WHILE mainstream media is showing alarming signs of going to the dogs, as I rued in my column last Wednesday, there are remarkable gems of reportage and opinion pieces on Facebook written by non-journalists.
This is good for our democracy, although the weakness of social media is that writers there do not have editors. By this I mean not just those who edit their pieces, but those who provide them guidance, based on their many years of experience in the field. Despite this though, one can still find once in a while pieces that hardly need any editing nor guidance.
The following is a piece that was posted yesterday by Mark Cabuloy, who, from his profile picture, is probably in his 20s, and who curiously has a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in marketing communications, practically unedited (chart was included in his post).
“As of April 15, the number of Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) cases and deaths in the Philippines continues to rise without any clear signs of slowing down. As we are in the four-week point of the enhanced community quarantine, we are just beginning to see the results of our collective effort and cooperation.
It seems that the government has addressed some major issues already, but have we overcome the worst yet? Or are we headed toward grimmer scenarios?
While we wait for the daily numbers from the Health department and as we try to understand the extent of the spread of the virus from the ongoing mass testing, what is clear is that lockdowns have worked and are working elsewhere.
Scientific models, historical evidence and actual scenarios have shown us that lockdowns did/do work.
In Italy, Spain and Hubei [Province in] China where Wuhan City is located, lockdowns have been proven as effective measures to slow down transmission, reducing new cases dramatically after 21 to 23 days.
Even countries, which initially thought they didn’t need to lock down, have now implemented lockdown scenarios like Singapore and Japan
Other countries with far better health care systems have implemented very strict social distancing measures and have gone as far as imposing hefty fines such as France ($3,960), Germany ($500) and Italy ($4,000). In some US states, you will be fined up to $1,000 for not wearing a mask.
But two weeks of ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) left and it seems we are not in lockdown anymore!
Looking outside from my window, you would mistake the traffic as a regular rush-hour scene in Ortigas.
There are even reports of sabong (cockfighting), boxing and gambling in some areas. Social distancing measures are not being observed nor implemented in public places like markets and groceries.
What [are] the local government units doing? What are we doing?
The ningas kugon attitude of Filipinos is in full display right now. It seems that people are not taking it seriously anymore and have forgotten that this is a matter of life and death.
This is very alarming. Remember, the war is far from being won and there’s [neither] cure nor vaccine yet.
The lockdown is not a vacation. It’s supposed to deprive us of things and leisure activities that are not essential. If you think it is hard for you, imagine how doubly difficult it is for those who are in a constant struggle to make ends meet. The lockdown requires our sacrifice.
Only essential errands and essential workforce are permitted.
Let’s hammer the point once more — be patient and cooperative. Let’s not add to the headache of our local officials and health care providers. What we need to do is to trust the science and do our part.
We have no other option, so stay the f**k home.”
Waiting for Zulueta
I am still waiting for the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s senior editor Lito Zulueta to respond to my column last Wednesday accusing him of publishing fake news, that the Covid-19 was created in a “Wuhan biolab.”
Zulueta recycled the work of fiction of fire-breathing China basher Stephen Mosher, in a blog in an anti-China, religious right website — Lifesitenews.com — that was originally a fanatic anti-abortion website. Lifesitenews.com had been identified by Snopes.com as a “known purveyor of fake or misleading news.”
I feel this is an important issue: mainstream media must clamp down on publishing fake news, for the profession I’m in to regain the public’s trust.
Posting fake news in social media is understandable. Writers there — mostly rank amateurs in journalism — don’t have editors, to tell them that this or what they are writing about might be fake news. Furthermore, one can even ask Facebook management or the person who posted it to delete such fake news or pieces regurgitating fake news.
In contrast, a newspaper like the Inquirer is a news organization, and its articles are supposed to be checked for accuracy and cleared not just by the section editor, but all the way up the pecking order, with the buck stopping at the publisher.
That is the reason why libel suits are filed not just against the writer, but also against the editors up to the publisher, sometimes even including the newspaper company’s owners. After all, they are all responsible for a canard being printed. In contrast to social media, print media articles can’t be deleted, which means the fake news will continue to be read.
If you’re interested in the origins of Covid-19, based on real scientists’ painstaking work using the tools of science, the following articles are informative:
– Sciencedaily.com: “Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic has a natural origin.”
– Theguardian.com: “US military chief: ‘Weight of evidence’ that Covid-19 did not originate in a lab.”
– Grain.org: “New research suggests industrial livestock, not wet markets, might be origin of Covid-19.”
And, please, stop circulating that fake documentary posted on Youtube, “The Origins of Wuhan Virus,” made by The Epoch Times, operated by anti-China Chinese-Americans with the religious group Falun Gong, which the Chinese government crushed in 1999 for advocating the overthrow of the Chinese Communist Party. Falun Gong, therefore, has a big, big axe to grind against the Chinese government.