Coolness. I sincerely thank the Inquirer for publishing the letter I submitted to them a month ago.
Originally titled “The Inquirer’s agenda?” and posted on this blog, the letter was published yesterday with the title “Did the Inquirer lie in its editor’s reply?” You may read the entire article here.
I am further grateful that the paper even replied to the letter — and how! The venerable editors said:
It is a point of pride for the Inquirer that its Opinion pages are independent of the News division. The paper’s news reporting does not in fact promote any agenda; but its editorials, naturally, take a stand. It’s a pity that someone affiliated with the UP CMC does not understand this basic, and liberating, distinction.—Eds.
I wish to say, first of all, that there was some misunderstanding. And I apologize because it was partly my fault.
The Inquirer’s full reply to a disgruntled reader in their November 27 issue was this:
Our headline was based on the remarks of the Pope as reported by international news organizations with solid reputations. It is our duty to report the news as it is. On this matter of the Pope’s remarks, the Inquirer does not promote any agenda.—Ed.
When the Inquirer said “[o]n this matter of the Pope’s remarks”, I mistakenly took it to mean that the Inquirer was speaking as an opinion maker, as an entity talking about an issue, a matter of public debate. It was as if the Inquirer said: “On the issue of the Pope’s remarks regarding condoms, the Inquirer — as a thinking and opining body — does not take any stand” — which, taken per se, could be deemed untrue, given the paper’s editorial. That’s why I reacted. If only the paper had said “in this report regarding the Pope’s remarks, the Inquirer does not promote any agenda”, I — and perhaps other readers as well — could have taken it in the way the Inquirer wanted it to mean.
Now allow me to dissect the Inquirer’s brief reply to my letter yesterday.
Anatomy of the Inquirer’s reply
“It is a point of pride for the Inquirer that its Opinion pages are independent of the News division. The paper’s news reporting does not in fact promote any agenda; but its editorials, naturally, take a stand.” Well, the Inquirer probably wouldn’t point out this obvious fact if there were no misunderstanding in the first place, as I mentioned above. But let’s consider their assertion nevertheless.
I happen to understand the (ideal) independence between the Inquirer’s News and Opinion sections. But as to the Inquirer’s claim that “[t]he paper’s news reporting does not in fact promote any agenda”, I may be justified to say that this is at least debatable. Even an amateur content analysis of the Inquirer’s photos and news pieces might be able to prove that the broadsheet is biased towards the RH advocates in its reportage. Indeed, when newspapers choose which stories to publish and with how much prominence and with what slant, they already somehow promote a particular agenda on their news pages. It’s inescapable.
As for the Inquirer’s personal attack against me — it’s a pity. What can I do? I’m just an ordinary reader.
They’re juvenile demigods.
I’m just disappointed the Inquirer didn’t really address my letter’s arguments; they focused too much on journalism technicalities.
I have high hopes, however, that the Inquirer will again side with reason soon.
[Updated 12/01/11 12:14 pm]