EDITORIAL - Dig a little deeper

An airline has come forward to clarify reports that Vice President Leni Robredo requested priority landing while arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport last month, allegedly causing the diversion of some flights and inconveniencing a lot of people.

The report allegedly came from a pilot in the airline, who gave enough “details” in a post on social media as to who was affected by the diversion, allegedly mentioning several foreign diplomats and even an infant.

However, the airline itself has said that the pilot’s claim “had no basis” and the post “was purely speculative and careless” on the part of the pilot. Various sources have also confirmed that no such flight diversion took place.

In other words, it was fake news. While the post has since been taken down, there is no doubt it has done some damage to the reputation of the vice president.

The vice president is not alone in this. Others, not necessarily politicians, have also suffered the same attacks or misinformation. But fake news doesn’t always paint some people in a bad light. In fact it can also be used to make some people look good, again, using information that isn’t real.

This leads us to wonder just how many “news” items were circulated to the advantage of some candidates and the disadvantage of others during the last campaign period. And if such reports affected the election results.

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Who is to say the purveyors of damaging or misleading stories will stop at the elections? Just because the polls are over is no assurance that they will cease.

If this latest incident can teach us anything, it should be that we shouldn’t quickly believe everything we see, hear, or read. It is so easy for some people to fabricate items like this; claims or stories of events actually so full of detail those who don’t bother to fact-check will immediately fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

Considering how many people have access to the internet in this country and how quick it is to share information, it would help for Filipinos to dig a little deeper into any report they receive.

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