It’s quite easy to differentiate a fake news, satirical piece or hoax from the real ones, or not? 2013 has been filled with crazy articles that duped many Filipinos – from regular internet users to big media entities.
So the question is: are we really that easy to fool? Here’s a list of 10 parodies and hoaxes that shocked and awed Filipinos in 2013.
1. Jinggoy Estrada arrested at US airport after trying to smuggle money
On November 4, satirical news website So, What’s News? (SWN) published an article reporting that lawmaker Jinggoy Estrada was detained and arrested at San Francisco International Airport after he tried to get pass through customs while carrying huge amount of US dollars.
A netizen posted the parody on social networking site Facebook and it immediately spread on the same day as if it were real news. But in reality, the senator went to US to seek second opinion from medical doctors regarding his wife’s breast condition.
The spoof was released following the Department of Justice’s attempt to cancel the senator’s passport in order to hold him available for the pork barrel scam investigation.
The false news has obvious clues in it that it is indeed fictitious, like saying that ‘the senator concealed the money under his skin.’ SWN also displayed the tag line: News that won’t make you feel depressed to read the news. Many were deceived, in spite of.
Senator Estrada immediately denied his arrest.
2. Philippines banned from beauty pageants for the next two years
Satirical news website Adobo Chronicles reported on November 20 that Philippines will be disqualified from international beauty pageants due to “enormous advantage” of Filipina candidates in all pageants this year.
It said that a so-called Association of Beauty Pageant Franchise Holders (ABPFH) banned the Philippines from joining competitions “to give chance to other countries.”
The spoof received different reactions from netizens. Some were flattered while some felt angry over the “discrimination” against aspiring Pinay beauties.
Why they titled it Adobo Chronicles? Adobo is a popular food and cooking process in Filipino cuisine that involves meat marinated in soy sauce and vinegar. The title of the news website in itself suggests that it contains not so serious news.
3. Nancy Binay obtained Supreme Court order protecting her against any public debates
This news came up amidst the heat of 2013 senatorial election campaign. The report was also published by the humor website SWN. The satirical piece went viral in the internet as if it were real news.
SWN wrote that “the request came after the camp of Nancy Binay tried to rehearse a mock debate with one of her personal assistants in an undisclosed location, to see if their bet was indeed incapable of participating in a debate.”
“The chosen personal assistant to face her was none other than her own 8-year-old son, Julius Benedict Binay Angeles,” it added.
During the 2013 election campaign, many have observed that the then senatorial aspirant Nancy Binay refused to appear in any public debates, and that she rarely face media interviews.
Binay said in a media interview that the parody involving her son was the “most hurtful” attack during the campaign.
4. Fake Aquino Time magazine cover
No other than the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the number one paper in the Philippines fell for this fake Time magazine cover featuring President Benigno C. Aquino as among the top 100 most influential people in the world. It was published on the front page of its April 20 issue.
It was later found out that the Time cover showing Aquino in a nganga pose is just an internet meme.
Inquirer editor-in-chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc admitted that it was an honest mistake.
5. CBCP trademarks the term Catholic
This is what happens when a local newspaper plagiarizes from the internet. The tabloid Abante used a satire news article published by the Filipino Free Thinkers in its website claiming that CBCP trademarks the term “Catholic”.
The article said that due to growing number of Catholics supporting the passage of Reproductive Health bill, the CBCP trademarked the term Catholic and reserved it only “to those who obey the Pope’s teachings.”
It also said that the term now pertains only to those who were “granted an official license by the Vatican through its newly formed franchising agent in the Philippines, the CBCP Commission on Franchising and Life (COFAL).” It is pretty obvious that the acronym of the name of the said group sounds like kupal.
6. CNN reporter Anderson Cooper appointed US ambassador to the
Veteran journalist Anderson Cooper of the CNN was among the first few international reporters who fled to the Haiyan-hit Tacloban City.
Filipinos hailed Cooper for his comprehensive report of the condition in Leyte few hours after the storm left the city and turned it into a total devastation.
The news report, which appeared a few days after the tragedy, says that US President Barack Obama nominated Cooper to be the US ambassador to the Philippines. The news circulated immediately in the internet as if it was real. Later on, it was found out that the article was indeed another satire posted by the Adobo Chronicles.
7. Rowan Atkinson a.k.a Mr. Bean is Dead
Rumors that Rowan Atkinson is dead spread online a few hours after an anonymous Facebook user created a page entitled “R.I.P. Rowan Atkinson” on November 16.
R.I.P. Rowan Atkinson memes also went viral on the same day.
Atkinson’s associates denied his death and said that he was still alive and kicking.
8. Religious groups protests against “The Killers” concert in Manila
Facebook post on September 24 reporting about an action protest of religious groups against “The Killers” concert in Smart Araneta Coliseum, Manila went viral.
It seems that the post was a satire against the conservative thinking of some religious Filipinos.
Clues like The Virgin Maries, a mentioned religious group, and Yema Kutsinta, name of a leader of a pro-life human activist group were present in the news post. However, it seems that these clues failed to deliver the joke.
The spoof news reached almost 2000 shares on Facebook.
9. Snow in the Philippines
A fictitious news agency called RBN posted a video on Youtube categorized as “breaking news” story about a bizarre phenomenon– heavy snowfall in the southern island of Mindanao, July 24.
It appears as if it is true because of the fine video editing. The lady talking in the video also has an incredibly pleasant voice and good English enunciation similar to those of veteran western reporters.
Pag-asa confirmed that the news video is a sham. It was also reported that the seemingly real snowfall in the video was actually ashes falling as a result of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in the 90’s.
10. Pope Francis resigns
Satirical news video posted by another humor website The Onion reports that the 76-year-old Pope Francis announced his plans to resign within the year.
The reporter even quoted the Pope to say that after long prayers and self-reflections, he believes that his intention to resign is for the good of the Church. If the news story is true, Pope Francis will be the second Pope to resign after Pope Ratzinger.
Are these satire news very well written which makes it look like as if it were real? Or Filipinos are just not critical enough to identify what is joke and what is genuine?
Two years ago, a columnist falls for a satirical blog post citing a Harvard University study claiming that Filipinos are “the most gullible people in the world.”
Earlier this year, a blogger wrote a spoof citing a “scientific study” that Filipinos lack Satirical Genes which “prevents us from distinguishing the true from the ridiculous.”
It seems that these hoaxes and parodies mistaken as factual news by some Filipinos including the national media somehow reflect our poor reading abilities and low intelligence quotient.
Brain Fart cover photo credit: Deviantart Colourblind-Crayon