Burden of proof



Not so long ago when there still were no laptops or mobile phones, Nina Totenberg, “that brassy blonde reporter,” as she was described by people who hated her for her take-no-prisoners coverage of the US Justice department, told a top brass, “Mister, . . . did the President really say ‘F¬¬_ _ k the… department?’

Some higher authority promptly asked that Miss Totenberg be thrown out of the Justice beat.

Of course, the plot/conspiracy did not work [not in America, this corner would presume]and “that brassy blonde reporter” went on with her job of exposing shenanigans in the Justice department.

It works differently in the Philippines, where anyone who feels maligned or even criticized constructively goes to court and slaps a libel suit against the perceived “offender.”

Another scenario is that the head of the “offender” would be demanded by his “victims.”

Or, a reporter is barred from the fraternity, so to speak, or otherwise prevented by the onion-skinned to make a legitimate living as a member of the media.

This happened recently, according to reports, to a sportswriter, who has allegedly been carrying out planned attacks against a basketball official.

What this sportswriter supposedly said against that official is not clear, except that he is, broadly speaking, also supposedly destroying the country’s premier basketball league.

It appears that the burden of proof is on the league.

Now, the “bad” guy reportedly is treated like a pariah, ostracized, for his alleged biased reporting, with his colleagues not wanting to touch him with a hundred-foot pole, lest they lose their sources and their friends and relations in the industry.

But the sportswriter has been given, unwittingly, by his supposed victim/s a longer rope with which to choke those who have united against him.

Much like the Aldub phenomenon, he is now enjoying more than 15 minutes of fame and he can prolong it for as long as he wants, as long as it takes, thanks to social media.

Cyberspace is boon or bane; depending on whose side you are on, and in this guy’s case the world is his oyster, his kingdom, his universe or whatever others may be out there.

What the basketball league should have done is to invite the sportswriter to a dialogue, with sabers not rattling, and talk it out like gentleman should.

And, if the “offender” refuses the invitation, then he must be hiding something that he is making things up.

Still, this corner disagrees that the guy should be treated like a leper.

Instead, let him do his job since, according to reports, none of what he has written constitutes a crime, is inaccurate or totally false.

The ball is on the league’s court and it’s a pity to see that just one person taking on the sport’s titans is, for them, too much to handle.


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1 Comment

  1. Good, Mr. Marinas. You and all The Manila Times writers should support that reporter and heap accurate dung on that league official!

    Makibaka wag matakot!