One bad apple spoils the whole bunch – Pinoy Trending News and the case for responsible journalism

Responsible and ethical journalism. This is something that is often talked about within the industries of social and traditional media. It simply means that as a journalist – whether online, on air, or on print – there is always a responsibility and a duty to make sure that whatever information is being let out in public is factual and true. This holds true regardless if you are writing about current events or simply stating a personal opinion.

Pinoy Trending News - Globe Telecom - Manny Pinol

In an ideal world, bloggers would strictly abide by this important tenet – not only because one cares for his/her integrity but also because it is the right thing to do. Readers deserve accurate reporting.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. Far from it, sad to say. And as much as most of us who own and maintain blogs strive hard to uplift the image and integrity of the blogging community, there remains a significant number of irresponsible jerks who write with reckless abandon and with no sense of responsibility – all for the sake of being controversial and coming out with the juiciest news first.

Pinoy Trending News throws responsible journalism out the window

I’d like to cite a very recent incident that, in my opinion, paints the entire blogging community in a bad light.

Just a couple of days ago, a local news website that goes by the name “Pinoy Trending News” (http://www.pinoytrendingnews.net) came out with a headline on January 30, 2016 that read, “Duterte reportedly turned down money from Globe Telecom, wins praise from netizens”. This article was apparently based from Manny Piñol’s Facebook post published on the same date as seen below.

Pinoy Trending News - Globe Telecom - Manny Pinol

Manny Piñol’s post explicitly talks about a top official of a “giant” telecommunications company offering tons of money to Presidential candidate Rody Duterte as voluntary financial support for his campaign.

Now, this wouldn’t have been a problem if only the headline of Pinoy Trending News (PTN) were true. But it clearly isn’t. If you go through Manny Piñol’s Facebook post, you’ll immediately realize that it doesn’t take a genius to see where PTN’s reporting went terribly wrong…

Apart from simply rewriting Manny Piñol’s post, NOWHERE in the Facebook post does Mr. Piñol mention that the giant telecom company is Globe Telecom. Nowhere. He doesn’t even give slight hints that would make you suspect that it was Globe. How the hell did Pinoy Trending News arrive at the conclusion that Manny Piñol was talking about Globe Telecom? They could have at least cited a couple of other personal sources as basis of their matter-of-factly deduction. Oh wait… I know why they didn’t cite any. Because there isn’t any goddamn source to reference to in the first place!

As soon as Pinoy Trending News published their questionable and anomalous article, it didn’t take long for Manny Piñol to call them out.

Pinoy Trending News - Globe Telecom - Manny Pinol

What did Pinoy Trending News expect? Suits them right. Irresponsible reporting is no joking matter.

In response to being called out and threatened with legal action, Pinoy Trending News acknowledged its mistake by replacing Globe Telecom with “Giant Telecom” instead.

Pinoy Trending News - Globe Telecom - Manny Pinol

But what baffles me is this… Pinoy Trending News created a new article with the applied revisions… but the original article in question was still kept online and easily accessible by the public.

At the time of this writing, it seems the Pinoy Trending News website has become inaccessible. But thanks to Google , I was able to retrieve a cached version of their original post. See below.

Pinoy Trending News

Pinoy Trending News (cached by Google) – Click to enlarge

I personally do not believe that this can be called an honest mistake. How can it be? No one accidentally pulls out a name of a company out of thin air and writes it down just like that. It feels very deliberate and malicious. To what end, one can only speculate.

On Pinoy Trending News’ Facebook Page, they recently posted a public apology but it honestly doesn’t come out as sincere at all. Read below:

Pinoy Trending News - Globe Telecom - Manny Pinol

A couple of things to note here:

Pinoy Trending News says:

“…when a reader pointed out that Sir Manny Pinol did not like what I posted, I immediately edited the article as per request.”

AS PER REQUEST? So, you obviously didn’t think there wasn’t anything wrong with mentioning Globe – a company that you just randomly mentioned on your article because of a foolish uneducated hunch. This means that you wouldn’t have edited your original post had you not been threatened with legal action.

Pinoy Trending News continues:

“…I deleted the article and the Facebook post as a gesture of sincerity on my part that I have no intention to malign any person or company.”

Sure. You deleted it. But I “sincerely” doubt your sincerity. If you “didn’t have any intention to malign any person or company”, then what was the main purpose of putting words into Manny Piñol’s mouth and bringing Globe Telecom into the mix?

Pinoy Trending News closes his public apology with this:

“…And to Globe Telecom, I am sorry for the lapse in judgment on my part. To my readers, I ask for your understanding. I am human after all and bound to make mistakes.”

Lapse in judgement? What was there to actually judge? The part where you were deciding to include Globe in your article or not? Or the part where you thought it would be cool to recklessly assume that Manny Piñol was referring to Globe Telecom?

And please, don’t play the “I’m only human” card. That only works with a geniune and thorough explanation of WHY you committed these things. As a human, you are equipped with some common sense and a good set of observational skills. Did that fly out the window when you were spinning this article?

Apologizing to readers is one thing. But why stop there? What about apologizing to the countless bloggers in this industry and the image of the blogging community  which you have tainted?

Special mention:

“In light of this, I would like to ask for a public apology from Sir Manny Pinol and to Globe Telecom for wrongly mentioning the said company in the article.”

AND

“I already asked an apology from Sir Manny via FB chat early morning…”

Hahahahahaha! You would like TO ASK FOR A PUBLIC APOLOGY FROM SIR MANNY PINOL AND TO GLOBE TELECOM?! Sorry, I’m confused! LOL! Maybe you meant, “I would like TO PUBLICLY APOLOGIZE TO SIR MANNY PINOL AND TO GLOBE TELECOM…”

*facepalm!*

Hurting the blogging community through irresponsibility and foolishness

Whether this is just a case of simple oversight (which I doubt) or a deliberate act of defiance and intent to cause confusion, it clearly has done a lot of damage not just to the parties involved but also to the integrity of the blogging community.

Blogging has become a passion of mine. I love this industry with all my heart, the same way that it has loved me back in so many ways. I have met (and continue to meet) a lot of really great bloggers… some, old-timers and others, up-and-coming. But no matter where one comes from or even why one writes, the mission is clear to all – write to the best of one’s abilities with a sense of duty and responsibility to boost the image and integrity of the blogging industry. To be accepted and respected by all.

In this industry, integrity is everything. Because without it, who the hell would care to read what a blogger has to say?

I believe I speak for all wonderful and hardworking online writers in this industry as I express my utmost dismay and disappointment knowing that the delicate image of the blogging community that we so painstakingly work hard to uplift can easily be tarnished in a snap by a few stupid jerks who value virality, shock-value and controversy over accuracy.

If this recent incident truly is deliberate and malicious in nature, I hope the people behind Pinoy Trending News ultimately get what’s coming to them.

Karma can be a real bitch!

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One bad apple spoils the whole bunch – Pinoy Trending News and the case for responsible journalism was last modified: February 2nd, 2016 by Chuckie Dreyfus