Ellen Tordesillas is actually not my friend. I don't know her. Never met her. But she is a blogging colleague, sincere in her work, pro-Philippines day and night. Her heart is good. She writes about opera and the passing of good people. I read her blog regularly.
But I fear she has gone anti. Anti Aquino.
What does "anti" mean? It means packing an agenda, with the agenda being the lens through which facts are digested and commentary is spewed.
I've written in the past that it is easy to drift to the negative ("Bemoan or Build"). We all tend to look at the flaws rather than the things that are in order. We are removed from the playing field so have a rather sanitized, unreal view about activity that is dirty, unplanned and bone-crunching.
Her blog is called, simply, "ellen tordesillas". What is disturbing to me is the opening line in her self-description:
- "I'm Ellen Tordesillas, a journalist."
Ellen's second site, "The Vera Files", touts itself as an investigative journalism site where "Truth is Our Business".
I do not provide links to Ellen Tordesilla's blog sites because my Google Chrome security service on November 23 advised me that "The Vera Files" issues malware harmful to computers. I suspect the sites are under attack by hackers, as her comment thread has also been knocked out of order.
Hmmmmm. I thought there was a difference between a journalist and a commentator. Now journalists are entitled to opinions, too. But those opinions ought to be clearly separated from the business of reporting the facts about events.
Here are Ellen's recent headlines and opening lines on articles about President Aquino:
- "PH should face up to the reality 'When China rules the world' "
- "When President Aquino was making waves in the summit of Asean leaders and their dialogue partners in Cambodia with his statement urging the United States to speak up on the South China Sea conflict which was anathema to China . . ." (November 22)
- "Aquino living up to the role of U.S. dummy
- "In a United States-written script, President Aquino performed his role very well as the American dummy in Southeast Asia at the 21st Asean summit in Cambodia." (November 20)
- "Aquino berating media is becoming boring"
- "Why am I not surprised that the Freedom of Information bill in the House of Representatives has been declared dead in the 15th Congress by press freedom advocates? Simple: President Aquino does not support it. (November 15)
- "Concrete evidence, not snide remarks, needed to convict Gloria"
- "The day that President Aquino talks about his accomplishments without snide remarks at Gloria Arroyo, is the day I can say that he has matured as a leader of this country. As of now, his penchant for snide remarks about people he doesn’t like gives the impression of being juvenile." (November 7)
- "Edith Burgos on Aquino’s ‘leftist propaganda’ remark"
- "Still searching for her missing son, Edith Burgos, wife of press freedom icon Jose Burgos Jr. and mother of Jonas Burgos, who was never seen since he was abducted by persons suspected to be members of the military on April 28, 2007, issued a statement yesterday in reaction to President Aquino’s remark dismissing criticisms about the dismal human rights records of his administration as leftist propaganda." (October 25)
- "Making sure we got the President correctly on internet libel"
- "This is what President Aquino said at the forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association in the Philippines Wednesday on internet libel in the Cybercrime Law which he signed last Sept. 1." (October 18)
- "PNoy, Padaca don’t get it"
- "What is it in being in position of power that dulls the mind and blurs the comprehension of people we thought were sensible?" (October 7)
- "If PNoy believes Puno’s Israel trip story, pity the Filipino people"
- "I wish President Aquino would stop talking about “tuwid na daan” anymore. It’s adding insult to injury with the way he protected Rico Puno, his shooting buddy whom he appointed undersecretary in the Department of Interior and Local Government. He accepted Puno’s resignation last Sept. 11." (September 16)
- "President Aquino accepts Puno’s resignation"
- "Last Friday, former DILG Undersecretary Rico E. Puno submitted his letter of resignation to the President, through Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr. The President has accepted Mr. Puno’s resignation effective immediately." (September 11)
- "PNoy’s buddies: ‘they are different from you and me’"
- "Pnoy inducts his shooting buddy. After days of deafening silence on the issue of his favorite undersecretary,Rico Puno,in-charge of police matters at the Department of Interior and Local Government,attempting to get hold of the documents in the possession of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, President Aquino finally spoke and revealed that it was upon his orders that Puno did it." (September 9)
Now I have absolutely no problem with opinions being registered on a blog site. But I have trouble with opinions being registered as "journalism" and I have trouble with agenda being labeled objective.
If I follow the articles, I am to believe that President Aquino did absolutely nothing constructive for the Philippines during the three month period from which these headlines were drawn. Instead, I am to believe that he is characterized by:
- " Deafening silence" (about a delicate issue).
- "Adding insult to injury" (because he did not agree with critics of Puno or their recitation of events).
- "Being dull of mind with blurred comprehension" (because he advocated Padaca, a feminine Robredo, for a COMELEC position).
- "Having a dismal human rights record" (because he disagrees with those who think he is doing nothing about extra-judicial murders).
- "Being snide and juvenile" (because he did a funny wheelchair joke at Gloria Arroyo's expense).
- "Being a dummy" (for advocating international engagement in the West China Sea rather than China's bilateral engagement strategy).
- "Making waves" (for advocating US engagement "in anathema" to China)
I'd swear I'm on Get Real Post, that manipulative, agenda freak of a blog site that bans readers who have opposing views. The notorious thug-site that encourages personal insults against commenters who disagree.
And I actually agree, as a highly opinionated blogger myself, with some of the opinions Ellen Tordesillas registers. But where are the accolades when the President gets it right? Where is the balanced weighing of two sides of a controversial issue before rendering judgment?
These articles are hack jobs.
I can't imagine a patriotic Filipino not being proud of President Aquino's work at the ASEAN summit. First of all, he was sick as a dog, but pulled himself out of bed to get to this important confab. Second of all, he did not roll over to Cambodia's "consensus" statement, which was nothing more than a sly political move to try to push the Philippines and Viet Nam aside. Only President Aquino had the forthright courage to stand firm and state the Philippines did not agree to the Cambodian "consensus" statement.
For this, he is called a "dummy"?
You want him to roll over and accede to China, say so. Articulate why.
I no longer trust the objectivity of this "journalist" right now. Ten articles. Two neutral. Eight critical. Zero complimentary. Lots of unkind, loaded words.
The trend of criticism of the President is so pronounced, that I have determined the correct placement of the blog on The Philippine Blog Center is with other "anti" blogs like Get Real Post. It is not necessarily a permanent assignment, as I review these blogs regularly to see if they have gone mainstream. But that seems to be the proper assignment.
I am also moving the blog "The Nutbox" to the mainstream "Top Blog" column. This blog does not have frequent commentary, but what is there is superior in form and content, and it is intellectually honorable. The writing is from the perspective of a younger Filipino and points in a direction that Philippine blogging would be well served aspiring to: intelligent, objective and devoid of emotional "win/lose" esteem battles.