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Fact check: Media actually did report on Ilocos Sur caravan for Marcos

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Fact check: Media actually did report on Ilocos Sur caravan for Marcos
This photo release shows former Sen.Bongbong Marcos announcing he will run for president of the Philippines.
BBM staff / Released

MANILA, Philippines — A blogger on Facebook and YouTube made two posts claiming "mainstream" media did not want to report on the caravan for presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

CLAIM: On November 7, blogger Maharlika made two posts on Facebook. The first has a caption "BBM caravan, ayaw ibalita ng Fakestream media."

Less than an hour later, she again posted: "Nakakabingi ang katahimikan ng Fakestream media sa BBM Caravan. Pero ang kawayan na tinalian ng Fenk ribbon at ang Kalabaw ni Lugaw na nag motorcade, headline at minu-minuto binabalita."

RATING: This is False.

FACTS:

What the posts said

Facebook vlogger Maharlika posted on November 7 a video of the motorcade titled "BBM caravan, grabe ang suporta." As caption, she said "fakestream" media — a jab at mainstream media commonly used by conspiracy theorists and suporters of former US President Donald Trump — did not want to report on it.

A separate post on the same day said the silence from the mainstream media on the caravan for Marcos was deafening.

The page has been posting photos in support of Marcos. The vlogger has also been conducting a "presidential kalye survey" for her viewers.

What the posts left out

A Google search showed that ABS-CBN News, Rappler and Inquirer published reports on the caravan in Ilocos Sur on Sunday.

ABS-CBN journalist Jacque Manabat also posted a tweet at 2:01 p.m., asking for social media users who took photos and videos of the event and who were willing to be interviewed. 

ABS-CBN has stories on the caravan in Filipino and English. They also posted a separate photo caption showing the motorcade. The story in Filipino was posted at 4:57 p.m. on Sunday.

Rappler, which mainly published in English, also had one story up on its website, posted 5:05 p.m. on the same day. 

Inquirer also reported on the same day that the motorcade drew some 8,000 supporters as organizers claimed.

State-run PTV4 also posted on its Twitter account photos from the event, screen grabbed from an official fan page video of Gov. Ryan Luis Singson. 

Marcos' arrival in Tacloban City to attend events in commemoration of Supertyphoon Yolanda anniversary on Monday meanwhile was covered by both national and regional media, as seen on their social media accounts. Articles were also written on the presser.

Essential context

The Digital News Report 2020 noted that the Philippine media has been subjected to increased attacks during the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

It said in its 2021 report, that Filipinos' trust  in news rose to 32% from 27% in 2020, while trust in news from social media fell to 20% from 22%.

Despite the slight increase in trust, the report noted that "journalists that have been critical of the government continue to face attacks and online harassment."

The report notes that "distrust in news brands has declined except for Rappler, which government supporters continue to attack," highlighting the role that accusations of bias and unfair coverage impacts trust in media.

A section of the same report, focusing on perceptions of fair news coverage, also noted that there is "a long tradition of research showing that opposing political partisans both have a tendency to see media coverage as biased against them."

It continues: "But at the same time, in most countries those on the right are more likely to think they are covered unfairly – perhaps influenced by a long-running narrative from right-wing politicians about media bias (the UK is relatively unusual in that this perception is more common among those on the left)." 

Why does this matter?

As of November 9, Maharlika’s first video post on Facebook has earned 17,000 reactions and 931 comments. It was also shared 994 times. The post also landed in Philstar.com’s monitoring on Crowdtangle.

The second post was shared 1,100 times, with 21,000 reactions and 2,900 comments as of November 9.

More than 300 journalists have committed to fact-based coverage of the 2022 elections. Members of the Philippine media industry earlier this year committed "to provide accurate, reliable and essential information that will empower voters and encourage public discussion and debate."

Despite that pledge, many newsrooms have been hit by revenue drops and staff cuts, which have made coverage more challenging. Some reporters use crowdsourcing — using their social media accounts to look for content and for interviewees — if they are too far away to cover an event or cannot be there physically.

Staff cuts, especially in the regions, also mean there are fewer journalists who can cover events outside Metro Manila. The shutdown of ABS-CBN regional stations because of a House decision to deny the broadcast giant a franchise in 2020 has contributed to lack of coverage, not just of political rallies but also of other important issues. 

The media plays an important role in the elections, as emphasized by the US Embassy in the Philippines in a September 2021 report of ABS-CBN report.

John Groch of the US Embassy public affairs section recalled that in the 2020 polls in America, there were "efforts to provide correct and transparent information" that "helped [stabilize]" the US democratic system. — Kristine Joy Patag

 

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This story is part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator, an Internews initiative to build the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts

Have a claim you want fact-checked? Reach out to us at editor@philstar.com.

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