Yellow Journalism Not A Filipino Invention

The fake headline by the Inquirer

The term “yellow journalism” was neither coined by pro-Duterte folks nor invented by Liberal Party-leaning news organizations like Rappler, Inquirer, ABS-CBN or GMA News.  It existed since the late 19th century.

The U.S. State Department’s Office of the Historian has this entry on its website:

Yellow journalism was a style of newspaper reporting that emphasized sensationalism over facts. During its heyday in the late 19th century it was one of many factors that helped push the United States and Spain into war in Cuba and the Philippines, leading to the acquisition of overseas territory by the United States.

The term originated in the competition over the New York City newspaper market between major newspaper publishers Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. At first, yellow journalism had nothing to do with reporting, but instead derived from a popular cartoon strip about life in New York’s slums called Hogan’s Alley, drawn by Richard F. Outcault. Published in color by Pulitzer’s New York World, the comic’s most well-known character came to be known as the Yellow Kid, and his popularity accounted in no small part for a tremendous increase in sales of the World. In 1896, in an effort to boost sales of his New York Journal, Hearst hired Outcault away from Pulitzer, launching a fierce bidding war between the two publishers over the cartoonist. Hearst ultimately won this battle, but Pulitzer refused to give in and hired a new cartoonist to continue drawing the cartoon for his paper. This battle over the Yellow Kid and a greater market share gave rise to the term yellow journalism.

But what’s very interesting is how accurately the original concept of yellow journalism reflects what we are seeing with biased news sources in the Philippines: sensationalism over facts.

Their sensationalism goes both ways:  they sensationalize anything, albeit negatively, about President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration.  On the other hand, they also sensationalize — positively of course — even the most stupid of actions or pronouncements by their politicians of choice and putting them on a pedestal as if they were the heroes and heroines (or for that matter, the politically-persecuted) in what’s going on in the country today.

Not only that: they invent their own “facts.”  We all know how the 7, 000 or whatever number of drug-related killings came about before it was picked up by the international media as if it was  the truth and nothing but the truth.

Rappler’s yellow-tinted “investigative report”

And then, there’s the “cartoon” part.  We can only laugh out loud and be entertained whenever the biased media come up with their stories under the guise of “investigative journalism.”  Are you listening, Pia Rañada, Rappler?

Ironically, these “legitimate” news sources collude with yellow politicians in trying to discredit citizen journalists and social media bloggers when they themselves are guilty of spreading fake news and fake photographs.  Are you listening, Inquirer?

So, Politikal Pinoy thinks that instead of  proposing legislation to penalize fake news, Senator Joel Villanueva (himself tagged by the Graft Court of using his DAP funds to support fake pork barrel projects), should author a bill to outlaw yellow journalism!




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