Of course, it’s long been obvious that the Inquirer is in cahoots with President Aquino (though with some minor squabbles about frivolous coverage on Aquino’s love life, perhaps to give the paper an appearance of impartiality).
It’s hard for me to say this, but I can tolerate that. Somehow.
But not what the Inquirer did to 70-year-old defense witness Demetrio Vicente yesterday.
It was juvenile, cruel. And the Inquirer’s apology was cold, incomplete. It has no confession of wrongdoing — as if merely saying, “Sorry if it made you feel that way, but we’re OK with it.”
It has come to our attention that our photos of witness Demetrio Vicente on our front page today have offended some of our readers. For this we sincerely apologize. It was not our intention to disparage Mr. Vicente in any way.
Four close-up photos of a man suffering from stroke, with the illness clearly etched on his face. And the fourth of these photos seems to be a mere zoomed-in version of the third — apparently an attempt to heighten the mockery.
Surely, photojournalist Edwin Bacasmas took more than four photos, right? Unless he’s out of memory or battery, which shouldn’t be the case among professional photojournalists. And yet, in a tweet, the Inquirer said those were the “only photos available.”
And notice the caption: “‘CHARACTER WITNESS’. The many faces of Demetrio Vicente…”
Talk about character assassination.
All this reminds me of how, about a year ago, the Inquirer mocked a reader for a complaint he sent them (oh, wait, that reader was me!). I’ve already forgiven and forgotten all that, but the Vicente incident refreshes all the frustration at the once-respected newspaper in the country.
I have one request to the Inquirer: Please stop bullying readers, the disabled and the sick, and others whom you consider weak and inimical to your interests. Please your President as much as you want, but not at the expense of your readers (at least for now) and the marginalized.
Exasperation aside, it is good to note that readers have reacted well to this incident. Now we’re really seeing ordinary citizens watching over self-proclaimed watchmen. Lovin’ it!