Everyone has heard of fake news. Whenever we are confronted with an idea or argument we cannot refute logically, we call it fake news. Whenever facts are presented that is critical to our own viewpoint, we call it fake news. We gained weight because we overate during the holiday season, we call it fake news. Fake news has become the catch-all phrase for all things we do not like, but cannot accept.
Rappler’s Maria Ressa cries fake news when she can’t handle the criticism thrown her way because of the fucked up job they do. She screams fake news whenever some shit they write offends people because of its obvious bias. Ironically, Rappler has been crying fake news the loudest, even as they are accused of being the biggest purveyors of fake news in the country.
So, what exactly is fake news?
While Ressa and other journalist-type people would like to define fake news based on their own perception of what “real” news should be (i.e. what they get paid to do for a living), the fact is there is no single definition that everyone can agree on.
Fake news can be as blatantly obvious as those stories that deliberately publish hoaxes and disinformation for the purpose of profit or influence, it could be couched under creative terms like news releases and advertorials, or fake news could be subtly hidden in so-called real news reports that are so loaded with innuendo and half-truths that it threatens to topple over from the weight of its own malice.
A typical form of the latter – which among the three can be considered the most dangerous for being the least obvious form of fake news – is Rappler’s most recent demolition job against President Duterte [Note: Site is archived and safe to click without supporting Rappler].
In it, Pia Ranada (seen in the picture below being attended to by Duterte when she sprained her ankle while covering the 2016 Presidential elections), details the spending made on foreign travels by the President and compares it to his predecessors.
While the story behind the story is nothing more than a fluffed-up accounting report, in the typical Rappler passive-aggressive style, the writer insidiously implies some sort of wrong doing without actually coming out and saying what it is.
She compares the travels of Duterte with Aquino, but carefully choosing only those criteria that would hint the most at extravagance and waste. She contrasts the amount spent on travel with the President’s penchant for frugality in state functions, but doesn’t give enough context for readers to see beyond her carefully laid out premise. She hints at delays in the release of information, but doesn’t mention the fact that similar requests by citizens to other government agencies (like say, the Office of the ‘alleged’ Vice President where outrightly denied). She name drops officials included in the entourage, but doesn’t even fact check who they are (the Alfredo Lim who is the president of Pagcor is NOT the Alfredo Lim who was mayor of Manila).
And despite being tagged as an “investigative” piece, the writer did not make an effort to present any direct cost-to-benefit comparisons, nor was there any attempt to explain the deeper geo-political implications of the trips, or any sort of analysis beyond Rappler’s standard equation of one-plus-one=Duterte is evil and we are the only ones capable of protecting you from him.
Beyond the figures, the piece does not actually contain any real news value. The writer is merely using data to suggest some sort of wrongdoing on the part of the President – but is too much of a wuss to actually say so. This is no different from what bored housewives do when they spread rumors, they start with some story that contains a kernel of truth and twists it in such a way that it can totally mislead people and misrepresents a story’s true news value.
And when they are called out for it, guess what, they’ll hide behind that itsy teeny bit of truth and swear on all things they hold holy that they had no intention of causing all this ruckus. Well, Rappler and all you shits – fuck you. We know what you’re up to and we’re not going to let you get away with it anymore. You call us fake news? Fake news my ass – you’ve been spreading shit on toast for so long you stupid fucks actually think it’s jam. And you fucking expect us to keep on eating what you serve up?
The fact is, Rappler is not alone in using this technique. Nor is President Duterte its only victim. This is a fairly common practice among many media organizations. Using information that is technically true, media companies can put a spin on their reports that reflect the subtle editorial biases of their organization. Once they spin that story, you wouldn’t be able to tell head from tail even if you had a map, a compass, and fucking Bear Grylls for a guide.
Through selective storytelling and politically-biased editorials, media companies have been able to control what people think, talk about, and believe in for decades. The power media wields is so pervasive that it is not uncommon for media personalities to use their fame and influence to move from the television screen to politics. With often disastrous results (for the country, and not necessarily their bank accounts).
These media corporations have sold us to their clients, filled our headlines with their propaganda, saturated our airwaves with their junk, and now that we have had enough of their shit here they come telling us we are too stupid to know what is real and what is not. Fuck that, I’m not taking it anymore. And by the looks of it, I’m not alone. Maria Ressa and Bambam Aquino say they want to take the internet back? Well, how about we just use it to butt-fuck the pair of you losers? How’s that for taking back something that was never yours to begin with?
This is what our society has come down to. A battle between those who want to keep all of us blind while they arrogantly take it upon themselves to tell us what the world should look like, and those of us who refuse to accept the twisted version of reality that Rappler and their kind wants to ram down our throats.
So Rappler, here’s some real news for you – stay away from our President. Our love and respect for him is only surpassed by our hatred of you. You are not the voice of dissent against the status quo – he is. You do not stand for people – he does.