Friday, October 28, 2005

And the truth shall be bought?

I can’t believe that The Philippine Star did not have a report on October 15 about the previous day’s “canonization” of those in the Mendiola prayer rally. Excuse me, Star, but is your pro-GMA slip showing?

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) took note of the press coverage of the said prayer rally led by three Catholic bishops of the Kilusang Makabansang Ekonomiya. (A small note: The CMFR monitor on the October 14 rally is just a part of a more comprehensive monitor of the coverage of the rallies amid the government’s controversial “calibrated preemptive response” (“CPR”) policy which will be on the November issue of the PJR Reports.)
The rally was attended by prominent anti-Arroyo personalities such as former Vice-Pres. Teofisto Guingona, activist priest Fr. Robert Reyes, Sen. Jamby Madrigal, and TV host Oscar Orbos. To me and gazillions of people out there, the “water-dousing” incident should be the biggest story the next day. Whether the paper is for or against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo does not matter. The news elements in the hosed-down prayer rally are pretty much obvious for it to land in the front pages on October 15.

While the rest of the papers were feasting over the latest rally to brush against the government’s notorious “CPR” policy, the Star, apparently, was not interested. From cover to cover, there was no report on the dispersal anywhere in the Star’s October 15 issue. Not even a small, itsy-bitsy news bullet in the paper’s Metro page. To think that Star is considered a major paper, one of the so-called “Big Three.” Why, even the conservative Manila Bulletin had its front-page report on the incident! Hello, Star?

At left are the top three papers' front pages on October 15.

According to the CMFR monitor, text messages pertaining to Star’s snubbing of the October 14 rally instantly circulated. The text message circulating said that the paper had been “bought” by the Palace to keep mum over the incident. The Star should be boycotted, the message said.

Interestingly, Star publisher Max V. Soliven also got the same message. In his October 18 column, he said that he was in Europe when the incident happened and got embarrassed when he found out that his paper did not have a story on it on October 15. He called up his editors for an explanation, Soliven said. “The following day, a day too late, was a follow-up headline: ‘Guingona III: Rally dispersal form of tyranny, oppression’,” he wrote. At least Soliven was correct in saying that it was a day too late for his paper to publish the incident.

What was his reaction to the critical text message he got? “Oh well. Those who believe that stupid canard must already be readers of the other newspapers anyway. Truth will prevail, as our masthead says. No more excuses.”



Anonymous said...

it's better pro-GMA than pro-JAMBY. she's dumb, and papansin. i guess they showed what you call - FREEDOM OF THE PRESS.

bryant said...

Freedom of the Press? Or the press being biased over a certain issue? Yes, jamby is exactly not the type I and many others would root for to save our country. But, as I've said, the October 14 rally has enough news elements to land in the pages of the Star. Kahit wag na lang na headline or front page article. But c'mon, not even a news bulletin of the rally?

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