When media “dictates” the story
The Philippine Daily Inquirer recently made a major blooper bannering a headline that President Arroyo was present during an alleged bribery of several politicians. The news was also carried on Inquirer.net. Apparently the error was discovered only before the daily deadline for the day’s stories, which is at 3pm.
The article was reposted and the PDI has since apologized for the error issuing the following editor’s note preceding the article:
Re-posts to correct headline and statement of the congressman that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was present during the alleged distribution of funds.
In a statement, the PDI, Inquirer.net’s parent company, said that it “deeply regrets that it inadvertently reported [sic] that Rep. Bienvenido Abante said President Macapagal-Arroyo was present during the distribution of cash handouts to politicians last Thursday. Abante had actually said the President was not present.”
PDI claimed that they will investigate the matter. As to whether this is intentional or a sabotage on PDI the pressure is on PDI to explain that it acted in good faith or it was an honest mistake.
This report is somewhat similar to what happened recently here in Australia when Australia media reported that Sudanese refugees are causing problems in some parts of Australia. The reports resulted to the overnight change of Australia’s policy on the intake of African refugees blocking all intake until next year. The Immigration Ministry cited the inability of refugees especially Sudanese to integrate to Australian Society and trying to form gangs.
ABC’s Media Watch investigated the incident and the Police denied that there are specific problems pointing to Sudanese gangs even the alleged Sudanese suspects in the video that Australian media reported were, in fact, not Sudanese, police confirmed.
ABC’s Media Watch commented that
the commercial networks’ claims to have proof of African migrant violence were dishonest.
No correction or admission of error were heard from Channels 7, 9 or 10 but instead series of coverage on support for the Sudanese refugees were aired in the different media.
Philippine and Australian media might be considered two of the freest in the world but this incidences highlight a big difference–one has the tendency to dictate even circumventing the truth while another is willing to admit its error even if it would mean a tarnish in its reputable name.
UPDATE: Here’s the full statement and explanation behind PDIs blooper.