By Herman Tiu Laurel
On the third week of April, the US Senate accelerated its bipartisan congressional push for a bill to counteract Chinese pressure on human rights and economic competition. Some amendments to the bill recommend the “boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, allocation of $ 100-billion over five years for technology research and putting-up of new “technology hubs” across the U.S. While these sounds kosher, what is interesting for the Philippines, the AFP and its media are the allocations to “foreign countries” and the “influence fund.”
The “Strategic Competition Act of 2021” (SCA 2021) bill is augmented by proposals allotting $ 655-million to finance the purchase of foreign countries of U.S.-made weapons (i.e., decommissioned warships etc.) and the conduct of Indo-Pacific activities, provision of $ 300-million annually for “Countering Chinese Influence Fund” in the Belt and Road countries and to fight against “Beijing’s malign influence” and “online campaigns” as well as the designation of $ 100-million yearly to expand Radio Free Asia.
The various branches of the Philippines military establishment will enjoy being wined and dined by U.S. politician-salesmen as the latter push their surplus war materiel, while the Philippine’s Yellow and pro-American media will celebrate the new US moolah that will be distributed to the many different media and levels of Yellow and Amboy media workers among the Philippines’ anti-Duterte and anti-China hacks, academic “experts” plugging for the US and petty broadcasters spewing anti-China fake news.
‘Moolah’ for Maria and Chiara
The “informed classes” in Philippine society are already well-aware of the huge amounts of money the U.S. pours into Philippine media to propagate an “alternative reality” conforming to the U.S. model of the world in which China is the “evil empire” while the U.S. is the innocent do-gooder on human rights and the White Knight of the “rules-based world order.” Just keep out of sight and mind the U.S. wars in Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, ad nauseam! Never mind U.S. adventurism in the West Philippine Sea!
Filipino “informed classes” woke up to the reality of U.S. moolah for Philippine media in the exposé of the $ 4.5-million donation of Omidyar, NGO of multi-billionaire Pierre Omidyar, to Maria Ressa and Rappler in 2019 for “transparency and democracy.” This year, Pinoy Exposé, tabloid of National Press Club president Paul Gutierrez, exposed the “support” of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting” (IWPR) to ABS-CBN and Chiara Zambrano’s “Ayungin Shoal ship chase” stunt.
Using the intelligence assessment from defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Sec. Sal Panelo exposed the Zambrano “chase” as part of the “220 Chinese militia boats” hoax, the new agit-prop campaign ending in the “coup talks” that was meant to discredit further the Duterte administration. IWPR is funded by the German rightist Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF) and the infamous National Endowment for Democracy (NED) of the U.S.
Pinoy Exposé lays it out
“… the IWPR/KAF was similarly behind the media stunt of four of the ‘Otso Deretso’ candidates— Gary Alejano, Florin Hilbay, Semira Gutoc and Chel Diokno —when they tried to visit Panatag Shoal last April 9, 2019…
A browse of the Internet disclosed that IWPR, founded in 1991, (who) claims to be an ‘independent, not-for-profit,’ tax-free, NGO … (has) among its biggest ‘supporters’ the European Commission, the National Endowment for Democracy and, the US State Department.”
The information also disclosed that “IWPR is … procuring the services of Filipino journalists… for limited ‘engagements’ lasting from one month to six months… (Funds are drawn from a ‘transparency and media resiliency fund’ … (to finance) ‘Opinion/editorials’ (P13,000), ‘radio reports’ (P16,000), ‘investigative/in-depth report’ (P25,000) and, ‘investigative research and multi-media reporting’ (P51,000) …. (Money is also provided) for the Philippine media’s “literary fund” and “media champions and expert analysts’ fund” at a minimum of P150,000 each.”
No wonder then that the one month-long “220 Chinese militia boat” hoax report would be spun from a bogeyman story to an “occupation” to an “invasion”, to fish depletion of the WPS, and finally, to the hoax of a “Chinese Coast Guard chase of the ABS-CBN boat.” This hooked AFP chief Cirilito Sobejana to award the ABS-CBN hoax reporting and SND Lorenzana to bad-mouth the Chinese Embassy while engaging Locsin into a unilateral inane “diplomatic protest” barrage.
Down to the Masses’ media
While the newspaper fake news and English broadcast media are for the elite “chattering classes”, the radio news and commentators- the entertainment programs – are for the masses. Unnoticed by the educated classes is the agit-prop network of radio commentators and alleged newscasters who get some “ambon” or drizzle of the moolah too. This shows in their “radio surveys” of the opinions of the masses, or rather, the opinions they impose on the masses.
Some sample interviews monitored by our friends go like this:
Radio interviewer asks random interviewee: “What do you think of China-Philippines relations”?
Interviewee answer: “China is helping us a lot with things like vaccine donations and infrastructure projects.”
interviewer follow-up: “But China is stealing our West Philippine Sea!.”
interviewee answer: “Oh yes, China is really bad, no?”
Interviewer then goes on a long diatribe against China.
Quite likely, that’s P 16,000 for the interviewer over the month.
The agit-prop fake news of the fake boat chase of Zambrano extends to transgender Vice Ganda on his ABS-CBN “It’s Showtime” , who asks comedian Vhong Navarro the inane question of “Who discovered China?” Vice Ganda then quips that it is Chiara Zambrano, adding that the Philippines flag might lose one of its 8 sun rays to China.
This is the level of inanity of Philippine media and its national political/geopolitical/diplomatic discussions.
China transcends the inanities
I truly admire China’s transcendent mien and aura through all the slings and arrows thrown at it by Philippine media, crude cabinet and military officials, and even the slanderous, two-faced, dishonest and duplicitous Western media and governments. In the face of the month-long “Chinese maritime militia” bogeyman, China continued with its constructive diplomacy, inviting Sec. Locsin for a meet in China with Minister Wang Yi on vaccine cooperation, Belt and Road issues and the COC.
The Chinese embassy has described as “perplexing” and “unprofessional” the uncalled-for rude remarks of Secretary Lorenzana when he said “I am no fool. Leave now…”
Instead, it patiently explained that the Chinese boats sought shelter at Whitsun Reef due to inclement weather, which was shown by NOAA satellite photos. The most annoyed reaction came only from China’s media, the Global Times’ editor-in-chief Hu Xijin, who warned of a “strong response” if the Chinese fishing boats were forced to leave.
I have never seen China’s diplomacy taking an offensive stance except in response to the abuse of the State Department and media of the U.S. (and its lackeys, like Australia). Attempts by the U.S. and its minions to stereotype China’s diplomacy and diplomats as aggressive “wolf warrior(s)” are merely black propaganda to reverse the roles being played. US diplomacy has always been haughty, arrogant, imperious and oppressive – but it has met more than its match in Chinese diplomacy.
Mega Moolah for Mooo-dia.
Philippine media runs on moolah. The major Philippine print, broadcast and social media news networks and platforms are funded by the oligarchy members who amass trillions of pesos from privatized public utilities and enterprises. They underwrite media operations to protect their businesses using politicians they control (particularly the Senate) and entertainment and celebrities to dumb down the masses and the “chattering classes.”
U.S. moolah supplements the oligarchy’s bankrolling of media to produce U.S. “information warfare” (that is, “law-fare” or war with laws and rules, such as the Permanent Court of Arbitration ‘decisions” that are meaningless in “international law.” This is an error that President Duterte himself was forced to make in a virtual speech to the UN because of the mistaken notion that it could be taken seriously.) Now, media has become Mooo-dia, that is, bulls mooing as they produce US and oligarch BS (or Bull Shit).
Philippine state media –PNA, PTV 4 and RP1 – should be standing up for the State’s vision of a national information environment favorable to the interest and enlightenment of the people, but the Senate’s control of their budgets stymie it.
Unfortunately, the conditions for Philippine media in the immediate future will continue to be marked by all the Mooo-shit (aka bullshit) for a very long time.
Meanwhile, the entire nation will get dumber and dumber in the BS cesspool and corrupting the media is broad daylight is sending the reputation of Asia’s freest press is going down the drain.