Flagging Bandila (1/3)

I shall scrupulously report and interpret the news, taking care not to suppress essential facts or to distort the truth by omission or improper emphasis.

– The Journalist’s Code of Ethics, No. 1

ABS-CBN News was possibly doing a sufficiently fair coverage of the inter-faith rally against the RH bill last Friday. George Cariño was doing his report next to the stage, and Korina Sanchez was in her “tent” in front of the grandstand, serving as one of TV Patrol‘s news readers.

At least they reported on the rally, I thought, unlike before.

And then Bandila aired.

No, I wasn’t able to catch the report live. I was at the rally, standing for more than five hours, and just dropped dead to bed when I reached home. It was only this afternoon that I got to watch Jenny Reyes’s “Rosales, Velarde take swipes at RH bill supporters” on abs-cbnnews.com.

Innards tumbled. The clip forced me to conclude that Bandila’s producers would do anything to sow discord and discredit the pro-life block, even at the expense of high quality reportage.

The gists of the report were:

  1. Not everyone in the rally understood the RH bill.
  2. Cardinal Rosales was unfairly maligning Carlos Celdran.
  3. Bro. Mike Velarde verbally hit at those who already left the rally when he began speaking right after the Mass.

As for (1), it is true — as true as the fact that not everyone in pro-choice rallies know what they are rallying for. Like some pro-life supporters, they too have not even read the bill.

Indeed, both camps have their share of ignorance among their members. That ignorance is even more shameful to the camp that claims to be for “informed choice.”

But how come we’ve never heard news about pro-choice supporters who are largely ignorant of the bill’s contents? And isn’t it unfair that Bandila did not even look for ordinary pro-life advocates who, on the other hand, truly know what they stood for — even if merely for an appearance of journalistic civility?

Again, this seems like ABS-CBN’s (or just Bandila’s?) non-dissemination of relevant information, effectively depriving us of the larger truth and of justice.

[To be continued]

What debate?

GMA NEWS’ MARIZ Umali reported on 24 Oras a one-sided story on yesterday’s RH bill debate at the House of Representatives.

“RH bill, pinagdebatehan sa plenaryo,” the headline went.

But note Ms Umali’s interviewees: Rep. Janet Garin (1:23),  Rep. Edcel Lagman (1:57), and Rep. Kaka Bag-ao (2:27) — all of them pro-RH, each with at least 11 seconds of airtime explaining his/her views. What first appeared as a news story on a debate seemed to turn into an ad.

At the start of the report also note Ms Umali’s opinion that several congresspeople tried to thwart the railroading of the RH bill [“…ilang kongresista muna ang nagtangkang pigilan ang proseso.” (0:28-0:31)].

The least she could have done to hide her bias is attribute that opinion to the pro-RH lawmakers.

Is this the kind of journalism we want from our Kapuso? Whatever happened to serbisyong totoo?