Maria Ressa is weaponising her media connections against President Duterte

Maria Ressa, CEO of Rappler, fashions herself as some sort of victim. But is she? It is evident that she has a lot of friends in high places and, more importantly for her, in Western places that she conscripts to her nefarious ends. Ressa speaks about how people are “weaponising” the Internet and even the Law itself. But if anyone hadn’t noticed yet, she has been weaponising the media!

Ressa evidently seeks to undermine the government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. But her Scorched Earth approach is bringing down an entire country. Despite mature democratic institutions in place and the hardworking Filipino public servants doing their best to make these work, Ressa INSULTS all of these before the world stage and encourages her cronies in Big Corporate Media organisations to chime in with their so-called “journalism” on the matter.

Indeed, if there is any one person who could serve as the embodiment of the saying that “if you tell the same lie often enough, people will start regarding it as the truth”, Maria Ressa would be that person. Ressa has been beating the drum about an “assault on press freedom” for the last several years in front of anyone who could sit through her tirades long enough. No evidence exists that such an “assault” is happening.

Ressa has not added any new argument to her mantra — only reciting it over and over hoping that it may one day be immortalised in stone on a monument she hopes will someday be built in her honour.

Maria Ressa appeals to Facebook for help to silence her critics!

I read an article about Rappler CEO Maria Ressa on the Australian Financial Review where she is quoted appealing to Facebook to help hold Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to account. She said “the only people who can actually do something to level the playing field in the short-term are the social media platforms”.

Huh? Facebook and other socmed sites did level the playing field as I recall.

Ressa is being inconsistent. She can’t make up her mind about Facebook. One moment she praises it, the next she condemns it. Her opinion of Facebook seems to depend on her mood. Facebook already made Rappler a “fact-checker” but she is still not satisfied with that privilege!

This is why journalists like Maria Ressa lost their celebrity status. Ordinary citizens were given a platform to voice their dissent and hold journalists who publish untruths to account. Ressa is just bitter that most people in the Philippines don’t see her as a “thought leader” anymore.

Still, she is adamant. Ressa insists that Duterte is “weaponising the law”.

“How do you know when an online attack to kill you, burn you, rape you, shoot you or bomb you shifts from words to the time it becomes real,” she said.

“This is the biggest danger. It’s a psychological war. It’s made to silence and intimidate. And you couple that with a government that also weaponises the law. As far as I’m concerned, all of these charges are political harassment and it’s to stop us doing our job.”

That’s the dumbest thing coming out of her mouth. The law doesn’t pick and choose. The law applies to everyone. It’s there to protect innocent people from libelous articles.

The only thing consistent about Ressa is the script she uses to feed the international news media community – that Duterte is trying to “silence” her. She contradicts that by showing she is completely free to go on numerous junkets where she delivers her non-stop media blitzes that only provide her side of the story. No one from the foreign media even checks if any of what she says is true.

Rappler spins SWS survey on free speech negatively, possibly to save CEO Maria Ressa’s position!

A recent study conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) found that Filipinos disagree with Maria Ressa’s “assault on press freedom” fear mongering. Most of the major Big Corporate media outlets reported this consistently. Here is a rundown of the key headlines issued by these major media organisations.

Rappler bias in summary
(Photo source Twitter)

Note how one of them, albeit one not of the same standing and profile in the industry and professional community, begs to differ.

And here are the links to the above headlines:

Freedom of speech ‘very strong’ under Duterte admin — SWSInquirer

SWS: Pinoys ‘very strongly’ agree they have personal freedom of speechPhilStar

Pinoys agree: Freedom of speech ‘very strong’ – SWSManila Times

SWS: Most Pinoys find freedom of speech ‘very strong’ under DuterteABS-CBN News

SWS: 6 in 10 Filipinos feel free to speak up under Duterte administrationCNN Philippines

Amidst all that traditional media firepower, here, in contrast, is what the Rapplerettes at Rappler think:

Majority of Filipinos think it’s dangerous to publish anything critical of Duterte admin

Sofia Tomacruz, author of the above “report” quotes Mahar Mangahas, president of SWS, asserting that…

SWS assessed respondents’ fear not by asking them their fear of being a victim of extrajudicial killings, but by asking them to agree/disagree with the following statement: “I can say anything I want, openly and without fear, even if it is against the administration.”

Tomacruz refers to Mangahas’s noting of the difference in survey responses to a question framed in different ways. She lays out a rather convoluted story that cuts across opinion pieces written by Mangahas and former Inquirer editor John Nery last week to describe statistical nuances that she uses to support the preferred headline of her Rappler editor.

There is a point in there, perhaps. But it is lost in Tomacruz’s incoherent forced spin of a finding potentially damaging to the personal “activism” of their CEO Maria Ressa.

Latest SWS survey shows Filipinos disagree with Maria Ressa’s “assault on press freedom” fear mongering!

Is free speech really “under threat” as Rappler CEO Maria Ressa keeps screeching about? Apparently most Filipinos disagree as a recent SWS survey report reveals.

The report showed that Filipinos are in “strong” agreement that “they can openly say whatever they want without fear, even if their statements are against the Duterte administration”.

Results of a June 22-26 poll of 1,200 adults showed 59% of Filipinos agreeing that they are not afraid to criticize the government while 18% disagreed.

That yielded a net agreement score of +41, classified by SWS as “very strong.” The latest reading was 18 points above the “moderate” +23 net score recorded in December last year.

This further supports the possibility that the so-called threat to “press freedom” being brandied around by self-described “legitimate journalists” is all in the minds of Ressa and her Rapplerettes.

The report goes further…

Meanwhile, 67% of respondents believe there is freedom of expression and free press in the country while 10% disagree, for a “very strong” net agreement score of +57.

The evidence is all around for everyone to behold. The Philippines’ press continues to be as rumbunctous as it’s long been renowned to be and social media is a thriving free market of ideas. Maria Ressa and her whiney lot just need to learn to step up and compete.

Maria Ressa on a BLOCKING spree as people she dismisses as “trolls” seek clarification

Maria Ressa is on the digital run shooting frantic defensive tweets at people she calls “trolls”. Most of these are merely asking her to clarify the statements she made in last week’s conference on “media freedom” held in London.

Her response to critics, however, run counter to the spirit of open inquiry she and her lot of “journalists” supposedly espouse in the conference. Instead of properly responding to pertinent questions, she merely dismisses her detractors and labels them as “trolls” or “Duterte proxies”.

Ressa is subtracting value from the very advocacy she champions. She has styled herself as the complete opposite of the open system that invites challenge and encourages free inquiry that evolved on the Internet over the last several decades. She is a T-Rex among the lumbering dinosaurs that are members of the ever-shrinking clique of old-school media practitioners.

Media firms that are committed to evolving into lean and resilient organisations that can compete in the 21st Century media landscape are well-advised to distance themselves from Maria Ressa. She is not the role model they seek. Rather, she represents everything a truly modern media organisation isn’t.

Rappler and Maria Ressa: “JOURNALISTS FOR RENT”

The mystery persists. Why would anyone believe a government initiative presumptuously billed a conference on “media freedom” that is conducted by the Omidyar Group? Omidyar are deeply-invested in many media companies most of which are so-called reporters of “news”.

This is the confronting question posed by Ezra Levant to the various organisations that participated in this chi chi event. Levant observes, however

No-one here cares. They all want some of that sweet, sweet cash. When @mariaressa said a $4.5 million grant from Omidyar no big deal, you could see everyone here salivate like Pavlov’s Dog. That’s what this conference is about: Omidyar wants to rent hundreds of “journalists”.

Right there is the reason why Big Corporate Media are no longer credible channels for unbiased news reporting. Anyone who receives money from “investors” they have direct relationships with are, in principle, no longer objective.

Unless Big Corporate Media find a new model for funding their “news” operations, they will never regain their lost credibility in that field. For now, they should be content just delivering entertainment. Entertaining an audience, after all, does not require objectivity. Besides, entertainment is more profitable, something Maria Ressa’s Rappler should put a bit more focus on — becoming a profitable enterprise for the sake of its shareholders.

Who does Maria Ressa THINK she is calling people “trolls”?

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa has been on a years-long crusade telling anyone who would listen how she and the Philippines’ journalism profession are “under attack”. She summarily labels anyone who is not on her side as “trolls”.

But who is she to decide who are trolls and who aren’t? Did some sort of God of the Internet descend from the Cloud to bestow a crown on her pointed head and dub her She Who Knows all Trolls and Non Trolls?

Senior research fellow at Reuters Institute Dr Julie Posetti, is an example of a highly-educated but sadly misguided person who merely defers to the comfy position rather than apply an independent mind…

“Trolls”, Dr Posetti? Because Maria Ressa said so? Or because you know so?

Very likely the earlier. This is the lazy path many have taken. Ironic, considering this lot preach about applying critical minds to what they come across on their social media feeds.

Filipinos should not take being called “trolls” sitting down. Nobody on the Net holds any authority to decide who is one and who isn’t. It’s the Internet — the most democratic mass media platform on the planet. NOBODY owns it.

Rappler CEO Maria Ressa admits to receiving $4.5 MILLION from Pierre Omidyar!

Under intense grilling by Ezra Levant, “Rebel Commander” at The Rebel in a conference on “media freedom” hosted by media billionaire Pierre Omidyar, Rappler CEO Maria Ressa inadvertently admitted that she had received $4.5 million in funding from Omidyar.

Interestingly, Levant’s question was initially directed to Nishant Lalwani, Director of Investments of the Omidyar Group challenging the sense of his hosting such a conference when, Levant points out, “no one here is not on your payroll”.

Lalwani then categorically stated, “we gave some money to Rappler…” after which he was abruptly cut off by Ressa who then proceeded to hijack the rest of the response to Levant’s initial query.

Watch the video…

Indeed, Ressa is behaving badly here. She is discussing an ongoing case she has with the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a public forum. To Ressa’s claim that she is “winning” this case, Levant points out that “Omidyar gave up his stock,” suggesting that Omidyar had, perhaps, recognised then the risk in his exposure to Rappler.

At some point, Ressa was forced to point out that the amount involved was “only” $4.5 million.

Only.

After a few more minutes of Ressa carrying on in her usual shrill manner, Levant finally reminded her that the question was not originally addressed to her — perhaps recognising the disproportionate defensiveness she had just exhibited.

Suffice to say, Ressa made a fool of herself right there and, at the same time, shot herself in the foot.

Maria Ressa pounces like an attack dog as @EzraLevant grills her boss Pierre Omidyar

Not all Westerners are buying Rappler CEO Maria Ressa’s lies. In a recent conference on, you guessed it “media freedom” hosted by Pierre Omidyar, Ressa is seen behaving like an attack dog after Ezra Levant, “Rebel Commander” at The Rebel, challenged the ideas of Omidyar.

Maria Ressa hijacked the microphone, and proceeded to call Levant a “proxy for Duterte”. Levant can be heard in the background saying “Don’t do that, don’t do that,” evidently pointing out that Ressa was merely sidestepping his pointed questions. Levant went on to point out that Ressa’s troubles with the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission, further enraging Ressa.

Watch the video…

Maria Ressa knows how to play dirty. She shouldn’t really be discussing a case still pending in court especially in an international forum where the Ph SEC cannot give their side.

Levant quoted Ressa in a tweet insisting that a $4.5 million “grant” from Omidyar was “no big deal”. Levant goes on to tweet

5. No-one here cares. They all want some of that sweet, sweet cash. When @mariaressa said a $4.5 million grant from Omidyar no big deal, you could see everyone here salivate like Pavlov’s Dog. That’s what this conference is about: Omidyar wants to rent hundreds of “journalists”.

Clearly Maria Ressa is being absolutely dishonest in her so-called “advocacy” to “protect” whatever “press freedom” is, she insists, “under threat” in the Philippines. The truth is, this is a time-wasting sorry excuse of an advocacy manufactured by a discredited thought leader to whitewash the utterly failed venture called Rappler.

Amal Clooney was right about Arroyo in 2015 but today she is wrong about Maria Ressa’s “case”

Maria Ressa is insulting Filipino lawyers by hiring foreigners to defend her. I suppose it’s because it’s mostly foreigners who buy her lies. More importantly, foreigners lack a broad understanding of the context behind those lies.

These foreigners should take time out to recall just a few years back how no less than their resident Yellow “investigative journalist” Raissa Robles reported how they “reacted with disbelief to reports that star international lawyer Amal Clooney had filed a complaint to a UN human rights body on behalf of detained former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo”.

This time, the Yellows aren’t ‘shocked’ by Amal Clooney’s intervention into the Philippines’ justice system.

This is is a reminder of how selective the Yellows are in the positions they take. They reacted badly to Clooney defending their enemy former President Arroyo – someone who was being persecuted by then President Noynoy Aquino and then Justice Secretary Leila De Lima. Clooney actually won the case before the UN but the Yellows ignored the ruling and merely shrugged it off.

Now that Clooney is on the side of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, the Yellows are all cheers. Selective indeed.

All that said, I actually welcome Amal Clooney joining Maria Ressa’s defense team. She’s an intelligent woman and would soon find out Ressa’s case doesn’t have legs to stand on. She could still continue to defend her after she finds out the truth, but Ressa’s lies will eventually be exposed.