Fakest reports are  weather reports

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

Veteran ace reporter Mitchelle Palaubsanon of The FREEMAN reported Wednesday, November 15, that the Visayas Bureau of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration has warned the public not to believe in fake weather news after noting that several of these unsubstantiated news stories have started proliferating in social media.

Palaubsanon, who has been crusading against fake news in all its forms and platforms, is quick to ferret out warnings from official sources regarding the existence of bogus stories as part of her crusade for a truthful and honest media. One of the longest under me during my time as editor, she may not have been the best writer but she was one hell of a reporter. She never fails to get the story.

So, Mitchelle's name ahead of a story on PAGASA complaining of fake weather stories I knew instantly that Mitchelle was going to be in her element. Mitchelle is a go-to girl when it comes to weather-related stories. And I know it incenses her to find fake reports proliferating about one of her favorite subjects. I could almost visualize Mitchelle ranting on social media what she could not be allowed to write in her story.

And I agree with both the PAGASA and Mitch that among all stories that fakers make a favorite subject to fake, reports about the weather are among the most sensitive to public information and pose the most risk and danger to the public.

That is why agencies like the PAGASA and crusading journalists like Mitchelle always get all het up when somebody messes up with the stories.

This is not to say that every source there is with a story on the internet is a fake. There are many sources with extensive qualifications but are not to be considered official background providers as they volunteer information only in their personal capacity. On the other hand there are experts, also without official backing, who have registered their platforms from which to launch personal commentaries.

These types of sources maybe quoted with a caveat since only their platforms maybe put to question or lack of official authority. But there is no denying their expertise and extensive knowhow about which they speak. Maybe other writers quote them solely on the basis of their names and reputation.

I can with great confidence hold Mitchelle Palaubsanon in this category of special men and women. Of course Mitchelle is an official source right now because she is still active in media. But someday when she retires, I will always trust her word in weather, labor laws, elections, and electricity matters. Years of pounding these beats on general assignments have made her, to me an expert in these fields.

As to the weather, it is a subject that is not to be trifled with. The weather is a phenomenon that can change rapidly in just a matter of hours. And can affect the lives of large segments of the population. And vast areas of their fields of production. Nothing turns life upside down faster and more drastically than war, weather, and pestilence.

For fake news and their peddlers to even think about messing up with the veracity of the phenomena known to have implications on great numbers of people, they must truly have the vicious minds of criminals. Going after them is the business of everybody. It is not enough for them to be left in the hands cybercrime experts who are only just beginning to get the hang of their new jobs.

Mitch might give the idea of forming a real advocacy group to go after fake news peddlers once she steps down from the formal confines of the corporate world. I could not find anybody more intense and passionate in this kind of advocacy than her. That will keep her active, fit, and sexy even without the zumba.

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