New York Times: Graveyard of serious journalism



First read
IT is infantile for Palace communications to simply say, in reply to the New York Times’ evident campaign against President Duterte and the Philippines, that the President has “shrugged off’’ the attacks or that he is “unfazed.”

These characterizations will not impress any of our eminent state guests, who are now in the country to attend the 30th Asean Leaders’ Summit. They expect something more imaginative and acerbic from the leader whom Time magazine named this week as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

This exchange made me think for some reason of what Sean Connery‘s character said in the film, “The Untouchables”: “You wanna know how to get Capone? They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way! And that’s how you get Capone.”

The exchange also called to mind the fact that New York journalism had an instrumental role in fomenting the Spanish-American War, which led to a chain of events that is fateful for Philippine history, which included the following: the sending of Admiral George Dewey and his Aquatic Squadron to Manila Bay, and the destruction of Spain’s decrepit navy; the entry of US forces into Manila against the objections of Gen, Emilio Aguinaldo and Filipino revolutionary forces; Aquinaldo’s proclamation of the independence of the Philippines in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1998; the signing of the Treaty of Paris in December 1898, under which Spain sold the Philippines to America for $20 million; the outbreak of the Philippine-American War in February 1899, which would rage for nearly three years until June 1902.

The role of the New York press in the destruction of the first Philippine Republic will be remembered by Filipinos, as they contemplate today the determined efforts of yet another New York newspaper, the New York Times, to stop our duly elected President and his government, in conspiracy with Filipino opposition groups.

Answering NYT journalism

I do not propose that the Philippines should deal with the NYT the Chicago way.

But as a minimum, the Philippines should answer the accusatory journalism of NYT by denouncing its journalism as propaganda by a media organization as a tool for a political group fighting the Duterte government.

The Philippine response should raise the following points:

1.NYT as a newspaper company does no business in the Philippines like circulating its daily editions or selling advertising. It is not registered in the country; it is strictly alien to the nation.

2.By espousing the stoppage or overthrow of President Duterte, NYT is acting like a state to call out and do harm to a sovereign state, the Philippine Republic, which has its own laws and is signatory to the solemn covenants of the United Nations.

3. To publish its now voluminous journalism on the Philippines, the New York Times has not sent or posted a single journalist in the country, so he or she could investigate firsthand events and developments, interview knowledgeable personalities, and secure documents. No NYT reporter and no member of its editorial board is listed in Philippine records as having entered the country, or talked to Filipino officials. The conclusion is clear: NYT has made its reports and editorials without setting foot in the Philippines. Its journalism on the country was not earned.

NYT may claim that it has used the reports and photographs of freelance journalists, and of certain political and non–government organizations. The fact is, NYT’s failure to do reporting or fund reporting on its own invalidates its grandiose call for the stoppage or overthrow of our duly elected President.

3. This journalism by remote and without responsibility is totally at variance with the Times’ reputation and record for serious, fair and credible reporting. By stinting in fielding journalists at the scene, NYT has made its recent journalism on the Philippines hollow and bereft of substance.

4. From the evidence, NYT has violated the canons of good, responsible and ethical journalism. Instead of serving as an example of good journalism, NYT by publishing journalism that is not supported by on-the-spot coverage of the Philippines, is better regarded as the graveyard of serious journalism.

5. NYT could have secured handily interviews with President Duterte, the head of the Philippine National Police (PNP). Gen. Ronald dela Rosa; and other top officials of the Philippine government. No such interview took place, because

NYT never asked, and was not here; no NYT journalist was here.

Posturing like a state

What we are faced with here is a newspaper that has an inflated view of its own importance, that postures like a state, in order to call out President Duterte and his government.

NYT is taking part in the internal politics of the Philippines by taking the side of groups opposed or critical of the Duterte government. It claims as fact and finds meritorious the wildest claims and charges of the opposition.

It has embraced the cause of two self- confessed killers, Edgar Matobato and Arthur Lascañas, and has completely disregarded the findings of Senate inquiries that dismissed their testimonies as nothing but lies.

At a time when journalism is threatened by an epidemic of fake news and post-truth politics, and an ever-rising social media, the times now need more than ever serious, fact-checking and thoughtful journalism.

NYT has made a cause célèbre of the lawsuit filed by one Filipino lawyer against President Duterte and 11 officials before the International Criminal Court.

NYT fancies that ICC will give due course to the case because it has placed its support behind it.

Deluded about its importance

This paper is deluded about its own importance. It is time, I think, for the paper to consult its high-priced lawyers for advice on this matter. It will then quickly discover that the Sabio complaint has zero chance of being entertained by the ICC, and still less of effecting the prosecution of Duterte et al in the international court.

In 1898, an English poet wrote that it is “the white man’s burden” for the United States to take the Philippines and civilize the Filipinos.

In 2017, an American newspaper is telling the world to condemn President Duterte and pave the way for regime change.

The first time, we Filipinos declared war on America.

This second time, we are under compulsion to declare war on the New York Times. Perhaps we should begin by banning NYT from covering the East Asia summit in Manila in November. Let‘s see whether it will stint on the coverage of an event which will gather Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Shinzo Abe, and other top world leaders in the same room.

But you can never tell.

Because of circulation decline, poor revenues, and staff costs, NYT is now cutting its budget on everything. It has more confidence in bullying foreign countries that cannot fight back.


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  1. Thanks to Loida Nicolas Lewis and friends, New York Times survived in difficult times by feed more Fake News against the Philippine Government.

  2. New York Times, ABS CBN, ANC, Time Magazine, Inquirer..all of these are propaganda, garbage. I do not subscribe to them and I do not patronize their advertisers. My country is much more important than the narrow interests of the greedy oligarchs who own these propaganda outlets.

  3. I completely agree with the part of NYT churning out articles with absolute conviction despite that fact that they information is 100% outsourced, no certified NYT employee is fact checking nor even setting foot in PH to at least get the full side of the other parties.

    Anyway, for those interested. The is a very fun exercise which can be tried to get an idea of NYT’s reputation in the internet.

    Simply open Google and type in the search bar “New York Times is “, and see what will be the first auto suggestion Google will provide you. (Spoiler, Trump uses the phrase everytime with CNN, lol)

  4. The best way to counter false news and press releases is sticking to facts, upholding the truth. Filipinos need to learn critical reading, i.e using their analytic skills and correct judgment, so as to sift the truth from the garbage of fallacies and fictions. Let the readers decide. Let columnists and reporters dish out validated info.

  5. The Philippines had been under the Spanish colonial rule for about 333 long years. They did not teach Filipinos their language because they thought that ignorance would make the natives more pliant and submissive. Following the dictum that ” a little learning is a dangerous thing,” what could be more dangerous for the colonisers than a more intelligent people? Only a handful of Filipinos, the well-to-do ones were able to afford a good education and learn Spanish. We could have been as conversant in Spanish like the Mexican and almost all South American peoples but we are not because they did not teach us the language of Cervantes.

    The Philippines was under the American rule for about 48 years yet we speak and write in English as good as or even better than other English-speaking nations. They sent the Thomasites to educate the Filipinos and taught us their language.

    They exported to us their system of government, democracy which they improved and bettered from the original Greek idea of the system. Now we are at least free to say or write what we wanted as long as we stay within the bounds of propriety and legal limits.

  6. Junks. No more and no less. That’s the best the now financially and morally bankrupt NYT can afford to feed the mind of its readers.

    Ah! I was supposed to take a couple of courses in investigative jounalism and freelancing offered by the NYT School until this once reputable, descent instituion backslid from the high ethical and professional journalistic standards it used to adhere to (or so i thought) that i decided to back out. For what will i learn from them? Rubbish! Nothing but rubbish!!!

  7. Many valid points, but an underlying message that foreign newspapers should mind their own business is not welcome. Media coverage of international affairs is now routine. If there is a spate of state sanctioned murders in any country, this is a matter for report. Of course verification of facts is crucial.

    • But Mr. Keefe, how do you conclusively prove that the murders were actually sanctioned? Even if for the sake of argument the killings were simply encouraged by police action, many other factors could have induced those crimes, anyway, and in none of these did the Philippine government had a purpose of killing. The right of policemen to defend themselves in the line of duty is a given and not pertinent to the issue. Nor is the rogue action of individual law enforcers. These have been dealt with separately. “Sanctioned” is inaccurate to describe these murders.

      Media coverage may be justified, but what about calling on the world to condemn a duly elected leader of a sovereign state? NYT is acting like 300’s Xerxes and his emissaries. “A thousand nations of the Persian Empire descend upon you.” Isn’t it a shame that one’s behavior resembles a caricatured movie character? If they think Duterte is crazy, aren’t they stooping even lower?

  8. I hate to say this but the truth hurts. we have been shamed over and over in the past because of our country’s mismanagement and incompetence from the dirty international airport to the poverty nationwide. instead of complaining we should strive harder to improve the country and be more disciplined, honest and work hard and surely this will be noticed by our visitors and tourists. I don’t blame the NYT because most of their statements are true and we all know that. take it or leave it.

  9. Jose A. Oliveros on

    It is Asiatic Squadron, not Aquatic Squadron. Dewey was still a Commodore when his Asiatic Fleet sailed from Hongkong to Manila on orders of then Assistant Navy Secretary Theodore Roosevelt. There are no more officials in the US Navy now carrying the rank of Commodore. From Navy Captain, the next higher rank is that of Vice Admiral – equivalent to a Major General in the Army and Air Force.

  10. If we contemplate a courtroom scene where a man is testifying about something he has has only heard of, whatever he says will have no value to the court as it is only hearsay. The New York Times reports about events in the Philippines that it only obtained from other sources, and whose credibility is in doubt, is at best hearsay. Anybody who swallows any report by the NYT, hook line and sinker, is of an unsound mind.

  11. The Philippines will be justified to ban the NYT in covering the East Asia Summit in November in Manila because of the paper’s bad journalistic practices. The world should not be reading reports by the NYT because there is a big possibility that they would be lying. Even in the U.S., the NYT has lost a lot of following already. Who would subscribe to a newspaper who reports false news?