By RUDY D. LIPORADA
Journamism? Yes, Journamism – the art of pseudo-journalists to engage in tsismis (gossip). When one is engaged in journamism, one is a journamist. As apart from a journalist, who must report, as much as possible, all the factual angles or sides of a story, a journamist state conclusions without basis or facts.
And in this age of cybercommunication through the likes of Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc., journamism practitioners abound. They are the unconscious or conscious (could be paid) trolls, the emotionally driven individuals who refuse to see beyond their perspectives – that the other side is always wrong, and those who simply blurt lines without considering and negating historical facts. We could add those who do not even know what they are saying.
They abound and we cannot do anything about them. We can just ignore or tolerate them. Of course, if we align with their views, we can share their thoughts and be journamists ourselves. After all, a Chinese leader once said “Let a thousand flowers bloom, a hundred schools of thought contend.” Simply put, this just means to let everyone be heard so we could discuss and arrive at a conclusion that would be beneficial for most. Everyone literally means everyone including the fools and not only the wise. Sir Winston Churchill once said, “The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.” Moreover, Galadriel of the Lord of the Rings also said, “Even the wisest cannot tell, for the Mirror shows many things. Things that were, things that are, and some things that have not yet gone to past.”
Of course, since contention is also a key word, anyone practicing journamism (as well as journalism) should be ready to be reacted upon, criticized, questioned, lambasted, or praised. After all, a coin has three sides – the head, tail, and the thin edge; there are three sides to a fact – the wrong, the right, and the truth. One must dig deeper to mine the gold.
In most journamist postings, however, it could be hard to decipher the truth because they are laden with fallacies and it would take a deep understanding of fallacies so we could ferret out the falseness of statements. A fallacy, after all, is an erroneous argument dependent upon an unsound or illogical contention. The most used fallacies include generalizations, where a fact or incident is made to represent the whole; syllogism/non-sequitur where points do not follow (all crows are black, a raven is black, therefore a raven is a crow); appeal to popular opinion (everybody is buying this product, therefore it is a good product); association (Hitler is a vegetarian, therefore I will not be a vegetarian); and many more.
One of the most prevalent fallacy being used is the Ad Hominem which is Latin for “against the man”. In this fallacy, a journamist tries to debunk a stand not by contending with counter facts but by attacking the personality of the person who made the stand. The journamist would say “you are wrong because you are a communist” instead of explaining what was wrong on the stand.
One of the personalities in the Philippine cyber-journal waves today who is being contended Ad Hominem is Mocha Uson. Said to have over four million people following and liking her blog, she is an avid believer of President Rodrigo Duterte. Naysayers on her perceived achievements of the president have attacked her relentlessly. Because of her background as a solo singer-dancer performing in bars around Metro Manila and popular for her sexy image and on-stage antics, which included lap dances, she is labeled as a ‘presstitute.’ Though she admits not to be a journalist, she is being criticized as without a journalism degree, much less, not having a college degree at all. Invariably branded also as ‘pokpok’, prostitute, ‘bobo’, and many other derogatory sexist sluttish tags, the Ad Hominem attacks forbid her to be believed because she is just that – an ignorant prostitute. For emphasis: I may not like whatever she is writing in her blog but attacking her Ad Hominem is just like saying prostitutes cannot say anything right, much less has no right to say anything.
By a verdict of Facebook administrators, Uson appeared to have been vindicated, however. An anti-Duterte outspoken critic launched an on-line petition for Uson’s Facebook blog to be taken down. Although having gathered over 30,000 signees to the petition, her Facebook page was just reported instead of having been blocked by Facebook.
One of the statements of the petitioner in launching his petition is also a classic example of a fallacious statement. He said “I have never seen someone divide our country so much since the time of Marcos. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” If President Duterte has followers and has detractors, depending on siding perspectives, the ‘good side’ is the ‘bad side’ from the other ‘good side’ which is the ‘bad side’ from the other side. So, who is being evil and who are the good men who must do something?
For emphasis, Uson could have said the same but the petitioner’s followers would have dismissed her because she is just a prostitute, forgetting, if they are Christians, that Jesus Christ himself had protected a prostitute and averted her from being stoned, saying: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” – John 8:7 (But this could be a fallacy of Appealing to Authority – LOL).
On a different vein but still on fallacy, the most brutal journamism that befell the writing of Philippine history is the US colonizing the Islands in the name of Manifest Destiny and Benevolent Assimilation. Amy Tan, in her book, Saving Fish from Drowning, had metaphorically pointed the fallacy by quoting a sage who said: A pious man explained to his followers: “It is evil to take lives and noble to save them. Each day I pledge to save a hundred lives. I drop my net in the lake and scoop out a hundred fishes. I place the fishes on the bank, where they flop and twirl. ‘Don’t be scared,’ I tell those fishes. ‘I am saving you from drowning.’ Soon enough, the fishes grow calm and lie still. Yet, sad to say, I am always too late. The fishes expire. And because it is evil to waste anything, I take those dead fishes to market and I sell them for a good price. With the money, I receive, I buy more nets so I can save more fishes.” # nordis.net