The Maria Ressa scam: How a tax evader fooled the world’s journalists by crying wolf for press freedom against President Duterte

The Maria Ressa scam: How a tax evader fooled the world’s journalists by crying wolf for press freedom against President Duterte

- in Opinion

Maria Ressa spends a lot of her time giving interviews about the dire situation in the Philippines. She says it’s worse than any war zone she’s reported from. She says this often. That the Philippines under President Duterte is a “hell” “worse than any warzone” she’s reported from is one of her most used soundbites. She says journalists aren’t safe. She says she has been exiled and persecuted because her online blog outfit and self-styled “news” site Rappler, which was actually found to have violated Philippine laws by being funded by foreign investors to the tune of several million dollars, is no longer allowed to operate as a legitimate press vehicle in the Philippines. She must live abroad, enjoying her dual citizenship status, to avoid persecution. All her personal trials are because she spoke up against the Dictator Duterte, she says. But court records say it’s because she slandered a private businessman with corruption allegations with no proof, plus the breach of media laws, plus oh yeah, tax evasion.

Welcome to the Maria Ressa scam.

This is how far one woman will go to keep herself above the law. This is how a tax evader successfully duped international media into voting her in as a 2018 Time Person of the Year. Here’s how to go from a criminal to a beacon of journalism in the face of corrupted absolute power. Here’s how an unpopular sore loser decided to attack the reputation of a country she claims to love in order to protect her own. Here is how to get away with murder – by pretending you are the symbol of press freedom and lying through your teeth.

Maria Ressa has had a long career. She worked for CNN for nearly two decades, reporting from war zones across South East Asia. Again, remember, she has been in war zones and “The Philippines Is Worse”. For nearly the last decade of her professional life, she has been watering her pet-project turned news blog I guess, Rappler, while simultaneously nourishing an ego the size of the natural gas reserves in the West Philippine Sea.

Growing up in America after a brief childhood stint in the Philippines, Ressa only returned to the Philippines for a post-graduate education. With her, she brought an Ivy League diploma and a white savior trope. Which makes it no surprise that, decades later, she talks about the Philippines without placing any weight on the opinions of Filipinos. The country isn’t to her liking, so she brands it evil. It’s easier to turn towards her friends in the international media for a sympathetic ear than open her blind eyes to the millions of Filipinos who are happy with President Duterte. The placards waived in her face by OFWs, the comments on her articles, the laugh reacts and bloggers who call her out for manipulating her sob story away from her crimes and against our immensely popular President? They must be paid trolls. And the narrative of the Duterte administration? It must be her version. Sadly, no Filipinos are buying it. Therefore, she is hellbent on selling her version of events to the foreign media instead, providing the perfect little sob story to liberal news outlets who are inclined to buy into her bias.

Maria Ressa is an expert at playing the victim. Maria Ressa is an expert at twisting the truth. Maria Ressa is an expert at selective listening. But one thing Maria Ressa is not is the symbol of the free press.

It’s not too late for everyone. We’re warning you now to not fall into the scam. Stay away from Maria Ressa the con artist.

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