Some letters to the editor never get published — either because they lack meritorious content, decency, relevance, editors’ time, and/or timeliness.
The letter I sent to the Inquirer last December 1 is (probably) among those. Here’s how it was (with minor revisions):
I DOUBT the Inquirer’s sincerity in its reply to Minnie Gabutina’s letter to the editor last November 26: “On [the] matter of the Pope’s remarks [regarding condoms], the Inquirer does not promote any agenda.”
Really now. Go to the editorial of that same Inquirer issue (“Becoming human”), and you’ll see that the newspaper’s editors seemingly lied to Gabutina and the rest of their readers. Among the minor noteworthy things in the editorial is its scorn against pro-life advocate Eric Manalang and his followers (whom the editorial takes as the entire pro-life block). Another is the editorial’s “one-sided sourcing” of opinion quotes (all were from churchmen whom the editorial frames as ‘liberalist’ dissidents in the Church). But most noteworthy is the editorial’s insistence that Pope Benedict XVI has a “titanic shift in his thinking” and that the Church is “tweaking…rigid doctrine.”
Indeed, here we see the Inquirer’s agenda to discredit the Catholic Church and its leader. I mean, it only takes a little bit of investigative journalism skills (and some common sense) to find out the consistency of the Pope’s remarks with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other church documents; you’ll find no “titanic shift” or “[doctrinal] tweaking” at all.
Thus, I think it’s high time the Inquirer take an ‘examination of conscience’ and be honest to itself and its readers. First of all, it has to recognize what communication scholars have long ago discovered: that the media necessarily sets an agenda, telling its readers what issues to think about; and, through tactics called ‘framing’ and ‘priming,’ how to think about those issues.
Second, the Inquirer should challenge itself to be vigilant amidst biased reportage by some “international news organizations with solid reputation.” It should be intelligent enough not to fall into the rash and unfair judgments by their Western secularist ‘big brothers.’ Instead, the Inquirer should live up to its name: it should inquire disinterestedly and rigorously until it arrives at the truth, with the least dependence on (not-so-reputable) foreign media as possible.
And third, the Inquirer should tell the truth to all its readers – from those who have the capability to buy and thoroughly read a copy of its newspaper, to those who could not afford and could only glance at the newspaper’s banner headlines at the newsstand. None of the Inquirer’s sometimes-sensationalized headlines should mislead or misinform – sowing confusion and even scandalizing some – as did its report on the Pope’s remarks on condoms.