fake haley statement
YESTERDAY, somebody, obviously a “Dutertard” tagged me with a post from an obscure website, Manila Channel, which had this titillating question: “Did you watch this on TV or read in (sic) national newspaper?” “Definitely not on PH TV & Newspaper: US AMB Nikki Haley Message to the UN,” read the post’s title.
It was about the US ambassador’s supposed statement during the recent United Nations General Assembly about the drugs war and extra-judicial killings in the Philippines. The (in)famous quote:
“The Philippines is suffocating. We must give President Duterte the space to run his nation. We must respect their independence… It is not in our purview to decide administrative issues for the Philippines… That is the job of the president.
“Destructive forces have never given the Duterte administration enough space to jump-start his programs of government; they did not even afford him the proverbial honeymoon period… Now they have calibrated the plot to ouster movements and this is just the second year of his presidency.”
Manila Channel sourced that supposed statement from an article written by Yen Makabenta, a legitimate columnist, who in turn sourced it from a fake news website, aljazeeranew-tv.com. That, of course, is the reason the “Haley message” was not on “PH TV & Newspaper.” I mean, how could traditional media use a material from a fake news site?
Anyway, as I scrolled down my Facebook page, there it was: fellow columnist Malou Guanzon-Apalisok had shared a link to a rappler.com article that shouted, “Manila Times columnist falls victim to fake news.” That article, written by Don Kevin Hapal, had this kicker: “Manila Times columnist Yen Makabenta’s opinion piece used a quote from a fake news website, and goes viral among pro-government supporters.”
Now, this isn’t the first time pro-Duterte opinion makers in traditional media were caught quoting items from fake news websites. Broadcaster Erwin Tulfo, when he was handling a radio program on TV 5, got into a quarrel with colleague Ed Lingao, who criticized him for commenting on a fake meme that twisted Sen. Risa Hontiveros’s answers to a legitimate TV interview.
Al Jazeera Philippines correspondent Jamela Aisha Alindogan’s Facebook post described aljazeeranews-tv.com as a fake news website and called on “everyone” to “be careful when sharing stuff online.” But Al Jazeera is not the only legitimate media outlet that is being aped (pun intended). CNN and ABS-CBN, among others, have fake news websites named after them.
Was Makabenta, using a Tagalog term, “nakuryente”? I hope so, because it would be bad if he knew the quote was fake. But if he was “nakuryente,” then he became, unknown to him, a part of what can be called the fake news version of a merry-go-round.
The merry-go-round starts with a fake news website churning out intriguing fake news that is then picked up by either one of the two major battling camps (“Dutertard” or “dilawan”), gets circulated in social media (“Asec” Mocha Uson supposedly posted the Yen Makabenta column on her blog)—until somebody exposes it as a fake, but not after damaging efforts to get an objective appraisal of issues.