Rumor PNoy collapse, denial as news: Editors use tricks of the trade again: accountable, editorial judgment
Rumor of PNoy Collapse and Denial as News: Editors resort to tricks of the trade again: should be asked to account for their “editorial judgment”
News media giants such as the Inquirer bannered the rumor of PNoy’s “collapse” or fainting spell as news report by storifying the denial. In an earlier post at: https://marichulambino.com/2015/02/06/storifying-the-purisima-resignation-pnp-chief-tricks-of-the-trade/ , the practice of storifying a rumor was illustrated: That is: since news editors and news directors are not allowed to publish/ air/ post rumors as news reports, they simply get the government official’s denial of the rumor, and then, turn the denial into a news report. It’s one of the oldest trick in the news business. News editors know that they are not supposed to disseminate as news any unverified talk or text or tweet (a rumor) – but they want to use the unverified talk or text or tweet (rumor) in their news page, so they indirectly report the rumor in a frontpage news story by simply getting the denial and newspegging the rumors on that. Banner. Front page. Big letters. Rumor.
Normally, when fed with a rumor, the editor would ask the reporter: Look for a source. Then, he/ she would ask: Kailan daw nangyari (when did this happen?) What time? Where? Who saw it? If you have absolutely no information whatsoever, then, there is no story. Get a bit, a bite, a tip, a lead, a source who saw something — like the President’s knees slowly wobbling, until he was slumped on the staircase; or the President looking pale before wearily holding on to a railing, etc., — get sumthin’. If all you have is a denial of a rumor, just a denial, nothing more, why is that a story? A rumor is not a story. The denial of a rumor is also not a story. A denial simply means the news editor is back to square one. Square one (or square zero in this case) means you have no information whatsoever on whether he collapsed or not. Zero, zilch, nada, a blank. The effort of trying to get information is also not a story. A reporter interviewing the gardener, barber, waiter, driver, and Darla (Kris Aquino’s head writer) and not getting anything or getting a “wala naman akong napansin” (“I didn’t notice anything”), is not a story. (a reporter talking on the phone, working the keyboard, walking on the street, is not a story). Zero information is not a story.
Curiosity as to who started the rumor is not an element of news. The notion that there must be a group floating these rumors for “political objectives” is commonsensical — using that as news value is unbelievably inane and banal.
All those news organizations who used this rumor, or its denial, as news story should be held to account for their so-called “editorial judgment”.