Time 100 and Duterte’s communications

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KATRINA STUART SANTIAGO

FOR a government – and a President – that has a tendency to blame media, local and international, for covering only the drug war and not much else that is happening in the Philippines, it is a surprise that government even engaged at all with the Time 100 poll and the President’s inclusion in that list.

Because Time Magazine – as expected – has been at the forefront of putting the drug war in international news, and has been very very critical of it, too. Their articles on the drug crisis, and ultimately on President Duterte, both online and in print, have been far from flattering.

This is the frame against which the President is being measured by an international media outfit, and it should’ve been clear from the beginning that if and when he is included in that final list, it will only shine a harsher light on the drug war and its victims, and the summary executions on our streets.

Missed opportunity
Andanar et al should’ve been able to anticipate what the outcomes would be, and they should’ve been able to make grand statements about how they do not support the magazine’s inclusion of the President in the Time 100 list, given the basis for the inclusion. Because that list has always been about people who have been influential, for “better or for worse” – and the Time Magazine’s coverage of the President is clearly about the latter.


They might have also looked at the instances in which “controversial” leaders are included in the list. In 2014, editor Nancy Gibbs wrote about the Time 100:

“The Time 100 is a list of the world’s most influential men and women, not its most powerful, though those are not mutually exclusive terms. Power, as we’ve seen this year, can be crude and implacable, from Vladimir Putin’s mugging of Crimea to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s summary execution of his uncle and mentor Jang Song Thaek. Those men made our list, but they are the outliers, and not just because we generally seek to celebrate the best work of the human spirit. The vast majority of this year’s roster reveals that while power is certain, influence is subtle. Power is a tool, influence is a skill; one is a fist, the other a fingertip. You don’t lead by hitting people over the head, Dwight Eisenhower used to say. That’s ‘assault, not leadership.’”<emphasis mine> (Time.com, 24 April 2014)

It’s clear, isn’t it, how and why President Duterte was included in this list at all, and how his becoming a part of it (the list comes out today, April 20), will be framed?

It’s also clear that this was a missed opportunity for PCO, when it could’ve taken a stand against the Time 100 list from the get-go, putting its foot down and saying, no, we do not want your coverage, we do not want your inclusion of the President on your list, when we all know what you think of him, and the kind of coverage you do about his governance.

But of course we didn’t get that from Andanar’s team.

Mishaps
Instead Malacañang has tried to spin the results of the Time 100 online poll.

But first it took offense at the magazine itself for saying that the President is known for using “social media to promote his agenda and has reportedly paid people to push him to popularity online” (Time.com, 30 March), something that was based on a BBC.com article that actually had named sources talking about the presidential campaign of 2016. Abella overreacted, stating that: “Accusing him of using paid writers, they wantonly paint Mr Duterte as manipulating social media to boost his popularity in the online Time poll” (Inquirer.net, 1 April).

The Time article does not talk at all about paid writers. And the use of social media to boost the popularity of anyone – including of government – is not a bad thing at all. In fact, there should be a government budget for social media. It’s a question of what they’re using it for.

Abella-Andanar did no better when the Time 100 poll results came out with President Duterte at number one. Instead of already taking a very critical, distant stance about the result, Abella tried to spin it by saying this means the President is “admired” by many, and that he is a “kindred spirit” to Filipinos, and that this is about how “he has prioritized public interest first and foremost, especially the needs and aspirations of the poor and common people” (PCO, 17 April).

But the Time article on the poll result expectedly focused solely on the President’s drug war, with links to a Reuters article on the creation of a drug war super agency, the Time photo-essay on the drug war, and a Time Q&A with VP Leni Robredo.

In another expectedly thoughtless move, Andanar shared this Time article about the poll result, but captioned it: “ignore the inaccurate information inside.”

This begs the question: if Time Magazine delivers inaccurate information about the President and his drug war, why are you even engaging with the Time 100 poll result? More importantly: if you are the President’s Communications Secretary, why are you sharing a link that to you holds “inaccurate information”?

You wonder when this communications office will get a handle on things and start doing its job. Also: when will Andanar get a grip.

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11 Comments

  1. The reason Du30 is so popular, is simply because the previous administration performed so badly, that’s what Time Magazine failed to consider.

  2. Mario B. Capangpangan on

    Ms. Author, I voted for him in Time 100 because of his strength and achievements as a leader, not because I hate or dislike him! And so the rest of the voters too. Those who don’t like him can of course click NO to counteract the YES! And so the results are a clear picture of admiration of many people! But you have a twisted interpretation! and so, I just can say…there goes a biased columnist again, trying to make a blurred picture of an otherwise clear picture!

  3. Your article raises good questions but I don’t share the same opinion. I believe in the bigger picture Duterte and his administration has in mind. Influence is a good tool and having it stated by the likes of Time magazine can be used to Philippines’ advantage. For example, bilateral negotiations has better weight to lean more in your favour if the other party acknowledges your influential status to get things done. Duterte is a man of his words and so far he has shown that coupled with influence, can deliver most of his promises if not all – no man is an island.

    • A man of his words?? You probably meant a man full of words because that’s exactly what he’s doing. Throwing promises and his poor cabinet members cleaning up the mess.

    • pugofeta of course at this early stage of the presidency not all promises will be granted. no, not yet.
      haters will probably point out the jetski or endo promises but will ignore the yolanda housing, the 8888 hotline, the numerous infrastructure projects, etc.

  4. Andanar and Abella are incompetent and most of the President’s appointee’s are the same..

  5. This seems to be a typical example of how the media distorts the facts to convey its own point of view.

    Time asks people who they think the most influential people are. No other data is gathered in the poll. The poll yields the names of who the people think the most influential people are. To then, add a reason to the results is what? Scientific reasoning or wishful thinking or the media’s own interpretation of reality?

    Now, Time and lots of other media sources attribute this to the drug war and extrajudicial killings. Well, that’s one interpretation. On the other hand, might it not also be a reflection of the growth of populism in many countries around the world today? Or perhaps, it is a reflection of the impact of social media on these kinds of polls. Or maybe, it’s because our dog pooped in the yard yesterday.

    My interpretation of the poll? Lots of people who vote in these kinds of polls think Duterte is an influential person in world affairs. End of story.

    • certainly correct. well, I wonder what this writer would have written if andanar have dismissed the time 100 influential list. will she say that the duterte administration, is once again, blaming media – international media at that – for the negative exposure? lels. I would just wish TIME would be more “investigative” and see who are the majority who voted for duterte (Filipinos?) and why do they think that duterte deserves to be the top in the 100 influential persons list. the local newspaper inquirer even pleaded to its readers to vote “no” for duterte… so this would at least mean that those Filipinos who voted for duterte voted for him for TIME to give a positive note on duterte. I really hope that TIME will take the time to research on the good he has done and the plethora of articles debunking the EJK issues like the 7000 deaths (as mr tiglao has debunked in his column)…

      how possible is it for TIME to make a balanced write-up for duterte as the top INFLUENTIAL person of the year? if they do, it would be a chance for the Philippines to have at least a positive light on the international scene especially when the rich Asian neighbors China and Japan, and now the rich Middle Eastern countries like KSA, Bahrain, and Qatar have poured or promised to pour a massive amount for projects and investments to the Philippines.

      if TIME will do this, at the least, with TIME featuring the Philippines as a killing fields in a sensationalist article/news aggregate in an older issue, the irony will be amusing.

    • Amnata Pundit on

      A writer is always confined within self-limiting parameters. Human nature, I guess. This writer is a Duterte basher, so that explains her conclusions. I just read Duterte bashers to enjoy their non-sequitors. Why do they resort to this a lot? Because they write from their feelings, not from their critical thinking. They should be telenovela writers instead with their bombastic tendencies as the truth is just too boring to them.