we had published our views on the news coverage abs-cbn aired on the ted failon story, actually the death of ted failon’s wife where we said we thought abs-cbn was not impartial in it’s coverage. we thought abs-cbn did not just deliver the news, it editorialized the news and delivered a slant or a message to the public. (read here: http://tinyurl.com/cq4hj5)
we are printing here a response from someone who claims to be maria ressa, the head of abs-cbn’s news & current affairs department. that was the name used in the comment posted in this blog (view the comment on the same post http://tinyurl.com/cq4hj5) and the email used to register the comment. note that we have not confirmed if the person who posted the comment is actually maria ressa. we will gladly retract the comment and this post if we get confirmation it is not her.
in the meantime – just a note on maria ressa. we have seen ressa at cnn news clips when she was the cnn jakarta bureau chief. she has done extensive and admirable work for cnn covering jakarta and other parts of asia.
wawam.wordpress thanks ms. ressa for her response to our blog. our response to her comment is next in wawam.wordpress.
First, thank you for watching TV Patrol and Bandila (where the Ces interview with Ted aired). For the purpose of debate, I want to challenge both the Inquirer article and some of the reasons you used for your conclusions.
On the Inquirer article, I find it funny that ABS-CBN was criticized for following the police while “the MEDIA” in general was praised for following the police! (Read the bottom part which talked about the footage of police arrests, and you’ll see that Inquirer didn’t write that that footage they praised was from ABS-CBN).
I think you’d also be interested in knowing that the media critics they quoted also criticized the police, the Inquirer and GMA7, but all that was cut out of the article. I’ll be writing a letter of complaint to their ombudsman and editor-in-chief so stay tuned.
As far as what you said about ABS-CBN interviews, I’d like to offer you other interviews and stories where we’ve focused as much, if not more attention, than we did on the Ted Failon story.
Ces also did an exclusive interview with “Nicole” – the alleged rape victim. That was only part of a coverage that was so exhaustive that Bandila became the first Philippine newscast to be nominated for an Emmy – ranked the fourth best newscast in the world by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Karen Davila did an exclusive interview with Sandra Cam, the whistleblower against jueteng who was afraid for her life. Jing Castaneda did an exclusive interview with Joey De Venecia on the NBN-ZTE deal (both stories covered in depth for weeks). I can name many more, but of course, you would expect me to defend my news organization.
You know that we broke the Proclamation 1017 stories, Danny Lim’s coup attempt, the Garci scandal, the Hyatt 10 (Ricky Carandang did a fantastic job with that exclusive and the exhaustive coverage following that).
So, no, I think it’s flawed to say that we only covered Ted Failon because he’s our anchor. In fact, some critics said early on that we didn’t cover the story BECAUSE we were protecting our anchor. We gave that space early because he – like any victim of a family suicide – asked for it. DZBB, by the way, said it would also follow his request. That, however, was only good until the police began portraying the shooting as a possible murder attempt – what they called parricide.
The picture I can’t get out of my mind is Col. Mabanag taking Trina’s letter and showing it to reporters, asking them to read it, then using it to fan himself.
I only ask that you not take what’s written as gospel truth – both the Inquirer’s and what I’m writing now. Check it out. I know what I write you will stand up to scrutiny.
-from maria ressa
head & vp ABS-CBN News & Current Affairs Department
read other posts in this blog on ted failon: http://wawam.wordpress.com/?s=ted+failon
we agree, abs-cbn was not an impartial reporter of the ted failon news story.
abs-cbn had a very extensive coverage of the ted failon story. they were to be admired for it — they looked at all aspects of the story and spent a lot of time getting into the details of the various angles. they also had their most senior reporters do the interviews and with experts on the topics of the news coverage.
they also showed admirable finesse and respect in interviewing ted failon and his family members. we remember a segment where abs cbn senior reporter ces drilon interviewed ted failon and showed admirable restraint in the questions she asked and specially those she did not ask. there were many moments when ces did not ask questions, allowed ted to speak and she used a very calm and respectful tone. it was obvious ces was being very sensitive to the feelings and hurt of ted failon who was the husband of the woman who died.
while ces drilon showed remarkable professionalism and restraint, that by itself shows the bias of abs-cbn. kudos to ces, thumbs down to the abs-cbn news organization.
that was the only time we saw an abs-cbn reporter conduct an interview of the spouse of the victim with such professionalism and restraint. all the interviews we have seen on abs-cbn news programs on similar news involving ordinary citizens were brusque, disrespectful and over-dramatic. we often saw wailing relatives of victims, showing utter pain and sadness on camera even among children.
we can only conclude that the interview that ces conducted was done in such a manner only because she was interviewing ted failon, a member of their own organization.
even the comprehensive coverage that abs-cbn gave the failon story while by itself is excellent and admirable journalism, but that by itself is unprofessional. again, they do not usually give the kind of breathe and depth on their news stories. we think abs-cbn looked into all the minute details of the story only because it was ted failon’swife and not at all a usual practice of the news network. abs-cbn’s coverage of these types of news for victims not working for abs-cbn are typically meant only to capture a few sound bites to get the ratings in.
finally, a very clear proof of the bias of abs-cbn on the ted failon story can be seen in the visuals shown on tv. in this case, not just a thousand, but a million words showed their bias in favor of ted failon.
review the news programs specially in the first 5 days since the death of ted failon’s wife and you will see this bias in the pictures they were showing. the most glaring was the day when the police arrested failon’s relatives at the deathbed of his wife.
the director decided to air those horrific footages that showed police brutality over and over again during the ENTIRE news program. the director of the tv news program used snippets of the brutal arrests as bridge or segue visuals from segment to segment, complete with audio of screaming and hurt women.
was that really necessary?
showing those brutal footages over and over again were obviously meant to drive up hate and anger towards the police and generate sympathy towards the failons.
it was meant to continually show how unfair and unlawful the police were. that effectively plants the seeds of doubt on whatever the police will be saying or doing on the matter.
we are not at all justifying or defending the police on that episode. we are clear on our views – it was a brutal arrest and uncalled for. the policemen and their superiors who conducted that arrest must be fired and put to jail.
but what media did to those footages is another matter. abs-cbn was obviously not just delivering facts and events to the public, they were editorializing and they did deliver a message and intended to shape public opinion from one to another.
there is an upside to the bias that abs-cbn showed in their tv shows – that they have the ability, they know how to dissect a news story into its parts and give the audience thorough and comprehensive coverage of the news. they also have news reporters, this one is ces drilon, who can be totally professional in the conduct of an interview.
but shame on abs-cbn for doing that only for ted failon and not for other news stories. abs-cbn had an agenda, it was pretty obvious. what they did was not meant for a news program but for an editorial or a feature/special report.
there is irony in this whole thing.
Media critics score ABS-CBN coverage
MANILA, Philippines—When reporting about a “Kapamilya” caught in a personal tragedy and a legal fix, how did ABS-CBN fare in the eyes of media industry critics?
For Vergel Santos, veteran journalist and chair of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), the broadcast giant showed “a fraternal bias” for its top news anchor Ted Failonin its coverage of his wife’s violent death and the ensuing police investigation.
ABS-CBNseemed to have adopted a policy of questioning everything that the police said, according to CMFR Executive Director Melinda Quintos de Jesus.
This led to a “polarization” between Failon’s family and the authorities. “So the viewer could not decide what made sense in the incident.”
Luis Teodoro, former dean of the University of the Philippines’ College of Mass Communication, shared the view: “It was a bit overdone especially on the part of ABS-CBN. There were stories that were repeated.”
it is ironic to read that ted failon, a member of media and renowned tv news anchor telling the hospital staff – “no media, no police, please”.
as a media man himself he knows media will go after the news no matter what. media will always be there. he also knows the police will always be there and in fact should be there in any death of this type. and he in fact knows that the second best source of news and information for media is the police. media will automatically go to the police to get information.
for a media man whose ways is to seek the news and get the info from the police, it is very strange to hear those words from him.
it is strange from our point of view, the audience. but we do understand that it is not strange for ted failon, the person. the fact that we are not involved allows us to see the irony. but for ted failon who is directly involved, it is the human thing to say.
the other strange part of this curious case are the news reporters of abs-cbn, the other networks and most specially the other two 2 anchors of TV Patrol World where ted failon is an anchor. and also for korina sanchez, ted’s partner on radio.
must be tough for these media people, specially ted’s co-anchors to be objective and professional about the whole thing. they cannot not cover the incident with ted’s wife. the woman is the wife of a popular tv personality and what happened and the story that surrounds it is just too sensational to ignore.
it must take a lot of emotional and mental strength to be able to cover and deliver the news on this incident for ted’s co-anchors in his tv and radio programs.
abs-cbn’s spokesman even released a request to media to “respect the privacy of ted failon and his family. ironic that abs-cbn is asking that of media when that has been often told to them by people they feature in their news programs.
there is another part of this – the woman who got shot, ted’s wife. it seems she has been lost in all of these. a large part of the news is on ted failon with very little on the victim. there is irony in that too.
i suppose that is the way of media. it is something we need to accept as part of the dynamics. there are many components of this whole incident that begs to be analyzed and reflected upon by those who are involved in media. there are many ethical, moral and philosophical questions that need to be answered.
we are all curious. but when all that curiosity has been satisfied, it will need time to reflect.
Cops doubt Ted Failon’s wife attempted suicide
MANILA, Philippines – Police doubt that the wife of broadcast journalist Ted Failon committed suicide because the wound in her head was apparently not a result of a contact shot.
Franklin Moises Mabanag, chief of the Quezon City Police District-Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, told GMA News on Wednesday that based on “initial” findings, Trinidad Etong’s gunshot wound was not inflicted through contact shot, which means that the muzzle of the 380 pistol used in the shooting was not closely in contact with her temple.