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We beg to differ.


Interesting the way Rappler.com CEO Maria Ressa cries bloody libel over Katrina Stuart-Santiago’s article Going to the dogs — an article about the manner with which Ressa’s self-described “social news network” startup precipitated (and possibly encouraged) a broader “ganging up” on the University of Santo Tomas over a perceived favour it granted to Chief Justice Renato Corona. Among the targets of this observed “gang up” is journalist Lito Zulueta who wrote a report on UST’s response on the matter in the Inquirer.net.

The conflict seems to revolve around elder “journalist” Ressa taking issue with the way Stuart-Santiago posted the article, which contains some opinions which implied some allegations about the blanket motives of some of the people involved in the circus and the broader agenda of Rappler.com. The exchange of barbs played out over the social networking site Twitter and is “storified” here.

The pivotal tweet in the exchange came from the elder “journalist”:

@angel_alegre funny @radikalchick never asked me before she wrote and am only a tweet away. Guess that separates the pros …

Pressed by Stuart-Santiago on what exactly the elder “journalist” should have been “asked”, Ressa responds with a sledgehammer:

@radikalchick Ask for an intvw – before making libelous charges based on assumptions alone. Wouldn’t publish without it.

What does this quaint episode tell us about Rappler.com and its elder “journalist” CEO? Quite simply, it highlights the struggle the self-described “social news network” site is experiencing grappling with its identity in the “social media” landscape it aspires to gain street creds within. So far, Rappler.com stands out as an over-dressed debutante trying to find a seat in a pulsing outdoor rock’n roll concert.

If Ressa’s argument is that she was “only a tweet away”, implying that Stuart-Santiago (@radikalchick on Twitter) should have come to her for comment first before publishing her piece, one could also respond with the argument that it is only a mouse-click away from the comments facility of Stuart-Santiago’s blog — a facility that, as most 21st Century “Netizens” are aware, most blogs are equipped with. So perhaps, rather than stew about not being “consulted” for input before Stuart-Santiago published her piece, Ressa could have simply logged on to the site and clarified her position in a “professionally” written comment there.

Facilities are in place to vote up or vote down the aggregate credibility of content circulating on the Web.

This is an interesting case study in how the full weight of a hierarchical traditionally-exclusive institutional clique tries to stomp into an inclusive ecosystem of loosely-associated mutually self-correcting free agents and impose its quaint “industry practice” on the bemused citizens. The principle at work here is around how trying hard to be two things at once — in the case of Rappler.com both traditional and “new” — is a balancing act not too many folk get right. Obviously, the Rappler.com clique of “online journalists” are fumbling with the ball here.

benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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18 Comments

  • Rain says:

    Benigno,

    In the spirit of disclosure, I’m just wondering if you’re one of the casualties of those people who Maria Ressa fired.

    • benign0 says:

      No I’m not. I maintain very few relationships with anyone to do with the media, Pinoy politics/government, or much of any personalities involved in the issues I write about.

  • Rain says:

    I disagree. I understand that if Maria Ressa has concerns with what RadikalChick wrote, she can just address them all in the comment section.

    However, there wouldn’t be concerns to address if Radicalchick simply took the effort to ask Maria Ressa about her assumptions.

    Isn’t it basic to get the side of the person you’re planning to write, anyway? In this case, what RadicalChick did was, write all her libelous bullshit, THEN have Maria Ressa dispute it. Whut?

    • benign0 says:

      Still, the fact remains that Ms Stuart-Santiago opted not to consult with Ressa before she published her article — an option she was well within her prerogative to take. When you suggest that it is “basic to get the side of the person you’re planning to write [about]“, I believe you say so from the perspective of traditional “journalistic” practice. This is the blogosphere, where Rappler supposedly chooses to compete in for relevance. As such, it needs to understand the new playing field and lose the high-nosed presumption that the rules its “online journalists” are comfy with still apply.

      • Phil Manila says:

        “When you suggest that it is “basic to get the side of the person you’re planning to write [about]“, I believe you say so from the perspective of traditional “journalistic” practice.”

        There is big risk if you don’t get the other side though.

        A recent ruling by a U.S. judge says a blogger can be sued for defamation because he or she is not accorded the same protection normally given to traditional journalists and news media.

        Its part of the unclear legal discourse on this new media.

        Better safe than sorry.

  • jay says:

    i think rappler is more like an old whore trying to turn tricks on the street corner. not tempting, even drunk and in the dark of night.

    • Stuffy says:

      Bingo! Jay, you hit this one out of the ballpark!! Crappler.com is a bunch of supposedly tech-savvy intellectuals in the jounalism space trying to take their crapola ideas and dump it onto social media space. Thankfully they are executing very badly.

  • BenK says:

    How about making libelous assumptions after the interview is requested and denied, kinda like what these Repellers did with UST? Just something that occurred to me just now.

    • AngelGA says:

      Oh yeah, Rapper este Rappler was just so quick to cast judgment on UST when it banner-headlined its story that the university broke its rules. The headline of the story contrasted clearly against the fifth paragraph. So irresponsible!

      • noy abnoy says:

        MARIA RESSA AND RAPPER.COM (SIC) ARE GOING TO FACE CHARGES IN COURT SOON FOR THE UNETHICAL AND IRRESPONSIBLE CARNAGE THEY AUTHORED.

        WHAT RESSA AND VITUG DID WAS PLAIN BIGOTRY.

        UST 400 CENTURY HARD EARNED NAME AND DIGNITY WAS DIMINISHED, PREJUDICED, DAMAGED AND EMBARRASSED.

        THEY WILL PAY FOR THEIR JUVENILE AND FLAWED JOURNALISTIC MANUEVERISM.

  • ChinoF says:

    When will “journalists” realize that they’re not special people and they don’t have special privileges, such as being granted an interview all the time?

  • noy abnoy says:

    NOY EYES JUSTICE SERENO TO BE THE NEXT CJ IN ADVANCE:

    CAN ANYONE IN RAPPLER.COM EXPLAINS THIS CASH WINDFALL?

    Php 2.5 BILLION TAXPAYERS MONEY FOR LAWYERS IN A LOSING GOVERNMENT CASE?

    WE ARE SPENDING BILLIONS OF MONEY FOR LAWYERS WHO ARE NOT DOING NAYTHING TO UPLIFT THE LIVES OF THE FILIPINO! COME ON PEOPLE! SPEND MONEY TO CREATE JOBS, SPEND MONEY FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, NOT FOR LAWYERS WHO ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING EXCEPT ENRICH THEMSELVES AT THE EXPENSE OF THE TAXPAYERS!

    WORLD BANK SAID WE ARE UNDER-SPEND ON VITAL INFRASTRUCTURES.

    WHAT A CALAMITY! UNNECESSARY SPENDINGS BLEED THE TAXPAYERS.

    NOY IS HARPING ON ANOTHER TAX MEASURES TO FINANCE ALL THIS CARNAGE? CAN WE BE FAIR ENOUGH TO EXPOSE THIS TOO!

    THE MEDIA IS TOO SELECTIVE OF PREACHING OF WHAT DAMAGES WHO AND WHAT?

    “If these were cash advances, Honrado, who is reportedly a relative of Mr. Aquino, should explain whether they were properly liquidated by the OSG and cleared by the Commission on Audit.

    Perhaps another Aquino appointee, COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza, should look into this. Already, there are allegations that the legal team turned the government into “milking cow” to pay for their international trips, lavish hotel accommodations, sumptuous meals in first-class restaurants and expensive salaries and allowances.

    Cadiz should clarify whether it is true that Supreme Court Associate Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno was the lead lawyer of the government in this never-ending court saga that so far has yielded no favorable result for the country. If so, how much of the P2.65-billion legal fees actually went to her? Ten percent? Twenty percent?

    And if, indeed, Justice Sereno received a multimillion-peso windfall, did she declare it as part of her income? Considering she only filed a Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) worth P17 million, observers are saying the amount is hugely disproportionate to the legal fees that the government lawyers allegedly received.

    The OSG should also stop making “motherhood” statements that the funds were spent wisely and spare Sereno from criticisms by divulging details of the payments. They have admitted, anyway, that part of the P2.65 billion paid by the government went to Sereno and her mentor, retired SC Justice Florentino Feliciano.

    According to the OSG, the amount paid was not lavish since Sereno and Feliciano were paid based on the billable hours they spent in handling the case. The OSG added the amount spent by the government was worth it since the government is claiming $1 billion from Fraport and Piatco.

    Perhaps Mr. Moneybags over at the OSG should be reminded that the P2.65 billion is taxpayers’ money and spending it for legal fees instead of social services raises questions of imprudence and impropriety.

    Cadiz and Honrado have nothing to fear. The Palace has virtually green-lighted the disclosure on how the P2.65 billion was disbursed as long as it does not jeopardize national security. Mr. Aquino, through his spokesman, Secretary Edwin Lacierda, said, “the disclosure of the fees received by Sereno during her stint as government lawyer would not harm the state.”

    All indications point to Justice Sereno as one of the top choices of Malacañang to replace Chief Justice Corona in the event the Senate impeachment court convicts him.

    In the light of all these allegations of irregularity involving huge sums of public funds, perhaps we should guard against the lure of sirens projecting a radiant image. Just like the sea nymphs who lured sailors to their doom with their beautiful singing voices in the book Odyssey of Greek mythology, she might not be all that she appears to be.”

  • noy abnoy says:

    raffler.com is so biased. the reporting is really misleading.

  • noy abnoy says:

    Let’s connect the dots. Confluence of events and hidden interests. GMA sworn in as President after Estrada Trial – Cory and GMA were friends then, in fact she was present with CJ Davide; then Luisita Farmers Massacred; then GMA chaired a pro-farmer agrarian reform, Cory begun to hate GMA and supported; Corona appointed as CJ perhaps to put in place whats needed to be done (?), Cojuangcos doesn’t want this, SC reversed the stock option ruling – it ruled to distribute the lands, NPC led Congress rushed the impeachment of Corona, Multi-Million Demolition Job against CORONA (worst, Taxpayers’ Money), Sereno and carpio are being eyed to be the next CJ even before the impeachment trial.

    THIS IS THE WORSTSCRIPT EVER CONCOCTED, PRETTY MUCH LIKE THE LOCAL SOAP OPERAS, VERY PREDICTABLE, SO JUVENILE…. I WOULD HAVE WRITTEN IT IN A DIFFERENT WAY. HA HA HA!

    “Give up Hacienda Luisita now, Mr. Aquino!”
    opinion.inquirer.net

    “With so much of our nation’s attention and the regime’s resources focused on the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona, with even the press shamefully yoked to this project, and especially with the damage it has inflicted on the Supreme Court as an institution, President Aquino owes it to the c…

    • jOSE PEREZ says:

      Aquino should resign. He plays videogames while the chinese tourists were being massacred. He went partying while flood victims in Cagayan de Oro were dying. He goes around courting girls and talking to them for hours on the phone, while so much national problems need to be attended and the CDO flood victim are still suffering. Resign na Mr. President. You are unpresidential. You cannot even control your flirtatious sisters Cris.

  • To much politics in all aspect of our life here in the Philippines :-)

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