• The Philippines a target and victim of clickbait journalism?



    First Read
    IN 1898, at the birth of the Philippine republic, the United States press oppressed the new nation with its newly minted “yellow journalism.”

    One hundred nineteen years later, the US press is using on the Philippines today its newfangled weapon of “clickbait journalism.”

    The office of the historian of the US Department of State filed this report on the events of 1895-98:

    “During the heyday of yellow journalism in the late 19th century, it was one of many factors that helped push the United States and Spain into war in Cuba and the Philippines, leading to the acquisition of overseas territory by the United States…

    “The battle between Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World and Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal for greater market share gave rise to the term “yellow journalism.”

    “Once the term had been coined, it extended to the sensationalist style employed by the two publishers in their profit-driven coverage of world events…

    “Yellow journalism is significant to the history of US foreign relations in that its centrality to the history of the Spanish-American War shows that the press had the power to capture the attention of a large readership and to influence public reaction to international events. The dramatic style of yellow journalism contributed to creating public support for the Spanish-American War, a war that would ultimately expand the global reach of the United States.”

    Flash forward to the present day. The US press is waving at the Philippines the weapon of “clickbait journalism.” In the age of the Internet, US journalism has the impudence to demand that the Philippine republic bend its policies to its wishes. “Release Sen. Leila de lima,” declared the New York Times.

    Most Filipinos are unmoved. They like the thought that DU30 has an unusual vocabulary for rebuff.

    Clickbait to stop falling revenues
    In contemporary journalism, the term “clickbait journalism” is more recent than “fake news” and “post-truth politics,” which were crowned as words of the year by the Oxford Dictionary in recent years.

    Economics was the driver of yellow journalism in the 19th century. Economics is similarly driving clickbait journalism in the 21st century.

    Clickbait is the offshoot of the frantic effort of media organizations (particularly print media) to find an availing response to the devastation wrought by the Internet on advertising revenues, readerships, and bottom lines.

    According to Wikipedia, “Clickbait is a pejorative term describing web content that is aimed at generating online advertising revenue, especially at the expense of quality or accuracy, relying on sensationalist headlines or eye-catching thumbnail pictures to attract click-throughs and to encourage forwarding of the material over online social networks. Clickbait headlines typically aim to exploit the ‘curiosity gap’, providing just enough information to make readers curious, but not enough to satisfy their curiosity without clicking through to the linked content.”

    The practice and methods of clickbait were developed because of the interest of advertisers and media buyers in the volume or number of clicks generated by certain stories and news analyses; it was thought that clicks were the virtual equivalent of readers, though clicks do not necessarily mean that the stories/ opinions are read.

    The sensational writing, headlining and angling of stories are designed to induce the reader to click to the story or message.

    From here, it’s a short leap of imagination to see that communication strategists and public relations practitioners would develop clickbait strategies in their communication campaigns.

    Although clickbait was first started by social media, mainstream media quickly caught on and realized the potential of clickbait journalism to generate more readers and stem falling revenues. Soon every mainstream media had its own digital site and edition. In combination with fake news, clickbait journalism was potent.

    Distorted view of the Philippines
    Over the past eight months, I have diligently gathered in my files the many reports and analyses of Philippine developments by Western media. I can honestly say that I have read and reviewed them all.

    It amazes me that what many Filipinos perceive as a time of hope (a chance) for our country, is casually dismissed without thorough analysis by Western media as a national disaster.

    Thus, I have concluded that the Philippines and President Duterte have been both targets and victims of clickbait journalism. As our new government has struggled to cope with the challenge of governing a nation of over 100 million, there has been a counterpart movement—loosely composed of opposition groups, international media and international organizations—that has sought to control the narrative and eventually tried to bring the nation down.

    It is not coincidental that the publication of multiple stories on the Philippine drug war and President Duterte’s bold policies, has happened alongside criticisms leveled at our new government by the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and international human rights organizations. It is not accidental that they all use the same numbers, level the same charge, and make the same demands from the Philippine government.

    The entire communications effort is organized, directed and managed. And it’s mostly taking place in and from New York City, where a large international community of journalists, communicators and experts are based, and the whole community of nations can be reached.

    Ms Loida Nicolas-Lewis and her group of Filipino propagandists operate from NYC. Together they work on US media and the UN; they have turned the New York Times, the Washington Post, the International Business Times, Time magazine, the New Yorker, the Atlantic and other publications into complaisant channels for critical pieces of what is happening in the Philippines.

    From this perspective, the New York Times’ recent analysis, “Becoming Duterte: The making of a Philippine strongman” and Time’s earlier report, “Night falls on the Philippines” have the same DNA.

    It seems unbelievable that such prestigious publications would allow themselves to be used for dishonest journalism. They all fell for the line that Duterte has perpetrated over 7,000 extra-judicial killings (EJKs) in his murderous war on drugs.

    In a way, Duterte was (is) a dream subject for clickbait journalism. He is outrageous, out-of-control, and uncouth, and the more outrageous he is, the more clicks he will generate.

    This is the reason why international media have eagerly given him space. The wonder is why they never bothered to report on Duterte and the Philippines properly through serious fact-finding, investigation and fact-checking. They remain as blind and clueless as the UN and the human rights lobby.

    Backlash against clickbait
    Not surprisingly, there has lately emerged a backlash against clickbait journalism. The modus operandi of clickbait has been exposed by alert media critics and fact-checkers in the US and UK.

    In a revealing critique of clickbait journalism by the International Business Times, Mother Jones magazine reported that IBT journalists are subject to constant demand to produce clickbait; one former employee reportedly complained that management issued “impossible” demands, including a minimum of 10,000 hits per article, and fired those who couldn’t deliver. Of 432 articles published by IBT Japan in a certain time interval, 302 were reportedly created by copying sentences from Japanese media and combining them, “collage-style,” to create stories that seemed new.

    Similarly, IBT employees told The Guardian in 2014 that at times they seemed to operate more as “content farms” demanding high-volume output than a source of quality journalism. At least two journalists were allegedly threatened with firing unless traffic to their articles increased sharply.

    Katherine Viner, editor in chief at the The Guardian, declared that “chasing down cheap clicks at the expense of accuracy and veracity” undermines the value of journalism and truth.

    Others have concluded that clickbait could be the death of journalism.

    Alarmed by the trend, Facebook and Google have taken measures to reduce the impact of clickbait on their social network and internet service.



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    1. DU30 not yet one year as president of the republic….measured in any other benchmarks will need RP History Volume 2 to document his accounts after his term. While other past presidents needed only passing mentions in the history books ( i.e. Aquino, Aquino, Estrada, Ramos ) DU30 accounts will need a re-read. Many new things he transcended including berating the all mighty pope, foreign presidents, UN…. which has the foreign media left in aghast and has written against ( who is this guy, let us destroy him tactics ) …needless to say for their gain (increased readership) and at hindsight these media moguls has created someone so obscure as DU30 became the darling of the oppressed ( and some depressed ). MInd you not one year is completed in DU30 six year term and he is already abuzz internationally.. the.making of a strongman they say of DU30 I say the making of new independent JDC.

    2. Sadly, articles of clickbait journalism are also being picked up and reported by local TV stations abroad, legitimizing erroneous reports. So here I am, a Pinoy living abroad, reporting for work and being put in a defensive situation as colleagues lambast my country’s government yet again. How do you disprove the lies when the locals rely on the honest reporting of their TV stations?

    3. Thou shall not bear false witness against a nation.

      #badkarma is digital nowadays.

    4. Nelson Bania on

      Let us not forget that we were enslaved by Spaniards (Europeans) for over three centuries. Pedophilia, rapes, tortures and massacres of Filipinos by Spaniards were the order of the day in that era. We fought long and hard to be free from the greedy and cruel Spaniards only to find out that we were now under the Americans. This time the rapes, tortures and massacres were done by the Americans to the Filipino people. Western media, Christianity both Catholic and Protestant were used by the Europeans and Americans to make us accept our colonized status meekly and keep us from breaking free of their yoke. Long after the so-called declaration of Philippine independence several of our presidents, senators, congressmen, cabinet members and military still prioritize US interests over Philippine interests. It is time that we shout clearly to the world that we will not be slaves of the Americans, Europeans and anybody else again. It is time to get rid of the US and Europe backed Leni Robredo, Trillanes, Bam Aquino, Noynoy Aquino, Pangilinan, Drilon, Pangilinan, Delima, Ramos and Roxas. We can only prosper as a nation when we are truly independent.

    5. Well written, thank you.
      Philippine Professional Journalism is in the sewage drain, a television news channel even won an award by reporting “daw” and “raw”. By reporting unverified news can win award.
      Is there a professional body that oversee this profession? I guess none.

    6. But global communications is no longer the monopoly of western press.

      No spin master can fool and hood wink the global community this time. Only their less- than- noble- deeds are being exposed, which are as rotten as that of any assassin for hire. Only this time NYT is far worst, trying to suppress the will and aspirations of a country of 100 million people.

      Russia, china, cuba are proving to be more respecting of the right of other countries to govern themselves.

      For NYT in particular, trying to undermine a government perceived by its people very own people as very much needed, is not righteous or welcome, or respectful. More so if it funded by the fruit of evils.
      So low NYT, spent bullshitter of spent oppressors.

    7. We will win against corruption, criminality and drugs. What is so unique in this situation, is that from ordinary people in the streets, to the taxi drivers, to the boardroom in Taguig, Makati or other call centers of the Philippines has been personal and identified with the presidency to get rid of this great nation the scumbags ( that embraced by the church as their patron saints) and other menace of the society and never been in this situation that people or masa does not accept anymore what gma, abs, rappler or cnn wants them to believe because they know now how to discern and may this be a sign that Philippines is starting to mature as a nation!

    8. Well said and done. Money and a lot of money, they will do everything in order for the to regain all their expenses, we must thank God and all the Filipinos who stood and continue standing their ground supporting the current administration to implement changes that will really affect the life of all Filipinos especially the poor. We must stand up and beware of these people around us who want power and money to control the entire country. Have pitty on them and pray for their soul, for they will not change at all – they thought that they are all saint and they are not doing wrong and sinful act..

    9. I am glad the writer makes positive comments about the British Guardian, my favorite paper for truth and campaigning journalism. However, it has also published critical pieces on the Philippines recently. Is there nothing you would accept as fair criticism when in a foreign newspaper? Indeed, you are balanced yourself in evaluating the President. If he was more diplomatic and respectful, he would not be so easily open to criticism.

    10. Yellow and switch bait journalism are nothing but smoke screens compared to globalist elite multi-national media control… that very few know about.

      “Control the media, and you control the mind” said 70’s rock star Jim Morrison… that is essentially the was the twisted psy-war strategy of the globalist anti-nationalist agenda is being waged and why they target non-elite patriots like Duterte.

      David Rockefeller was one of the top richest global-elitist on earth before he died last Monday March 19, 2017 at the age of 101. His evil views he once revealed in how the NY Times & Times Magazine are tools of the globalist elite – go read a portion of transcript from a 1991 Bilderberg group meeting in Baden, Germany. Bill Clinton (also rumored to be an illegitimate Rockefeller) attended that meeting of the elite class. Rockefeller stated:

      “We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine and other publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march toward a world government. . . . The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”

      In essence what he is saying is that media is their secret tool and they the elite and not your elected national leaders (unless as elite puppets) are going to control the world completely as elite kings. So is it any wonder that the elites created the United Nations and the land for the headquarters was donated by Rockefeller. There’s another connection, why the UN seem to hate what Duterte is doing.

    11. kaya nga let us do this: LET US NOT EVEN CLICK THE WEBSITE OF THESE “NEWSPAPERS” if tehse can be morally called newspapers.

      perhaps tehse shuld be called greedy paid hacks– at the exesne of peace for our country.

      DRUG money is at hand– and GREED too– like more luxury cars, more vacations, more expensive food.

      for what?


      HE also admonished us to pray for our authorities ( Romans 13, the bible) and honor and obey them:

      ” It is important that all of us submit to the authorities who have charge over us because God establishes all authority in heaven and on the earth. 2 Therefore, a person who rebels against authority rebels against the order He established, and people like that can expect to face certain judgment. 3 You see, if you do the right thing, you have nothing to be worried about from the rulers; but if you do what you know is wrong, the rulers will make sure you pay a price. Would you not rather live with a clear conscience than always have to be looking over your shoulder? Then keep doing what you know to be good and right, and they will publicly honor you.

      4 Look at it this way: The ruler is a servant of God called to serve and benefit you. But he is also a servant of God executing wrath upon those who practice evil. If you do what is wrong, then you’d better be afraid because he wields the power of the sword and doesn’t make empty threats.”

    12. Does China give damn on demolition jobs by the NYT? …. Does Russia give a hoot on the garbage dumped by NYT on them? ….. nada ….. DU30 is on the right track giving NYT ‘s demolition job a bullshit and an SOB cat call…….NYT is only after personal gains and the American interest on the Philippines …..at whatever cost on the Filipino nation and its people……

    13. The mainstream media has been hitting Trump since Obama is their darling. Obama, despite his booboos, was never portrayed so negatively by the fake news of the MSM. Even though Trump may be seen as too unrefined by the pro-Obama/Clinton media, a lot of Americans want nationalism back in the US. These same mainstream media is also hitting Duterte the way they are hitting Trump. I did not vote for Duterte but I know when the media is no longer using straight news reporting but is becoming a partisan news outlet.

    14. Amnata Pundit on

      We should stop calling it journalism because that only creates confusion. It is journalism only in theory, but in actual practice it has always been propaganda, or to use the well-worn phrase, the battle for the hearts and minds. Remember that Thaksin of Thailand waged his war on drugs that also resulted in thousands of casualties but did the western press wage a war on him? No, because unlike Duterte he was a pro-western leader. The real principle by which the Americans operate is this: we don’t care if you are a bastard, as long as you are our bastard. Duterte like Erap and Marcos, is definitely not their bastard which explains the treatment he is getting from the American-led West. Let us pray for Duterte, he is the country’s last chance.