smoke

I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Irony

The PDI editorial says:

Or take the case of Justice Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor. He took a call from the family of Richard Brodett, who was facing an investigation for drug dealing. He took it because he knew the parents of Brodett. He took it upon himself to inquire as to the status of the case, when “inquiries” by officials have become notorious as instances of influence peddling (“Will I still win by one million?” comes to mind). Blancaflor, by all accounts, is widely respected. He may have acted on the principle that justice delayed is justice denied. But these are times when deviating from official procedures by resorting to the gray areas, in which officialdom often tries to find ways to humanize the inexorable harshness of the law, has become increasingly impermissible.

The public has an increasing intolerance for such cases of official consideration because it has come to expect a more impersonal, and thus, equitable, approach to the justice process. We all know our institutions are understaffed and overworked. What we expect is the democracy of the queue and of not jumping the line merely on some official’s (well-intentioned or not) say-so.

First off, anyone – PDI editors included for sure – who has ever had any reason to deal with government above a certain level has called on a well-placed acquaintance to – at the very least – ‘follow up’ on his interests. And anyone who knows anything about this sort of shit should know that members of the media rank among the worst followers up. They throw their weight around for this friend or that relative and badger government officials to exert whatever influence they can to secure a positive outcome. And it doesn’t have to be blatant either. It can be as subtle as saying “I don’t care what the outcome is, as long as everything is done fairly and transparently and the truth comes out.” The problem with that, of course, is that people who say shit like that have often decided what the “truth” ought to be.

And because they have microphones bigger than their dicks, they come on strong – their words laced with the implicit threat of negative publicity in case they are rebuffed. So it smacks of irony that PDI should be taking this tone now: since they seem to acknowledge that even ‘inquiries’ are impermissible, why do they keep doing it? Why keep  on egging or even badgering government officials to do them ‘favors’ when those favors are the exact same things they then turn around and condemn?

And to add to the irony, the editorial attempts to paint the public as some morally outraged group that demands the democracy of the queue. HAH! What a load of bullcrap.

Your average Filipino cares nothing for the democracy of the queue if a means exists to shorten the wait. It’s when we see other people getting a jump on us that we complain. And no one is immune. It’s like that thing they say about money being the root of all evil: the only people who say that are those who don’t have money.  

Oh sure, there are those who make valiant attempts to stay in line but given the opportunity – and the probability of doing it with impunity – how many of those won’t take advantage? And how many of people of stature will stay away from situations where even their mere presence will influence the fate of the queue? 

Once I was talking to this very high-profile private lawyer – a public intellectual he was – who bitched endlessly about traffic. He ends his rant by saying: ‘when I get caught, I roll down my window and give the cop a chance to recognize me!’ HAH! I’ve wished often enough that my face could be just as effective a passport out of inconvenience. But since it isn’t, I rant and rave – however privately – about the injustice of it all.

A modern, democratic society substitutes official discretion and similar gray areas, for a fussy, often slow, and tedious devotion to doing everything by the book. Blancaflor is simply the latest example of the adjustments officials — and not just the public — have to endure, if we are to eliminate the more flexible but highly corruptible present for a more orderly and fair future.

Eliminate the highly flexible but more corruptible present? Might the PDI be talking about the endless calls for an extra-constitutional end to the Arroyo presidency? Might it be referring to how the media and the senate relentlessly pillory those that have the temerity to disagree with them? Or could it be referring to glorification of putschists like Trillanes who toss out the law to have tea-time at Oakwood, and then again at the Pen? 

The only difference between those examples and what’s going on with Blancaflor and those drugpushers is that with Blancaflor, it looks like the extra-legal route is going to benefit the perceived bad guys. But hell, if those drugpushers had been savvy enough to gain the sympathy of the public – maybe they should’ve told their friends to blog about what nice boys they actually are – no one would be raising so much as a squeak now. HAH! So much for the wisdom of the mob.

In a perverse way, the editorial might actually be read as a lamentation on the fate of Blancaflor, but the PDI’s predisposition to pander to the righteous outrage of a public that feels it’s been one upped – and it’s track record of throwing its weight behind moves to undermine the rule of law in favor of swifter and seemingly poetic justice – tarnishes what might’ve been a refreshingly honest piece. 

Because it is true that even honest and upstanding government officials do try to accomodate requests as best they can without crossing over the line into impropriety; and it is true that our culture places extreme pressures on each of us to bend over backwards for people who invoke friendship, blood, and mercy; and because it is true that a strict democracy of the queue would be a wonderful thing.

But because the PDI couldn’t resist taking the pulpit with it’s holier-than-thou shtick, it missed the opportunity to rise above the fray – demonstrating only that, like the rest of us, that mighty newspaper is just as prone to castigating people for doing as we do, instead of as we say.

Filed under: journalism, law and order, news, society, , , ,

Right to reply violates free expression

Last June, the Senate passed on third and final reading Senate bill No. 2150. The House is set to deliberate on second reading House bill No. 3306 and may pass it on third and final reading before the Christmas break.

The House measure, which is authored by Bacolod Rep. Monico Puentevella, seeks to punish the publisher and editor in chief of a publication, or the owner and station manager of a broadcast medium if they fail to give equal treatment to a complainant’s reply to a specific report.

Of course Malakanyang supports the bill. Hell, it’ll prolly be the biggest beneficiary if the law is ever enacted. But that’s really beside the point. This is the point:

Media organizations have vowed to challenge in court the right to reply bill if it is passed in Congress, saying the measure violates the freedom of the press and free expression.

My initial reaction was WTF? A law that forces media outlets to give equal right to reply to those aggrieved by their reports violates press freedom? I don’t get that. The bill doesn’t prevent the press from writing about the whatever the hell they want; it just tries to guarantee that the freedom isn’t abused. 

But then again, free expression? Well, yeah, I guess. After all the freedom of expression includes the freedom not to express, ergo – if you have the right to publish or air anything you want, it logically follows that you also have the freedom not to publish or air anything you feel shouldn’t or need not be published or aired. 

On the one hand, I can’t accept that the right to reply bill is going to muzzle anyone. At least to the extent of making people – people like Mon Tulfo and Cristy Fermin – think twice about throwing out unsubstantiated allegations. But then again, they shouldn’t be indulging in that kind of vicious gossip mongering anyway.

On the other hand, I’m thinking that media outlets are commercial endeavors and they will do whatever is best for their bottom line. The right to reply might end up eating up so much space that it won’t be good for the outlet financially. 

If you approach it from this point of view, you can see how the first argument might actually be valid. Think about it: If accomodating right to reply demands becomes too costly, news outlets will ramp down their production of hard-hitting articles. That’s called a chilling effect, and yes, the chilling effect does have an adverse impact on the freedom of the press. If not due to external pressure or prior restraint, then certainly through a financial vice-grip. 

I have as much against libelers as anyone, and if you look at the right to reply bill simply as a protection against libel, well then it’s okay. But it would be wrong to simply focus on one effect of the concept, especially if it is about to be enshrined in law. That would be what Jess Dureza is doing when he pimps this bill; and it is intellectually dishonest for him to be doing so.

Future laws must be viewed holistically; with an objective assessment of its many ramifications. You take the good effects – like providing extra protection against libel – and the bad effects – the chilling effect – and then you weigh the two. In this case, I would much rather inconvenience people by forcing them to file libel suits than to dampen the press’ zeal to expose the truth. I say we’re just gonna have to tolerate the crack-pots and hope that they can be taught their lesson in responsible journalism by the Penal Code.


Filed under: journalism, judiciary, law and order, , , , , , ,

Slant

GMA News TV bannered the headline: Arroyo says it’s hard to govern RP if media is free. And just like a good marionette, my initial reaction was outrage. OUTRAGE! I tell you. 

And then I read the article.

 

” I know for a fact from being around my father who incidentally was a protege of President Quirino… I learned from him how challenging it is to govern our nation, especially with a media that is the freest in the whole world, as it was during my father’s presidency,”she said.

“But a president governs for the benefit of all the Filipinos and should not be focused on public relations,”she added.

And I’m, “Ahh. SO that’s what she meant.” Isn’t slant a wonderful thing?

Look up the word ‘slant’ in the wikipedia and you’re taken to a disambiguation page. Apparently, the word is used in several different contexts:

  • Bias or other non-objectivity in journalism, politics, academia or other fields
  • Slant (route), an American football play pattern.
  • slant (handwriting), an attribute of Western handwriting
  • Slant (journal), a Catholic journal
  • / (or Slant), a book by science fiction writer Greg Bear
  • Slant Magazine, a film, TV, and music review website
  • Slant (fanzine), a fanzine by Walt Willis, winner of the 1954 Retrospective Hugo Award for Best Fanzine
  • A racial slur for people of Asian descent, in reference to the shape of their eyes.
  • The Slant, a student humor magazine at Vanderbilt University
Of course, it’s the first one that interests me, having been freshly victimized.
By phrasing its headline the way it did, GMANews successfully planted in my head the initial idea that the President was being an idiot once more. I mean, who in their right mind would say something like that? It’s belligerent, it’s arrogant, and it’s a clear-as-day expression of willingness to muzzle the freedom of speech. 
Fortunately, I had the opportunity – and the inclination – to read the whole article and still remain open to the possibility that things were not all as they seemed. There are many many others, however, who would not think twice about repeating that scurrilous headline as though it was a self-contained absolute truth; there are any others who would never have the chance to read the whole article and so come away with the impression that the President has added yet another offense to the charge sheet waiting for her on the 1st of July 2010; and there are countless who, already convinced that the President is Lucifer’s midget mistress, will go on and read the article but never even consider that the headline was misleading. 
For one thing, ‘challenging’ does not necessarily equate with ‘hard.’ GMANews should really be careful with its synonyms, because not all synonyms are appropriate. Context is crucial, as well as nuance, in deciding which of Roget’s synonyms to use.
Context, first of all, tells us that when the President was talking about how challenging it was, she was just reflecting the sentiment that living in a fish bowl makes governance less effective. It might also be said that, with her reference to ‘public relations,’ the President was bewailing her inability to push tough-but-necessary measures – an indirect dig at media-savvy populist politics (which is surpassingly ironic, considering her dole-out programs). Some might say that these are anachronistic sentiments, but hey, that’s her opinion. 
The word ‘challenging,’ in turn, carries a more positive sense – in that the difficulties being posed are not considered hindrances but provide motivation to do better – than the word ‘hard’ – which carries with the sense of intractableness. The one should not have been synonymized for the other, if accuracy were a consideration. Of course, if the attractiveness of the headline were the only criterion, well, then the synonym use worked like a charm.
And that’s the bitch, really. Now, even NEWS reporting dips into the realm of Advocacy Journalism. Call me old-school, but I really think that hard news should be as objective as possible, steering clear of these clever headlines that insinuate a non-objective viewpoint while pretending to still be fair. If I want my opinion shaped for me, if I want my reporting slanted, I’ll go look through the OpEd pages, thank you very much.

Filed under: journalism, musings, , , ,

After the love-fest, answers

Ces is back! She’s safe! Whee!

Now, after the love-fest, answers.

  • Who kidnapped her?
  • Can she identify them from mugshots and such?
  • Did she know where she was held?
  • What can she remember about the place where she was held? Any geographic landmarks?
  • How many people held her?
  • How were they armed? How were they provisioned? Who was feeding her captors?
  • Did they have a political agenda?
  • Why did she refuse the escorts?
  • Was she ever in any real danger?
  • Was this an abduction in quest of an exclusive?
  • Is there a book or movie deal in any of this? If so, who’s gonna play her (LOL!)

Of course, I’m not saying she should be debriefed today. Tomorrow will be soon enough. Or even the day after that. The point is, just because she’s back and unharmed, doesn’t make her off-limits like fragile porcelain. She can play that angle, of course, but I hope she saves it for all the Oprah-esque talkshows, interviews, and magazines that will inevitably mob her.

But for the sake of the rest of us not terribly interested in that saccharine pap, i hope she does get debriefed in deadly earnest. It’s wonderful that she got out of that unscathed, but that experience should at least be mined for lessons. And you don’t get lessons when you handle her with kid gloves.

Or will journalists once again exercise the much vaunted ‘freedom of the press’ to suppress the information they think we don’t need to have (or the information their former captors don’t wish us to have)?

Filed under: journalism, , , ,

Shouting the news

Bencard, in a comment on a previous post, reminded me of a pet peeve: shouting newsreaders. You know? The Mike Enriquez types, and the Henry Omaga Diaz stylings.

Then, I also remembered that there are some countries in Europe where some newscasts have the newsreaders doing a strip tease as the broadcast progresses.

So apparently, we don’t have a monopoly on ridiculous. But the fact that, on opposite sides of the globe, station managers are choosing to adopt these strange methods gave me pause and awakened the non-purist in me. Now I understand that we have time-honored notions of how dignified news readers ought to be and all that. But I’ve just got to ask: is there really an established aesthetic for newsreading?

It is a changing world, after all, where people who watch the tube generally have the attention span of a fruit fly.  SO, although personally I still prefer Coop’s laid back style of sober reporting, maybe – just maybe – even these annoying gimmicks serve a laudable purpose, i.e., to keep the audience interested enough to listen to the news.

Filed under: journalism, news, television, , ,

Spoiled Brats

Over at Filipino Voices, butch insightfully discusses the kind of pressure journalists are under to provide ‘compelling content.’

‘Compelling’ of course, especially in the context of Philippine media in general, I pronounce as ‘sen-say-sho-na-listic.’ In less charitable moments, I might be given to pronouncing it as ‘pro-pa-gan-dis-tic.’

Leaving that aside, butch also pulls this quote:

“The rest of the world knows how to get attention,” Scherer says. “Targeting a journalist will get attention because journalists give attention to each other.”

And that’s what really got my attention. Shenanigans like the kidnapping Ces Drilon are quite obviously about getting attention. Like spoiled brats will sometimes break a vase for no reason other than to get noticed, various groups will often do something outrageous when they feel they’re being ignored by the limelight – or when someone else is hogging center stage. We all know this and understand this to be a fair conclusion.

Which makes me wonder why serious journalists even bother.

I get how most journalists have a kind of messianic complex when it comes to “the search for truth.” You can ennoble that complex by simply ignoring the fact that maintaining it requires a certain level of egotism to imagine that the whole ‘truth’ infrastructure will collapse without your contributions; in fact, we often do. It is practically blasphemy to say that some journalists are just glory hounds; they all have to be knights errant in pursuit of an obfuscated truth.

But even if we were to take for granted that ‘truth’ is the holy grail, one cannot help but wonder what sort of ‘truth’ do we need from fringe terrorists like those that nabbed Ces? Other armed groups at least still maintain the separatist line – and work along parallel and non-violent tracks for the accomplishment of that goal. But the terrorists? What redeeming social value does their reign of terror represent? More to the point, what could they have possibly told Ces that would have justified her risking her life like that?

Journalists should learn to distinguish between the pursuit of truth and plain reportage of facts. The truth is indispensable, and should be sought out with fervor and all that. But mere facts are less noble. Some facts we the public can even can do without, especially if they do not materially contribute to our understanding of things (I mean, what more do we need to know about the Abu Sayyaf anyway?) and most especially when they come at too high a cost – not just to ourselves but to our family, our industry, and even our nation. Take Ces’ abduction, f’rinstance. It doesn’t just endanger her. It makes her entire family suffer; it has put her industry in an unflattering light because of that news blackout, and – by emboldening and giving her abductor’s renewed bragging rights – it has empowered enemies of the state.

At the end of the day, that’s the worst consequence of this entire sorry episode. Once again, the abductors have proven that they can do these things with near impunity. Word will already have reached the ears of their international sympathizers and donations must be on the uptick. Hell, even if they didn’t get any more board and lodging fees, they will probably come out of this awash in cash once again.

What will have Ces Drilon’s sacrifice gained then? Everything for those blaggards, and nothing but heartache for the rest of us. Like pacifying a spoiled brat, it just isn’t worth it.

Filed under: journalism, ,

Still hypocritical

The media have been quick to defend their decision to embargo the news about Ces Drilon’s kidnapping. Their argument goes:

“If that story came out, it might have angered the abductors and the captors could have been harmed.”

That from the NUJP President. From the Maria Ressa, on the other hand:

Her argument was that things on the grounds were so confused at that point, and that ABS-CBN had to be quite fearful for the lives of its people.

To which the PDI responded:

We believe that the concern about the situation turning more volatile—possibly fatally—because of premature reporting was valid.

That’s a neat little circle of protection they have there, ain’t it? But it is the very validity of Maria Ressa’s argument that calls into question the subsequent acts of media. If the concern about premature reporting was valid for this kidnapping by the ASG and thus prompted restraint, it begs the question why didn’t the media exercise the same restraint in other cases of kidnappings by the ASG? If media was now so quick to accept the validity of those concerns, where was it’s collective head at during all those ASG kidnappings that went before?

And why stop at ASG kidnappings? Any kidnapping carries that risk of turning fatal when kidnappers – of whatever stripe – see their efforts bannered all over the news before they had consolidated their plans.

The PDI makes a half-hearted apology of sorts –

Which is not to say the media haven’t been taken to task for what one respected voice in Philippine journalism bluntly called an attempt by ABS-CBN to “manage the news.” Vergel Santos said “People there [in Sulu] can be lulled into a false sense of security,” and for that reason, “the complete story had to be given to cover all possibilities and lessen speculation.”

– which it ruined with a quick and rather churlish retort –

But people in the area most certainly knew what had transpired, as the fairly regular updates coming from concerned members of the Mindanao People’s Caucus will attest.

– that entirely missed the point. The sense of security of people in Sulu is a rather secondary point, the main objection being against the ‘management’ of the news.

Also, didja notice how the abrupt retort saved the PDI from actually responding to Santos’ criticism? Seriously. As a member of the public who is subjected daily to only one half of the news – the half that harangues people – while the other half that contains the explanations and the clarifications are often deliberately denied the light of day, I find this brazen exercise of the power to determine the extent of access to news disgusting. Its a question of trust, y’know? How can I trust the news now that I know for a fact that they they actually do filter the news so that all the public sees is what they want the public to see?

Didn’t the PDI even feel the need to apologize to the public for blatantly selecting what news to print? Of course they always do that, but being caught in flagrante delicto, one would think that they’d have the graciousness to at least blush and mumble a quick ‘sorry.’

HELL NO!. Instead, let’s deflect the criticism even further by making the government appear to be the bad guy.

It was the government propaganda machine that made an embargo moot and academic—in direct contrast to the usual official line that the media are reckless in their quest for a scoop. When state-owned television channel NBN-4 broke the story in its Monday evening news broadcast, the authorities quite consciously got the ball rolling, which made Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye’s subsequent appeal (“Likewise, we appeal for caution and restraint in media reportage as not to unduly hamper efforts to rescue them”) the height of official hypocrisy.

Again, the objection is against the embargo – and so what NBN 4 did was actually the right thing to do. As for Bunye’s appeal, I fail to see the hypocrisy in it since, defining hypocrisy as doing what you warn others against doing, I hardly think that the NBN report could be considered unrestrained, especially when compared to the bells and whistles the major private networks are overly fond of attaching to even the most pedestrian news. I mean, it’s not NBN newsreaders that scream the headlines at you, or bombard you with endless loops of the most graphic images possible.

And besides, who watches NBN anymore anyway? You can hardly get that channel in the ARMM, for crying out loud! The fact that people were finding out waaaay too late is testimony to the paltry reach of NBN. Let’s face it: 9 out of 10 people prolly didn’t get their first taste of that news from NBN. So, calling Bunye out for hypocrisy is just a stupid canard; an attempt to find someone more guilty of wrongdoing to mask the error of setting up a hypocritical embargo anyway.

Ah, but what’s the use, right? All this is so much water under the bridge. Or at least, that’s what the PDI wants people to think by this barely concealed attempt to say “discussion OVER.”

We are, however, duty-bound to do unto others as we would do unto ourselves. Torres says the consideration given ABS-CBN should now be extended to the families of all kidnap victims. In this sense, the decision among rival media outfits to respect ABS-CBN’s request for an embargo means that a policy shift has taken place. An embargo should now be standard operating procedure for all the media in the initial hours of a kidnapping.

Have we even discussed yet whether or not an embargo is the right way to go? PDI’s closing statement takes for granted that an embargo is the right course of action in the initial hours of a kidnapping. That’s yet another sly excuse for what they did. “Oooh, it was the right thing to do anyway – and we’ve been told off already anyway – and so now we’re gonna do it for everybody.”

Didn’t Vergel Santos just say that an embargo was wrong? Who died and made the NUJP the final arbiter of what news the public should or should not have access to? And “all the media?” since when has the PDI been the voice for “all the media?” Come ON. Isn’t arrogating unto itelf the role of rule maker just a tad … well, arrogant?

Instead, what the PDI should be saying is that they now admit that the people’s right to information (which they are always quick to slap in everyone’s faces) isn’t as super-trump as they’ve always ALWAYS made it out to be. But good luck trying to get them to say that. Despite the fact that the existence of one exception to the rule implies the possibility of other exceptions existing, this last statement by the PDI effectively tells the public that the media is willing to accept only this specific limitation on their right to exercise journalism as they see fit. Which is incredibly hypocritical still since everyone knows that mega media always limits public access to complete information by giving preferential exposure to news that falls in line with their editorial biases; and which is doubly hypocritical since the only reason they’re acknowledging this now is because they got caught red-handed.

Now, more than ever, should the reader beware.

Filed under: journalism, media, , ,

Ransom

The next question of course is “Will abs-cbn ransom Ces Drilon?”

The negative answer to that makes my blood run cold; the threat of KFR is, after all, something I am familiar with. But one can’t help wondering if giving in to a kidnapper’s demands doesn’t just embolden them more.

I can understand the logic behind not giving in to the demands of kidnappers and terrorists, but I can’t completely divorce myself from the innate wrongness of letting someone die just to prove a point. This isn’t Sparta, after all.

Filed under: journalism, media, , , , ,

Blackout

I guess benign0 beat me to it. Reacting to abs-cbn’s news blackout of the Ces Drilon abduction, I mean. Myself, the gist of my reaction was this: Oh? So it’s okay for abs-cbn to suppress news, and howl bloody murder when others – for security reasons not terribly unlike those invoked by abs-cbn – ask for a similar embargo?

Don’t get me wrong. I understand why abs-cbn felt it necessary to ask for an embargo – and of course I hope Ces is okay (I’m optimistic, in fact, that she will be ok); I am merely commenting on the apparent double standard in effect. The safety of one of their own justifies denying the public access to a newsworthy event; but the safety of others doesn’t?

On a related note, I was also struck by this unintended but no less blatant exercise of power to control what the public knows. It reminds me of a quote from Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, a game I used to play:

As the Americans learned so painfully in Earth’s final century, free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master.

Commissioner Pravin Lal
“U.N. Declaration of Rights”

Filed under: journalism, media, , , , ,

Say it ain’t So

Is it just me, or is the latest warning by the program manager of the DOH’s national drug policy moronic?

Here’s the Philippine Star’s report with my comments.

With the growing popularity of glutathione-based products for skin whitening, the Department of Health (DOH) warned the public yesterday of the possible ill-effects if these are taken indiscriminately.

According to Dr. Robert So, program manager of the DOH’s National Drug Policy, the whitening effect of these products is “actually the side effect” and not the main usage of the glutathione component.

So far so good. So isn’t actually saying anything that wasn’t already public knowledge. Okay, so maybe not everyone knows this information, but the fact that whitening is only a side-effect has been in nearly all the advertorials on this class of product.

“It is the side effect. It changes the cell outline of the skin so the color of the skin becomes lighter. I personally do not know but there might be other side effects that can be harmful to your health,” he said in a telephone interview.

Still good. So is clearly taking a cautious stand – admitting the possibility of ill-effects while also admitting that he does not know of any evidence or actual case of ill-effects being reported. But then, he jumps the shark.

So said that if such products could change the color of the skin, it is possible that they could affect the “inner part” of the body.

The “inner part” of the body? Wtf? What about the “thigh part?” Or the “breast part?” … oh, wait. That’s chicken. Is this guy a doctor or a Jollibee crew brat? Reminds me of a friend of mine who refers to her groin as the “crotch area.” I tried telling her about how redundant that was, but she said it was more better than just saying crotch – which to her sounded obscene. I told her she needed to dye her hair to a shade about a hundred times lighter than her brown.

Of course, I still tend to be forgiving of poor Doctor So. It was a telephone interview, after all – that bastard offspring of cellphones and journalism – so he must have been desperate to simplify what he was trying to say. Still, this kind of imprecision from a Doctor in the government’s employ simply doesn’t bode well for the state of our civil service. I don’t care how moronic you think your listener is, you simply shouldn’t talk like a moron yourself.

“Our advice is for the public to be careful. If they take it not because of its therapeutic or treatment purposes, there might be some complications,” he said, adding that before using the products, the public must consult their doctors and check if these products have been certified by the DOH-run Bureau of Food and Drugs.

As if he sensed how idiotic he sounded in that other statement, So throws this motherhood statement out. Nothing really wrong with it, of course, apart from that it soooo belabors the obvious. Like I said, what can you do when you’re on the cellphone with a reporter who has no idea what you’re talking about and is just desperate for a soundbite from you?

Still, it is worth mentioning that Viagra was never meant as a stiffener either, and look how successful that little blue pill is. The botulinum toxin isn’t even meant to be taken at all, but yet it’s practically the recreational drug of choice among the desperately age-defying set.

All in all, this isn’t really all So’s fault. I lay the blame squarely on the style of journalism that is en vogue nowadays – the reportage of the sound bite.

Still, So should know better than to say idiocies like the “inner part” of the body.

Filed under: journalism, musings, pop-culture, science,