“If you can manipulate news, a judge can manipulate the law. A smart lawyer can keep a killer out of jail, a smart accountant can keep a thief from paying taxes, a smart reporter could ruin your reputation- unfairly.”
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW YORK CITY — INSTEAD of saying “it’s a fake information”, those who don’t believe that a certain information isn’t true are incorrectly saying “it’s a fake news.”
It’s a wrong choice of words. It’s a wrong syntax.
An information does not automatically translate into a news.
Raw information, in order to become a news, should have the basic facts and the following elements: what, when, where, who, why, how.
A mere information, on the other hand, has been defined by Mirriam-Webster as “the communication or reception of knowledge or intelligence” or “a knowledge obtained from investigation, study, or instruction.”
By telling Iloilo City reporters recently that the alleged assassination plot against the Garin father and son (Guimbal Mayor Oscar Sr. or “Oca” and Iloilo 1st District Rep. Oscar Jr or “Richard”) is “fake news”, what Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde actually meant was “the information about the purported assassination plot had not been validated and could not be true.”
If Albayalde got the story directly from the media, he can’t even call it as “fake” unless he wants to undermine the credibility of reporters and the authority of editors.
If the story had been disclosed by the media and picked by Albayalde, it becomes a news. It’s Albayalde’s call whether to confirm or deny it.
The least that Albayalde can do, actually, if the alleged assassination plot story came from the media (newspapers, radio, TV, Internet) is to tell the public that “the PNP will verify or investigate it”; or just directly, “we (in the PNP) don’t believe it.”
If it came from “sources within the PNP intelligence” it’s only an information, not news.
If Albayalde did not trust the information, or if he did not believe in the veracity of the PNP’s sources, he could now call it as a “fake information.”
But not as “fake news.”
I also would have wanted to call the attention of a high-ranking official in Negros Occidental who recently called a Facebook post by a critic about the capitol’s alleged “ghost” projects also as “fake news”.
He also lambasted the critic on the Facebook wall where the critic made the allegation.
Again, a Facebook post or comment is not a news. It’s only a piece of “information” in the user’s “status update” and is verifiable.
It’s always a waste of time and counter-productive to engage any critic in a ghoulish word war in the social media.
Unless the critic made the same allegations when interviewed by reporters; or, unless the critic filed an official complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman.
The high-ranking capitol official, or any concerned public official for that matter, will now have to explain whether he likes it or don’t.
MEET THE 10 NEW SUPERFOODS. The superstars — blueberries, almonds, tomatoes, flaxseeds, broccoli, red wine, salmon, olive oil, edamme, brown rice. The understudy — strawberries, peanuts, white button mushrooms, beer, sunflower seeds, cauliflower, trout, safflower oil, black beans, barley. Source: Sally Kuzemchak, R.D., Fitness: Mind, Body + Spirit…OUTSMARTING A SNACK ATTACK. Eating two small snacks a day can help us lose weight. Trouble is, research shows that we’re munching more than ever before–choosing foods that are high in calories and fat–and packing on the pounds as a result. “Often we’re not even hungry, but because we’re surrounded by food, we’re tempted to eat anyway,” says Kerry Neville, Ph.D. of American Dietetic Assn…LET US STAND UP BEFORE TOUCHING THE TOILET HANDLE. One in three people flush while sitting down. If we are one of them, let us consider this: When we flush, droplets of water spray in the air. That means we can be exposed to bacteria, which increases our risk of getting a urinary tract infection (UTI). Source: Soap and Water & Common Sense.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)