: CJ Corona earned Ph.D. (inquirer broadsheet).

not surprisingly, the online community, beyond taking sides, vitug vs. corona, is most offended by zulueta’s, or is it UST’s, clear disdain for online journalism and rappler.com.

“Is that a legitimate news organization? What individuals and entities fund Newsbreak and Rappler? Do these outfits have editors? Who challenged Miss Vitug’s article before it went online so as to establish its accuracy, objectivity and fairness? Why was there no prior disclosure made? What gate-keeping measures does online journalism practice?”

to which the center for media freedom and responsibility (CMFR) responded with Specious and Ingenuous, referring to zulueta’s piece, and taking the side of vitug in no uncertain terms.

The argument that as an example of online journalism Ms. Vitug’s article did not go through the gate-keeping process standard in print journalism is similarly misleading. Gate-keeping is indeed an issue in online journalism, but as editor-at-large of Rappler, Ms. Vitug is herself that site’s lead gatekeeper. Vitug, who has been a journalist for 30 years, is also the founder ofNewsbreak, “which has operated as a magazine and online for more than a decade until it joined Rappler in December 2011.”

CMFR notes that Ms. Vitug’s attempt to get the side of UST and Corona, and her disclosing that she was either rebuffed or ignored, were both in keeping with journalistic ethics and protocol.

hmm.  i must confess, it feels strange to be disagreeing with CMFR on this one.  but UST’s tack, which everyone presumes is zulueta’s, questioning the credibility of rappler.com if not of vitug, a journalist of long standing, was the perfect riposte.  by the standards of mainstream journalism, vitug’s piece failed to put the dissertation issue in the context of the big picture — is it something that happens, too, in other universities?  did corona pressure UST into granting him exemptions, or was it purely on UST’s initiative?

that she tried to get the side of UST and corona but was rebuffed shouldn’t have stopped vitug from further investigation.  in keeping with journalistic standards of verification and fairness, her researcher could have checked out the matter with CHED, and maybe she would have learned what zulueta gleefully pointed out, that UST is allowed by CHED to grant academic degrees to individuals “whose relevant work experiences, professional achievements and stature, as well as high-level, nonformal and informal training are deemed equivalent to the academic requirements for such degrees.” then perhaps she would have come to a different, less biased, conclusion, as befits a journalistic piece?  unless, of course, it was part of a diss-corona campaign in aid of his conviction sa impeachment trial, no more, no less.

interesting tuloy ang tanong ng UST about who’s funding newsbreak.ph and rapper.com.  pro-palace ba?  pro-RH and -FOI malamang, in accordance with the majority mood.  pero pro-what else?  anong agenda?  at puwede rin namang wala, banat lang nang banat according to the wishes of the crowd, which would not help the discourse any, but it would keep netizens all fired up all the time, good for digital advertisers which that ceo maria ressa hopes to attract for a “sustainable commercial venture.”

but wait.  isn’t advertising the no-no of what ressa calls “uncompromised journalism?”  googled it and found this definition (from Politics: An Introduction to Modern Democratic Government pages 151-152) that’s specific to public radio and tv broadcasting but would seem applicable to new media as well, where “funding comes from the state … and broadcasters are…released from the imperatives of pleasing advertisers and appealing to the markets that advertisers want.”

so where is rappler’s funding coming from?  who’s spending for the iligan coverage, for example?  the state?  the palace?  philanthropists?  NGOs?  the rappler team mismo?  if any of the first four, then what’s the trade off?  if the last, then mabuhay kayo, good job, i wish you all deep pockets!

interesting din yung question about gate-keeping.  so vitug gate-keeps herself and that’s okay?  but that’s so like blogging, which i do, and which is nothing like rappler’s thing.  radikalchick is right: if the site wants to be taken seriously, ressa et al must define  terms, draw lines, and maybe rethink their concept.  that is, if rappler hopes to earn the respect of mainstream and online media and, in the process, upgrade the quality of and standards for citizen journalism in the pinoy blogosphere and social media.

otherwise, puwede rin namang status quo lang, let rappler be whatever it is they envision claim it to be, pero stop with the grand promise of inspiring smart conversations and igniting a thirst for change, because the question becomes: what kind of change?  small change a la phnoy?

my only prayer is, let it not be as blogger benignO fears: More traditional “branded” journos = more inbred thinking.

 ***

BREAKING NEWS from radikalchick

Or what to do after UST shoots you down, invoking academic freedom and autonomy

Vitug et al could have gone to the CHED website, searched for ETEEAP, clicked on the link that explains what this is exactly, scrolled down this ETEEAP page, and  found a downloadable document entitled “list of HEIs.”  upon opening that document dated December 2010, they would have discovered that while the University of Santo Tomas is indeed granted by CHED the right to give any person a degree based on years of experience etc etc., a Doctorate in Law is not included in that list of degrees.

University of Santo Tomas (UST)
Bachelor of Arts; BS Engineering; BS Nursing; BS Music;
Graduate Programs (MBA; MA Music)

granted the possibility that this list has since been updated, this was still the right “journalistic” reaction to UST’s statement, yes?  and it took me all of five minutes to do.