As if it weren’t funny enough. Early today, media watchdog blog Spin Busters broke news of an appalling lapse in editorial rigour by top Philippine broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI). Spotted on the front page of the 20th April 2013 edition of the PDI was an image depicting what seems to be the front cover of TIME Magazine featuring a photo of Philippine President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III on the occasion of being named among the “100 Most Influential People in the World”.
The image is actually a photoshopped meme posted on the Facebook page of social media political commentary powerhouse Showbiz Government. An image of the front page of the day’s PDI is made available online at the Inquirer.net, in this case at Page one, April 20, 2013 where, as of this writing, it remains available for viewing and download (see also below). It is also now in hard copy circulation all over the country.
What is really astounding, however, is how the Inquirer staff could be so clueless about the hilarity in this seminal photo of President BS Aquino flashing his signature nganga (gaping mouth) as to actually think that TIME would use it on one of their front covers. The photo was originally featured on the November 2012 Get Real Post article Is there hope in reforming the lazy presidency of President Noynoy Aquino? and is credited to the Associated Press. It was apparently taken during the Asia Pacific Economic Forum conference held in Vladivostok in 2012. It has since been used in various other memes published on Showbiz Government and other digital political commentary outlets all over the Web.
Much of the traditional media complex of the country is already under the control of oligarchs who owe much to the Aquino-Cojuangco dynasty. Even long before the 2009-2010 presidential campaign of President BS Aquino, the foundation for the awesome propaganda infrastructure of the Aquino-Cojuangco clan had already been lain. When the dust cleared in the aftermath of the 1986 “People Power” Edsa “Revolution”, the embryos of what are now two of the largest media outlets in the country — the monolithic ABS-CBN Network and the Aquino family newsletter, the Philippine Daily Inquirer — stood tall as “heroes” and went on to become the biggest beneficiaries of this “revolution”. Its owners continue laughing all the way to the bank — not a bad deal in exchange for the small utang-ng-loob (debt of gratitude) they owe to the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan.
The only greenfield left for the propaganda machine of the Yellow Mob to take control of was social media. Interestingly enough, as the battle for the ouster of then Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona loomed in the horizon in late 2011 and early 2012, Rappler.com popped up out of nowhere pitching itself as a “social news network”, a concept that even Rappler “thought leaders” fail to convincingly define clearly to this day.
The Inquirer.net has since tweeted an upbeat apology for the oversight…
Kudos to eagle-eyed tweeps who called our attention to the fake Time Mag cover. It was an oversight on our part. Thanks for the feedback!
Indeed, haste makes waste. In this case, the haste to milk returns on, shall we say, “investments” in good relations with the editors of TIME have turned what was warm bread fresh from the oven into cold hard stone.