Forgive and never forget

THE Christopher Lao incident is among the stuff we want to forgive and never forget.

“Forgive”, because Lao was not in the best disposition to be interviewed by media at that time. And his apparently choleric temperament was definitely no help. Reason could have impelled him to refuse being interviewed, but emotions seized him.

“Forgive”, because GMA News reporter Jun Veneracion and his colleagues possibly had a good laugh themselves, contemplating Mr. Lao’s fateful outburst. For a report that “sought to highlight the hazards of traveling through a flooded metropolis,” the extended airing of Lao’s garbled answers to Veneracion seemed uncalled for and vaguely hinted some malice.

“Forgive”, because GMA News is doing something to clean up the mess made out of its own report.

“Forgive”, because the bullies and haters did what they did, disregarding the circumstances surrounding the event and the way the report was presented. (Frankly I could somehow side with Lao, who said one couldn’t really be totally sure if the murky water is already very deep. I used to live near the flooded area, and sometimes, because of the road’s slow descent, one may think the road plateaus in the middle.)

“Forgive”, because “Think Before You Click” proposes a big and noble dream, which individuals and groups (especially media networks) simply must struggle to actualize. Sensationalism and pride are our fierce enemies here.

“Forgive”, because Lao already issued an apology and he deserves the privacy and time to heal the wounds the entire controversy caused him.

And “never forget”, because the incident is inundated with lessons.

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What’s in a name?

IT’S A PITY how some journalists trivialized the Makati City bus blast last week and made fun of a victim of the tragic incident — the bus driver.

His name is Latinate — Maximo Peligro — which may be roughly translated to “maximum danger”, and which some journalists found newsworthy because of its coincidence with the fate he and his passengers met.

Among the apparently insensitive stories revolving around Mr. Peligro’s name, the best archetype is probably Ira Pedrasa’s article on abs-cbnNEWS.com. The 315-word article merely focused on the interest generated by the victim’s curious name:

While Filipinos still can’t get a grip of how such an explosion happened at such a quiet siesta time, a few somehow got a quick sense of why it all happened: Maximo. Maximum. Peligro. Danger. Risk.

[…]

…the online community was already abuzz with the unusual name.

PopiSunga said: Maximo Peligro? Seriously?

Bus blast
The article continues with a list of equally trivializing headlines by other journalists and bloggers. It’s written like a joke, and I wonder if relatives of the five people killed in the bombing found it funny.

It seems that the only consolation in the webpage that contained Pedrasa’s article is the comments section. Some readers were keen enough to observe the article’s insensitivity and lack of taste.