On this year’s April Fools’ Day, a major broadsheet coincidentally came up with a misleading headline.
Today’s Philippine Daily Inquirer’s (PDI) banner headline, “Strike fizzles in Metro,” implies two related assumptions: 1) that there was a transport strike in Metro Manila 2) that the alleged strike fizzled. It appears though that the national daily conjured a transport strike in Metro Manila when there was actually none. What actually transpired yesterday (March 31) was a transport caravan in Metro Manila. In fact, the writer of the story referred to the protest as “transport caravan.”
PDI was well-aware that militant drivers and operators based in Manila would be staging a transport caravan and not a strike. Proof? PDI’s previous stories described the protest in Metro Manila as “transport caravan,” so why insist an imaginary “transport strike” in the metro at the last minute?
And so, the paper cannot justify today’s headline as a journalistic boo-boo — it could really be deliberate, aimed at discrediting the transport protest. Don’t tell us the copyeditor (or whoever gave the final head) did not read the story.
The banner headline also carries a latent bias: measuring transport protests in terms of transport paralysis – which the general riding public obviously do not like. Why not change the yardstick into drivers/ operators who participated, Palace response due to protests?
Well sadly, we cannot expect much from the mainstream media organizations which have their inherent biases (even though they insist in being objective, accurate, etc. — this deserves a separate entry). But at the very least, they must try to be a beacon of truth on April Fools’ Day, when everyone else is playing with lies.
For a full report on the extent and issues raised during the nationwide protest against oil price hikes, read Bulatlat’s Transport Caravan and Transport Strikes, “Just For Starters”