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Korina Sanchez vs Anderson Cooper and journalism ethics

In tonight’s edition of TV Patrol, ABS-CBN anchor and chief correspondent Korina Sanchez delivered a report about the situation in Ormoc City, Leyte.

Curiously, Sanchez’ assignment in the said city came a day after she earned flak from netizens who lambasted her following her negative comments directed to Anderson Cooper of CNN International. The American journalist highlighted the slow government relief efforts for super typhoon Yolanda survivors.

Hindi yata niya alam ang sinasabi niya (He’s not really aware of what’s happening on the ground),” Sanchez said of Cooper through her commentary program in DZMM Wednesday morning. A deluge of criticism against Sanchez, mostly shared online, followed shortly after. As noted by Rappler.com, Sanchez was hit on two fronts.

First, it is Cooper, not her, who’s actually reporting live on location. Second, Sanchez is married to the man who’s the de facto point man of the government’s disaster relief efforts – Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. And since Roxas is widely expected to run for president in 2016, any criticism about the government’s response to Yolanda’s aftermath will not serve his political ambitions well.

I first noted the possibility of Sanchez being put in an awkward situation last Sunday. During a live broadcast of her Sunday magazine show Rated K, Sanchez interviewed Secretary to the Cabinet Jose Rene Almendras. Political junkies should note that Almendras is allied with the Balay faction of President Benigno Aquino III’s cabinet, which is identified with Roxas and the ruling Liberal Party.

“Korina Sanchez reporting about the government relief efforts in Leyte led by her husband DILG Sec. Mar Roxas presents a clear conflict of interest,” I wrote on Facebook, while adding that this journalistic transgression may be set aside for a while because “these are extraordinary circumstances.” Nevertheless, it seems that the problematic situation really has a way of rearing its ugly head.

korina sanchez anderson cooper

ABS-CBN news anchor Korina Sanchez slammed CNN’s Anderson Cooper in her radio program Wednesday morning (Credits: Inquirer.net)

It’s not the first time that Sanchez lashed out at individuals she perceives as slighting Roxas. There’s ABS-CBN reporter RG Cruz (refresh your memories by reading this blog post) and Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Conrado de Quiros. Both instances happened in 2009, shortly after Roxas gave up his presidential ambitions to be Aquino’s running mate.

More recently, Sanchez has earned the ire of Vice President Jejomar Binay’s camp. Binay is of course the man who defeated her husband three years ago. In 2011, Binay complained that Sanchez seems to be refraining from mentioning his name during broadcasts. Last year, Binay’s camp took offense when Sanchez allegedly described his as a “dark little evil spirit.”

This episode brings back to mind the controversy last year created by President Aquino’s decision to take a swing at news anchor and former Vice President Noli de Castro during the 25th anniversary celebration of TV Patrol.

As media ethicist Chay Hofilena pointed out, this was a situation “waiting to happen,” arguing that networks seem to be facilitating a revolving door for journalists who venture into politics. Like De Castro, Sanchez resumed her news reading duties much sooner than expected.

If Roxas indeed seeks the presidency by 2016, Sanchez is expected to step down from her journalistic activities within the next 18 months. Until then, there’s no reason to believe she won’t be involved in another conflict-of-interest situation.

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23 comments

  1. Richard G.

    It’s clear enough to realize that no matter how truthful and unbiased the journalists in rendering their jobs, there can be no way that Korina Sanchez can deliver such ethical standard. Mainly because she is emotionally and legally invested for the political ambition of her husband who will undoubtably run on 2016. Korina Sanchez’s presence at TV Patrol then has jeopardized and devaluated the virtues and values of journalism itself in its very essence. It’s somehow a pity for ABS-CBN who must have weighed all these before she was put on board. But very clearly also that ABS-CBN doesn’t care at all the ethical norm of Journalism, much less the welfare of the Filipino people whom they have greater responsibility to serve in truth, unbiased, and no other personal agenda but deliver the truth to the people. It’s a shame!

  2. Mike

    Not sure how accurately korina sanchez can asses the situation from her plush studio in manila. GOOD JOB Anderson Cooper for showing the world the daunting challenges facing the people of tacloban Philippines. Ms Sanches get a Job !!

  3. Anonymous

    Korina, get your ass off from your comfy chair and fly to Tacloban to see for yourself what Anderson Cooper is talking about! Ang tamad mo puro ka daldal!

  4. Pingback: Korina Sanchez To Take One-Week Leave of Absence From TV Patrol ; Vacation or Punishment ?! | EnteRvrexWorld

  5. Anonymous

    Korina! nanahimik ka nalang sana kasi di mo yata alam ang sinasabi mo dahil na sa comfortabling kalagayan ka samantalang si Anderson Cooper ay nasa realidad ng mundo na pinangyarihan ng trahidya. Mahiya ka sana.

  6. concern

    i remember when NOLI DE CASTRO is our vice president. he did nothing when corruption are all over the government and the only thing he do when our people needs him he flew abroad. anu kayang mangyayari kung si mar roxas ang uupo na napaulat na pumapalakpak kay GLORIA nung sya presidente pa?

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  8. UnMundoFeliz

    I’m a fairly educated Filipino. Instinctively, I wanted to take Ms. Korina Sanchez’s
    side, but something about her criticism on Mr. Anderson Cooper screams
    “SHE’S WRONG!” Ms. Sanchez made strong allegations that Mr. Cooper
    was reporting the Philippine government’s inaction to the emergency situation. Mr.
    Cooper did not make reference to or mention anything about the Philippine
    government’s handling of situation. What he did was merely describing the
    observable things around him and the people’s behavior, and this is what
    anybody in his right mind would have done, whether he’s a reporter or a man on
    the street.

    Somebody has got to counsel Ms. Sanchez. If I were her manager, I’d coach her that a public apology is necessary. It’s simply a matter of judgment call. She seems to have lost it. She should know when to zip her lips, especially realizing that international help was on the way. I never want to see any of her TV reporting again. I’m beginning to doubt how she earned those accolades listed on her Wiki page. Really.

    Oh I see, she dropped out of college. Never completed a degree. Hmmm. Isn’t that something that can be said about the companies who hired her. And so now they’re paying the price of shame for the lost of credibility.

  9. Anonymous

    i knew it then twas coming…. right from the start, sanchez shouldnt have been on air covering and commenting re: yolanda, especially the aftermath and all the efforts being done and the efforts left undone. ……….. sooner or later, where her true sentiment lies will be surfaced….. un na nga……… she remains not the journalist but the wifey of a top government official who “takes the lead in the situation”………

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  16. Pingback: Mar Roxas in the cover of Esquire Philippines’ ‘Yolanda’ anniversary edition - THE FILIPINO SCRIBE

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