MY BIG MOUTH by Ramon Tulfo
Fake News in the Philippines
Pepsi Paloma, dancer and actress, was found hanging in her apartment.
It was May 31, 1985. Her rape case and death have become urban legends.
Her diary entries about her family and financial woes described more immediate problems. However, these diary entries were quickly dismissed.
Conspiracy theories sounded much better.
Alfie Anido was a matinee idol. He shot himself in the head in the early hours of Dec. 31, 1981. Articles at the time said that his girlfriend had just broken up with him.
There were also reports that he had hit his girlfriend. That was why she broke up with him.
However, it made for better headlines if there were problems with the girlfriend's family.
Fake news has been around for as long as newspapers have been in print. For example, the New York Sun claimed in 1835 that bat-like men and goat-like beasts with blue skin lived on the moon.
People bought the papers, because it was sensational. It was hard to confirm the story, since the observer was located in South Africa. It was not true, of course.
Later, newspapers would start reporting real news. Stories about criminal cases had to be factual. Soon all stories reported in newspapers had to have facts, unless they were the fiction pages.
The online world, however, has changed who makes the news. In the past, journalists in newspapers, radio stations, and TV channels were the gatekeepers.
Now, anyone with internet access can make their own website. They can claim that made up their stories are true. As long as it sounds right for some people, it can be seen as true.
I have said before that the online world has democratized journalism. However, we also have to be careful, since anyone can now hide behind an alias and claim anything.
Online journalists need "likes" and "views" for their business. This means that they can create fake news, without thinking of the harm they do.
We should be more careful about what we read.
Kaya ang fake news, huwag tularan. Maaaring nakamamatay.
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