IT’S am interesting verbal exchange between two journalists (before others wiggled into the picture) using various media platforms. The two journalists I am referring to are TV5 news anchor Ed Lingao and former TV5 news anchor and currently radio host Erwin Tulfo. Their verbal exchange, with Tulfo mainly using his radio program “Punto Asintado” and Lingao mainly usinng Facebook, has gone viral on social media.
The incident was sparked by fake news, or more accurately a meme with a fake quote attributed to Sen. Risa Hontiveros that Tulfo used as basis to launch a scathing attack on the senator in his radio program. Lingao, whose resume includes stints with the prestigious Philippine Center for Investigative (PCIJ) as multimedia director and TV5 as news manager, posted a critique of it on Facebook.
We don’t really know the inner workings of the said network, notably the relationship between TV5 and Radyo Singko, but it does sound strange that the two, who can be described as colleagues, would engage in a very public quarrel, one that would go on without their superiors intervening. The verbal exchange would later expand with Erwin’s brother Ben, who also has a radio program, and Mocha Uson (yes, the assistant secretary, using her blog) joining the fray against Lingao.
This verbal exchange actually shows the damaging effect fake news/fake social media posts and political partisanship have on almost every aspect of our social life. The Tulfo brothers are known supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte (their sister is a Cabinet member) and Erwin, his brother Ben and Uson and her ka-DDS (diehard Duterte supporters) consider Lingao as “dilawan” or pro-Liberal Party.
But before the accusations and counter-accusations erupted, there was the fact that the fake meme on Hontiveros, posted no doubt by a “ka-DDS,” caused this furor. It painted the senator as a supporter of the Maute group. It only would have taken a little digging up to think that Hontiveros would never have said this:
“What Maute Group are doing is not rebellion. I believe they are only doing what they think is right. This people has a belief, a convition that pushed them to move forward. Maaring pagod na sila sa mga nangyari sa Lipunan, at least they have the motivation. We should be inspired of what they are doing. They are the epitome of courage and resilience.”
Somebody posted that meme and a few variations of it in my Facebook wall and I immediately clicked the “hide” button and the instruction to “see less” the posts of the person who shared it to me. I promised myself that the next time somebody would post a fake news or meme on my Facebook wall I would “unfollow” him or her. Tulfo, though, treated the said post differently, and the unfortunate thing there is that he has a platform where the fakery was passed on to a wide audience.
I expect this quarrel to be eventually resolved by the management of the network where the two broadcasters are working. But let this be a lesson even for all journalists, even for the veterans. Fakery and lies abound in social media, some of them peddled as news. We should know how to spot them aron dili ta makuryente.